Well, I'm finally getting around to posting pics from my first elk hunt and I want to start by saying that it was a great learning experience.
My buddies Mel, Marc, Martin, and myself went to Douglas Pass, CO (Unit 21) for a 1st Season, Rifle, Colorado Elk Hunt last week (12-16 Oct). My rifle of choice was a Winchester Model 70 chambered in 7mm WSM
; loaded with a stiff, but safe load of RL 22....topped with 154 gr Hornady Interbond bullets. Muzzle velocity was right at 3075 fps and grouped easily under an inch at 100 yds with a newly acquired Minox Z3 scope and the XR-BDC reticle. We obtained solid zero's in Nebraska out to 600 yds or so and had additional ballistic drop data out to 800 yds +. The rifle performed great during sight in and as you can see, that transitioned to the hunting field as well.
On day 2 of the hunt, Mel and I set out to find some elk that he and Martin had got on the first day. Of course, they weren't in the same canyon as the day before, so after a sandwich for lunch, we moved to the next ridge over to do some glassing. Mel was carrying his 375 H&H. While I was on one side scanning Mel was on the other. I eventually came over to see if he had any luck and he had indeed spotted a cow. As we were re-locating the cow, he then spotted the bull. Seeing that he was a legal bull, we quickly ranged him and came up with a shade over 600 yds. We quickly moved down the steep hillside approximately 300 feet or so to see if it would drop into shooting range of the 375 H&H. The hillside was so steep that it only closed the distance to 573 yds. We decided to go ahead and take the bull, as the opportunity for a clear shot would likely be gone very soon. Since I had solid zero's the 7MM WSM got the nod. There was a slight right to left wind coming down the canyon so I placed my 600 yard hash on the scope reticle about 8 inches upwind of the bull's shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. The first shot was extremely solid; right through the chest cavity, and although we didn't know it at the time, it would have been all that was needed. The bull moved down the hill and slightly to the left.....maybe 15 yards or so and stood facing away from us. I took a second shot that was another solid hit. He moved up the steep canyon side another 15 yards and piled up near some deadfall. Time: approx 2:30 PM.
The Hornady Interbond performed perfectly. It was fast, flat and consistantly accurate. As I stated before, it would have only taken the first single well placed shot, but we didn't want to risk losing him. So we took the second insurance shot. That first shot hit about 3 inches higher than I intended.....so about 1/2 minute off my intended point of impact. Awesome.
Hauling him out of the canyon was a 4 man team effort that pretty much took the entire next foggy, snowy day.....and about 3 hours of the next day. I have to thank Marc, Mel and Martin for that. Great friends and the best hunting partners anyone could have.
BTW, I rough scored him when I got home and based upon my rudimentary abilities he grossed around 310 or so. With deductions, around 284+.