Dont know how to start except at the beginning. For the last 4 or 5 years I've been buying an elk tag just in case I saw one during the season while hunting deer and antelope. They pass through our property but rarely stay long. Finally this year I happened to spot some on the 13th of October (Month and 1/2 after season opener). 7mm Sendaro had seen sign a week prior, but we had not seen the elk.
All the paying hunters had left and I had a couple of hours before dark so I decided to take a drive and do some glassing from the roads and ridge tops. While driving, with the naked eye, I spotted one standing in the open over 1000 yds away. It was a cow and there were a few more cows and a bull back behind her. They were all looking at me and the wind was wrong for a stalk from that location.
I was super excited at that point and it was all I could do to keep myself remotely calm and drive away....drove around the point, over the hill and out of site. Once the truck was out of site I hurriedly gathered my gear (almost forgot my drop chart!) and headed for a walk down the backside of a long ridge that quartered toward the elk. I hoped that the bottom of the ridgeline would put me within 600 or 700 yds of them. Every few hundred yards I peaked my head over the skyline to make sure they were still where I'd last seen them and they were, they had actually bedded down and were facing the point I was headed to.
Seemed like it took forever, but I finally made it to the "crossroads" ......I had to make a decision. I could either drop down into a creekbed and trudge through the water and mud and hopefully get closer to them without being heard, or I could take the shot from where I was. I had gone as far as I could without exposing myself over the skyline and the range was 579 yds. Knowing that my equipment was plenty capable so long as I judged the wind correctly, I opted for the shot from the ridgeline. This would also allow me to keep the slight elevation advantage I had on them. There were 10 cows/calves and two bulls. I was going to take the bigger bull of the two.
Drop Chart said I needed 20 clicks on the Huskemaw 5-20 Blue Diamond (dont have the yardage turrets yet) Wind was from 2 o'clock @ ~5 mph, so that meant a 1MOA wind hold. I belly crawled just enough to make sure I was "topped out" and there would be no sagebrush or grass in my line of fire. I laid prone on the bipod and used my rangefinder case as my rear bag, placing my fist between it and the rifle. I check the parallax and the level. I was ready to fire.
The bull was still bedded, quartering toward me. I didn't want a tracking job this close to dark and I didn't want a gut shot to ruin any meat so I opted for the high shoulder/spine shot. My intentions were to anchor him right there on the spot. I squeezed off the shot and recovered from recoil in time to see his neck and head hit the ground through the scope. I jacked in another round just in case, but really thought he was down for the count. Kinda suprised me when about 5 seconds later he began thrashing his head around trying to get up. I could tell he was not going anywhere with that broken shoulder and spine, but rather than have him suffer, I put two more rounds into his lungs. Done Deal!
As usuall, this is where the work starts and the fun tapers off. I knew that I had to get back to the truck and call in some help before it got too late. Hightailed it back up the ridge and made a phone call. Drove down to the bull with the pickup (needed lights by this point) and got the job underway.
He's only a raghorn by most standards, but he's my first. I am happy.