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What speed of single file elk walking?

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Old 09-13-2010, 05:16 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 491
What speed of single file elk walking?

In October 2008 I shot a number of grazing mule deer at 400 to 500 yards with my 270.
Half were bang flop, the other half ran 50 feet.

In November 2008 I opened fire on a column of single file walking elk at 625 yards with my 270.
I missed.

In 2010 I drew another cow elk tag for the same place.
I am switching to a 7mmRemMag.
But now I am thinking that if the bullet takes 0.8 seconds to go that far, I need to know the speed of the animals so I can shoot in front of them.
a) How fast do elk walk?

b) Also, how long are elk from the chest to the tail?
c) How tall are they from the belly to the back?

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Old 09-13-2010, 05:32 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 4,688
Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

Don't take this wrong but at that range pull out the Hoochie Mamma and give it a hit and when they stop, drop em. Elk move way faster that you think and hitting them on the move close is hard enough let alone LR.

I forget the length but the chest on a cow is 26-28in.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:50 PM
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Location: Thunder Basin, WY
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Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

I am assuming that they walk about the same speed as a horse and the speed of a horses' walk varies quite a bit. but an average of 3.5 miles per hour is pretty close on level ground with no "lolly gagging". This means the elk will have moved 4 feet in the .8 sec. flight time you mentioned. But leading by 4 feet could be too much if they are quartering and not traveling perpendicular to line of sight. Even leading by two feet could be a miss if the elk stops walking just momentarily the instant you pull the trigger.

Moving shots are tough because there are so many variables. For instance, if they're moving 5 mph, they've moved nearly 6 feet in .8 seconds. Pretty hard to guage 3.5 mph vs 5 mph without some kind of windage marks in your scope and a way to time how long it takes for them to pass X distance in Y seconds.

Just my opinion, but .8 second flight time is really reaching on a moving shot. Not saying you can't do it, but I think I'd be chicken. Too easy to make a gut shot instead of a shoulder shot. Again, just one mans opinion.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:46 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 6,044
Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

Sorry to not be giving you a real answer but most experienced hunters on this site would say don't shoot at a walking elk at those distances.

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Old 09-13-2010, 10:30 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Billings, Mt
Posts: 838
Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

If I was you - before I tried a shot at that range I'd pick one out - settle into the rifle - give one big yell or bark - you should have about 3-5 seconds to brake the trigger. Hitting a moving target at that distance where I come from is usually called LUCK or BS. I don't mean to be critical but even with an engineering degree I'm not capable of the calculations and making that a clean shot 9 times out of 10 and that is the criteria I use before snapping the cap.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:34 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
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Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

Sound like someone needs to learn a lot more about shooting long range and spend a little time practicing. Exbal will have the calculation for you so you might want to take that into account before you “open fire”.

Len has some Very Sage Advice There..
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:01 AM
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Location: Potomac River
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Re: What speed of single file elk walking?

Elk, like people, come in a real variety of sizes. The cow I killed last year was bigger than some herd bulls I have seen. Then there are the year and a half old cows which might be on the small side.

Elk that have been spooked and have slowed too a walk are really moving right along at a good clip.

The last year we hunted in Idaho there was a bunch of guys from Washington state who would conduct drives and shoot at the bulls while they were running in the herd. From the looks of the herd they had managed to hit at least one of the cows.

Knew a guy that took a shot at a antelope herd buck on the run and hit a fawn instead.
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