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Shooting positions for elk

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Unread 11-10-2009, 03:57 PM
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Shooting positions for elk

What shooting positions do you feel are the most useful in the field? I thought if I worked on shooting sticks and prone, it would be a good start. Not sure what is most practical in mountainous terrain? Would a tripod set of sticks or a single monopod stick set up be most useful?
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Unread 11-10-2009, 07:07 PM
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Re: Shooting positions for elk

A bipod is very useful and fast to use in the right terrain. I actually carry two, one extrends to 13", the other to 21". Made by Versa-Pod, they tilt and pan. Although not quite as steady as the Harris, I like these options. Alot to be said for using your pack as a rest if conditions allow. My last elk was taken with my rifle across the guides pack. I'm always try aware of the best possible position whenever I stop to glass, also ready to take advantage of any natural rests mother nature has to offer.. Try to fore see where game may appear and plan your shot accordingly.
Worst case senario for me is to be on a down slope with game on the opposite slope at the same elevation or higher. One of my spots in CO puts me in that position, thus the reason for the second bipod.

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Unread 11-10-2009, 11:46 PM
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Re: Shooting positions for elk

Originally Posted by Teutonic View Post
What shooting positions do you feel are the most useful in the field? I thought if I worked on shooting sticks and prone, it would be a good start. Not sure what is most practical in mountainous terrain? Would a tripod set of sticks or a single monopod stick set up be most useful?

The most useful position to shoot from when hunting elk or mule deer in steep terrain is “off the knees”. Out to 300 yards someone who has mastered the technique with lots of practice is deadly. It really comes into play when there is no time to set up. In rough country given the time I shoot off my backpack in conjunction with the terrain itself.

Just get into the mountains start hunting and figure it out. It’s not brain surgery and if the terrain you hunt is fairly flat the knee thing won’t work. For flat terrain I would choose a bipod or sticks.

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Unread 11-11-2009, 01:31 AM
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Re: Shooting positions for elk

Your shooting position is kinda reflective of the kind of rifle your packing and what kinda hunting your doing.
If your making a stand and waiting for elk choose your vantage point to work best with the bipod in prone position but elk country tends to be snow country so having a set of cross sticks maybe better and puts you in a sitting position but depending on the forend of your stock it may not ride cross sticks right. I think for the long range game these two are best, forget the mono pod and get a sling and learn how to use it cause you'll spend more time wobbling around than slapping yourself into a good position with sling. I have been interested in the shooting sticks the guys at BOTW use with the rear leg to support the butt stock.
If your crashing timber, shooting elk is more like shot gunning or quick draw so pull up and bang, follow through or you will have just enough time kneel and get your sling in position.
This is the first year I have only used the prone position of a bipod and for the long range I have chosen my stand based on being able to get a good, strong position for going prone of a bipod. This is one great advantage to long range shooting, you can move around and gain the best position possible without the target having a clue.
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Unread 11-11-2009, 07:55 PM
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Re: Shooting positions for elk

Much as I like to shoot from prone, I don't find it very useful in the field. Now and again I can take a shot from prone, but often it's just too low given grass, brush and other obstructions that get in the way. Mostly, I've shot game from sitting. I practice it regularly, and am able to shoot very accurately from sitting. Standing... Normally I use it only for close range, but this year I branched out and took a mule deer doe at 400 yards from standing... Of course there was this wonderful dead tree to use for a rest! My buddy took this photo right after I'd shot the doe, while I was watching to see if she needed another shot. She didn't.

If I hadn't had that tree with the perfectly placed branch... I wouldn't have even tried it from standing. As it was the bullet went into her chest, pretty well trashing the heart and lungs and resulted in an instant kill. Note the sling on the rifle... My favorite aid to accuracy:

Mostly though I use sitting, and although I've used the bipod, I'm one of those sling nuts... Too much NRA Highpower shooting perhaps? For whatever reason, I've always enjoyed shooting with a sling for stability. Earlier this year I took a young mule deer buck from 175 yards, from sitting, with the rifle sling rigged as a loop on my upper arm, just like on the firing range. Put the bullet right through the buck's shoulder blade, exactly as intended.

My son often uses a tall Harris bipod to help him stabilize the rifle, particularly while sitting:

This year though, he took his mule deer doe from kneeling, a position my knees no longer tolerate:

If I can get a rest, I'll use it. The bipod is handy, but I don't like them all that much. They seem to destroy the balance of the rifle for me. I'll use them from time to time, but they're not my favorite tool. Often I'll find some way to rest the rifle on my hunting pack. That works out real well for me. If I can't get a rest, I'll do what I can with the rifle sling - and that usually works out real well for me. I'd love to take more field shots from prone, but it just seems like quite often prone simply won't work. I do a lot of shooting at the range from standing and sitting. The groups aren't nearly as good as from prone or off the bench, but it pays off during the season.

You asked specifically about elk. I used sitting, with the same loop sling to take this bull:

Sitting was the only real answer. Prone wouldn't clear the grass & low branches. Standing wasn't a good idea considering the small "window" in the branches I had to shoot through. Sitting worked perfectly, and I used the sling to stabilize the rifle.

Regards, Guy

Last edited by Guy M; 11-11-2009 at 08:03 PM.
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Unread 11-14-2009, 01:31 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 218
Re: Shooting positions for elk

Good report there and a great looking elk. I was all set with a bipod for my first riffle elk hunt but with 3-5" of snow I perfered the downed tree trunk to use for a rest.
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Unread 11-14-2009, 12:39 PM
CAM CAM is offline
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Re: Shooting positions for elk

Shooting positions for elk??
I like to position them broadside, uphill of a road! LOL
It can sure be a challenge hunting Elk.

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