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NM Elk @ 605 yards

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Unread 10-25-2010, 09:03 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Searcy, Arkansas
Posts: 700
NM Elk @ 605 yards

Last summer I got that notification that many of us are waiting for........ "successful" on your application for a elk tag! This was a tag for unit 21A in southern NM in the Gila.

I have been hunting and helping a friend with guiding for several years on a private ranch down there, but a tag in the National Forest is hard to draw. I was familiar with the area having hunted up to edge on the private ranch, but I had not had the opportunity to hunt the more mountainous terrain in the forest.

I almost did not make the trip as I got bit by a black widow spider and was pretty sick running a fever for 15 days....... the last day I had a fever was the day before we left for the hunt. Needless to say, I was not in the best of shape. Every time someone saw me they would say "you don't look good" or "you sure are pale".

For my rifle I took my 338 Kahn built on a Wby action by Kirby, the load was 300 grain Bergers running at 2875fps. The rifle has a Lilja barrel, Holland QD brake, A5 stock and has a NF NXS 8-32X56 sitting on top.

Two buddies came with me to help with the hunt and I could not have done it without them. As weak as I was from the spider bite it was really great having them along to help out..... they are pretty good company anyway

We camped on a 20 acre block of land I own that sits just inside the National Forest giving us exclusive access to a section of forest that is almost impossible to get to from any other direction. We were hiking about 4 miles from where we had to leave our wheeler to get to the area we were glassing from, and gaining about 2000 to 2500 feet of elevation as well.

This area is known for big bulls..... 350 class and above but we were not finding them. We were seeing quite a few smaller bulls, but the rut was over and the bulls were all solitary back in the thick stuff.

We spotted a bull late one afternoon that looked pretty good although not a huge bull for the area...... When we first spotted him he was about 1100 yards and had just fed over the top of a mountain. I had my dial up chart confirmed out to 1000 so that was the max range I was willing to shoot. We moved a little and closed the range to just a little over 900 yards and I set up for the shot. He kept moving through some scrub brush and I just could not catch him turned right or in the clear and he walked back over the mountain and we lost him.

The next evening we spotted a bull on the same mountain and thought it was probably the same bull. He was 610 yards and I started trying to get set up shoot him but everywhere I set up I had brush in my way, after several moments I got set up and had a clear shot but now he was turned facing me. Then he walked down the mountain into a draw and we lost him. We kept glassing the area and finally one of my buddies spotted him again but we were running out of daylight. I got set up to shoot and one buddy called out the range, the other the dial up. I got the crosshairs on him and took the shot. I managed to get back on him in time to see him stumble and fall out of sight.

We high fived and headed over to him. The Berger had hit him just behind the front shoulder going in and come out just in front of the offside shoulder. From the blood trail, he had run or flopped about 10 yards.

Now it was all over but the fun part......... packing him out!

Thanks to my good buddies Chuck and Kenneth, I could have never done it without them. You really find out who your buddies are when you have an elk down and it is 4 miles of rough terrain back to the wheeler!!

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Unread 10-25-2010, 09:38 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 890
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards

congrats to you and thanks for sharing a great story. I leave for Co. next week for 3rd season. What did you think of the berger?
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Unread 10-25-2010, 09:45 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,726
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards


What a great bull and shot and to do it just coming off the spider bite, no less! Congrats! Hope you continue to build your strength back. I've got 3 days til I leave for elk and am about as skittish as a housecat about getting sick or hurt before the hunt.
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Unread 10-25-2010, 10:10 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Searcy, Arkansas
Posts: 700
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards

Mike, best of luck to you on your CO hunt. I am impressed with the terminal performance of the Bergers, I have shot 3 long range antelope and now an elk with them and they really did a number on the critters. Accuracy is great as well, they are shooting 1/4 moa or better from my rifle. I just wish I could go ahead and load them up to what the 338 Kahn is capable of rather than keeping them under 2900 fps.

jmden, Thanks and good luck on your elk hunt as well...... we all expect stories and pics when you get back!
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Unread 10-25-2010, 10:36 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northeast MS
Posts: 388
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards

Great shot and great bull. I always look forward to the great stories this time of year, hopefully I will have one of my own to share. Thanks for the story and pic.
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Unread 10-26-2010, 07:21 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: IOWA
Posts: 2,123
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards

Great story, I enjoyed reading it.
It is nice to have friends when dragging out an elk.
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Unread 10-26-2010, 09:15 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: md
Posts: 28
Re: NM Elk @ 605 yards

Thanks for the story,great write up I love the pictures. this site is wonderfull.
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