Double on Cow Elk
Well 11-16-12 marked opening day on a new hunter management area in Wyoming and with snow on the ground, it looked like a great day to be gone from work. My hunting partner and I along with a lady that we work with that wanted to go all had late season cow tags. We left the house at 4 am and headed up to the ranch and got there right at daybreak. While unloading our atv's, a game warden drove up and warned us of high game and fish presence on the property to make sure the hunt was a success. While visiting with him, he gave us a heads up on where he had seen some elk the previous day. Due to our older age and lack of paying attention, we weren't exactly sure about where he was talking about when we got to the area we thought he was telling us to go to. We met another game warden who helped us to understand we were on a closed road and we decided to go to another area adjacent to where we were hunting that was a different private ranch that we had permission to hunt on. As we were driving up a two track on the private ranch, we hear a horn honking at us and it was a game warden checking on us. It happened to be the same game warden we met first thing in the morning. After letting him know we had permission to be on the road we were on we told him that we got confused about where he told us to go earlier in the morning. He re explained the directions to us and we decided to give it another try. We got into the spot he told us about and within five minutes of looking over a canyon, we spotted elk. First we saw about five head going from east to west a couple hundred yards below us. For no apparent reason the five elk turned around and headed back in the same direction that they came from. The last elk, a young cow, stopped and I tried to get off a quick shot, I didn't range her and must have shot over. I was guessing the yardage at about 300 yards, but after looking around, I got out the range finder and realized the shot was probably only 200 yards or less. While looking around, I spotted a heard of elk to the east of where I had just missed. I got a range and boy was my calibrated eye off! I was guessing 450-500 and ranged 854. Since this was a meat hunt, we decided to make a stalk and get closer since the area the elk were in was heavily wooded. We met up with our lady friend and she agreed to stay put and cover the close side hill while we went over to the other area. We hike over about a quarter mile and came out on a rock cropping and below us were several hundred cows and calves. My partner and I got set up and we agreed to both be ready before we shot. We went back and forth with one of us ready and then the other but not both. We were trying to line up on large cows. We had agreed that he would try and take a cow off to the left and I would try to take one off to the right, so that we wouldn't accidently shoot the same elk. When we were finally both ready, I told my partner go. He shot and with the report of his 338 rum sending a 300 grain matchking towards it's target, the elk I was on immediately bolted. The next thing I noticed was that my scope got blurring for several seconds, probably from the hot air from his muzzle break hitting the cold glass on my scope. Finally it cleared and with elk running everywhere, I found a cow standing still looking around at about 210 yards. After my previous miss earlier, I dialed my turret back to a 200 yard zero, it was set at 300 for my prior shot. I launched a 300 gr berger from my 338 rum and immediately heard a whop followed by a drt elk visible only by seeing it's legs sitting there. I asked my partner if he had seen his elk go down or heard the whop and he said no. We both had ear plugs in, so hearing was reduced. Then I saw a cow elk walking around between the trees. I told my partner that cow must be hit, because all the other elk left and why would she still be here unless she was hit. She went behind a tree and I never saw here leave. My partner decided to go back and get our lady friend and maybe we could get a shot at this other cow for her. While he was gone, I kept looking for the cow and never saw a twitch. Then looking out in the distance I was seeing elk stringing up a ridge. I ranged them at around 600 yards. When my partner got back, I told him about the other elk I had seen. We went down the ridge several hundred yards and were able to see the other big heard of elk. The range was too far for our lady friend and so she declined on a stalk due to them being further down the canyon and harder for a pack out. I looked back over to the area where I had shot my cow and spotted another elk down. It was my partner's cow. Good, a double. Now for the work. I grabbed my plastic sled and went down to where my cow was laying, my partner went down to where his cow was laying and we started quartering them up. While I was quartering up my cow, I kept hearing cow calls. I looked over to the west and the whole elk heard was there within 500 yards. I called down to our lady friend and she was down at my partner's kill site taking pictures. Her gun was right next to my cow. She came up (slowly, she is 65 and still recovering from a horse wreck) got her rifle and headed down towards the herd. I told her to range them and about how much to elevate when she told me she left her range finder at the atv, right next to mine. She managed to get two shots off, but without a rangefinder, it was kentucky windage and resulted in a miss. I loaded my quarters into the plastic sled and started dragging the whole elk up the hill. On dry ground it was hard, but where the snow was covering the ground, it wasn't too bad. I was about half way up and I saw a guy riding a atv. He saw me and came down and offered to tow my sled up the hill. I told him that there was a road closed sign at the top of the road, but he told me the lower road he came in on was open. He towed my sled up to where my atv was parked and our lady friend was there watching our gear and she told me that my partner had only brought up one of his quarters. I got a drink of gatorade and headed back down the slope about 600 yards with the sled. We loaded up the sled with the other 3 quarters and pulled up the slope. It was much easier with two of us pulling. We were about 1/2 way up the slope on an old road and my heart started fibrilating (beating super fast, 200 beats or more per minute) I said to my partner, shit I am having another episode. Last bad one was elk hunting last year and afterwards I spent a bunch of money at the cardiology center without any answers. I told him I can't make the pack, I told him to go get the atv to tow the elk up the rest of the way because after an episode, I am totally zapped and exhausted. We managed to get out the rest of the way without incident and I live another day. It was all in all a great hunt.
The elk I had seen walking around was indeed the cow my partner had shot. He said hit bullet had entered behind the front shoulder and did not exit, he was amazed that the elk was able to stay on it's feet for so long after being hit without showing signs of being hit. Since we quarter without gutting, it is hard to say what happened with the bullet, but we are curious. In my case, I hit my cow in the neck (she must have moved when I pulled the trigger) shot should have been behind the shoulder, but the 300 gr berger did it's job and resulted in an instant kill.
Remington model 700 300 RUM LH 26" rem ss/blued receiver lam stock 215 Berger @3025/180 NAB @3300
Remington model 700 338 RUM LH 27" Broughton 5C 225NAB@3300 /300gr Berger@2830
Savage LH 22-250