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From Western Skies

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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:52 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 47
From Western Skies

I'm in New Mexico...and Colorado and Kansas. Shot my first long-distance elk at 452 yds last Fall. Wouldn't have tried it except that my old Air Force buddy and I (we're both long retired) went prarie dog hunting in SE Colorado last September and I learned there that I could accurately shoot out beyond 300 yds. I was shooting a .17 HMR with a cheap ballistic scope (but it works well to 300 yds) and one of my 5.56 mm ARs. It was amazing...I could hit those little rascals out at 400 and 500 yards and more. No, it wasn't one-shot, one-kill (except on the ones out to about 150). That little .17 bullet gets knocked around a lot by the wind but I learned a few things. Anyway, for the elk hunt I had sighted in my Steyr 30-06 at 200 yds and knew I was good out to 300. But the herd bull elk with a small harem came out of the timber bugling over 400 yds away through some trees and by the time he got clear, he was a good 450 yds away. I had a nice older (circa 1993) 8X Schmidt & Bender scope (from the Patch Rod and Gun Club) on my rifle since my higher power S&B scope had malfunctioned on me during an earlier sight-in bout at the range and had gone back to Germany for rehab (which I later got back free). The 8X scope was great but it had the German post cross hairs (reticle 7??) and I had to guess on how high to hold over the critter. And I guessed wrong 5 times and dropped the first magazine out of the gun (got to love those Steyrs with their 5-shot mags) and quickly threw in the second. The elk by this time knew something was up and was angling slightly away heading for the dark timber. I put the cross hairs somewhere around the top of his antlers and squeezed the trigger again. To my amazement, the bull whirled and went down on the spot. I had been trying for a neck shot (I know, crazy right but I had confidence in my ability, scope and rifle) but did not allow for the elk's movement as he quartered away. Turned out the bullet hit him on the left side right above the left hind quarter and below the spine, traveled down below the spine across his body and exited behind his right front leg. So this episode has me NOW wanting to do a better job at long-range hunting. I'm getting a Knight Force scope and hope to have it mounted in a week or so (I'm in California as I write this so I'll have to get back to NM). And I'll be back out after elk this year since I got drawn again (after several years of getting nothing). These things I have learned over my years hunting: First, always buy the best glass you can afford (Yes, I'm looking for a better scope for my .17 HMR but it's not as critical as a big game scope). Everyone who picks up my scopes and binos and looks though them always says, "Wow, it's so clear." I hunted Russian boar at night in Germany with the scope that I had to send back (and the one I used on this hunt was nearly as good). Older eyes like mine need that clarity. Wish I could afford a new S&B but not on my retired pay. Second, get to know your rifle. Third, practice. I want to do that soon!!
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Unread 06-29-2012, 10:18 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Re: From Western Skies

Sounds as if you're headed for one shot one kill!

Welcome aboard.

I'm sitting here waiting for the ID F&G web site to come back to see if I drew.

Probably won't get much done today until I find out.......
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 07-03-2012, 12:44 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 47
Re: From Western Skies

Yes, royinidaho, I firmly believe in one shot, one kill. When I was stationed in Germany back in the early 90s, I took the German hunters course at the Rod & Gun Club. It basically taught, among other things, the German hunting philosophy of one shot one kill. I did quite well over there but the longest shot I had was around 125 yards on a Chamois in the German Alps. Most of the shots from stands were from 50-75 yds. Of course their philosophy is related to the fact that all German hunters are market hunters. What you kill goes to the local restaurant or butcher shop. All you get to keep are the trophy parts which vary a little depending to the animal. The other thing about hunting in Germany is you'd better be 100% sure of your target before you squeeze the trigger. That's why in Germany you can drive down the autobahn and see hunting towers erected along it and right outside of towns. I recall sitting in a raised blind one morning when, shortly after sunrise, I heard a faint rustling in the woods. The sound was slowly coming towards me and sounded like a deer moving cautiously through the woods. I sat there anxiously waiting to see what would appear when, after about 10 mins., I saw a little old man with his face fixed to the ground gathering mushrooms. He passed almost right under my blind, oblivious to me being there. Oh, well, he was not the nice Roe Buck that I was hoping to see that morning. I could tell other stories, but enough for now. BTW, did you get drawn for anything?
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