LOL re: the pointy sticks. I grew up hunting big Mule Deer - as in BIG - in the Cascade mountains of Southern Oregon - around Klamath Falls, - back in the 50's - and there were not too many Elk in the area back then (had to go out to Hart Mountain - 60 or so miles outside of town) - but the ole 30-30 (in my case - a .32 Winchester Special) - would bring em down if they were hit right. More Elk have since moved down from Central Oregon - and a couple of years ago only about 10 miles outside of town - a huge 7 x 7 (scored 405) was taken - that weighed 1,100 pounds. That monster just hung out way over the bed of the pickup truck.
And while I have not done a lot of long range shooting - 500+ yard type - I am familiar with the bullet characterestics of what makes a good long range round - plus the proper "compensation" - and there is even a round/paper wheel type/that turns to different settings for a quick and dirty solution, righto?
I think for me - and pehaps for others - the biggest variable is the wind - and any elevation change there might be. A flot shot - on a calm day - with a good rest - and no "Buck Fever" - is probably the ideal - and then it all can go to hell from there, eh?