Back from my elk hunt, I'm just sick

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by sambo3006, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Went out to western CO for the 1st rifle elk season with a bull tag. I was hunting the east side of the Uncompahgre Plateau at about 8500 feet.

    The hunt started out crappy when my buddy pumped his gas truck full of diesel. That set us back a day or so and we had to set up camp in the dark, rain and cold. We had rain the first 2 days of the season, but some of our friends who live out there took 3 decent bulls. I thought I was going to get a shot at one of them but he wandered up the canyon to the other guy who made an excellent shot.
    My 6 month old Burris 4.5-14 fogged up on the inside and I had to set it in the sun for about an hour to clear up. You can bet I will be talking to Burris about that!

    On the third day I was looking off the side of a mesa that dropped about 200 ft sheer. There were mixed pines and cedars down below me. I spotted a bull but couldn't get lined up for a shot before he disappeared headed to my left. I kept working my way down the rim glassing and finally stopped and decided that I would watch there since the bull hadn't been moving very fast. After about 10 minutes I spotted him moving slowly. He stopped behind some brush and stood there for a couple of minutes. There was an opening next to a tree near him. I ranged the tree at 496 yds and waited prone with my roto-tilt bipod. He finally slowly moved into the opening and I put my 500 yd wire on his shoulder and started my trigger squeeze. Just as it was about to break I wavered and had to readjust my aim. By then his shoulder was behind the tree and I shot about 6 inches behind the shoulder. I heard the hit and saw the bullet kick up dirt behind him. He slowly continued behind the tree and never came out. I stayed behind the rifle for 15 minutes and didn't see movement so I called my friend on the radio to help guide me to the spot where I shot.
    It took an hour on a 4 wheeler to go down and around to the general area where he was and another half hour on foot for my friend to guide me to the tree. About 30 ft from the hit site I found a pool of bright red blood about 12" diameter like he had coughed up or blown it out. After that there were half a dozen small drops then nothing. He had walked down below a small ridge which is why I never saw him come out from behind the tree. I searched for about an hour and it was getting late so I flagged the tree and went out. I figured I would come back in the morning with several guys to search.

    We woke up the next morning to a heavy snow just starting, so we hastily cut up a bunch more fire wood and stayed in the tent all day keeping the stove going and knocking snow off the roof of the tent. We ended up getting about a foot of snow all together.
    The next morning I went over to the rim and looked for magpies or crows flying around and didn't see any. I went down to the basin and spent 4 hours searching and never found the bull. As we were breaking camp the next day I talked to some guys from Mississippi who were going to hunt that basin the 2nd season. They had a big group and were familiar with the area so they took my name and address in case they found the bull. I'm not going to hold my breath, though. Even if they find the bull, the game warden might confiscate the anlters. He was a nice 5x4.

    I definitely learned a lesson on shots at bull elk. I have killed 2 cows and have seen several others killed and they go down pretty easy. I have been told by several local elk hunters that bulls don't leave much of a blood trail as a rule and that they are hard to put down. Next time I will shoot only for the shoulder or shoulder blade. I'm pretty sure that bull died and it makes me sick that I couldn't find him. I shot him with a 338 RUM and a 225 gr AB at 3050 fps. I don't think it mattered what bullet I used hitting him just through the ribs like that.

    I hope some of you other guys had better luck than me. At least my rifle shot very accurately. I put 3 shots under an inch at 200 yds when we were verifying zero and I dead centered a rock at 500 yds the day before I shot the bull.
     
  2. älg

    älg Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Sorry about that. Which cartridge -bullet comb. were you using??
     

  3. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    338 RUM 225 gr Nosler Accubond at 3050 fps. There was basically no wind.
     
  4. hoghound

    hoghound Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Well Sambo, It looks like you had plenty enough gun. You shot the rifle to verify zero at known ranges and had confidence in your equipment and your ability to make such a shot. The opertunity presented itself and you made the choice to take the shot.

    You could have just said you missed and didn't go look for him. But the fact is you looked and searched and did the best you could do to recover the animal. That's all a man can do as long as you done the best you could with what you had, unless someone had some hounds to sick on his trail.

    Look there is two kinds of hunter's my friend, those it's happened to, and those it's going too. If it ain't happened to you it's cause you ain't hunted long enough.

    It's good you feel bad, shows you have respect and compasion towards the animals we have the freedom to hunt.

    Keep your chin up, I see where you done nothing wrong. Like I said...if you hunt long enough it will happen to you.

    Later Tim
     
  5. Savage99

    Savage99 Active Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Thats the same Accubond that Allen Day had problems with in Africa. He posted that report and then a follow up on those bullets when be brought them up to Nosler and was there as they were tested. He shot them from a 338 WM.

    The posts are on 24hourcampfire.com
     
  6. sambo3006

    sambo3006 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    [ QUOTE ]
    Thats the same Accubond that Allen Day had problems with in Africa. He posted that report and then a follow up on those bullets when be brought them up to Nosler and was there as they were tested. He shot them from a 338 WM.


    The posts are on 24hourcampfire.com


    [/ QUOTE ]
    I do not believe it was a problem with the bullet, just the placement. The shot was in all likelihood lethal, just not instantly and the bull was in very thick vegetation. I needed to anchor him on the spot by breaking major bones.
     
  7. bsb

    bsb Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    what tx said
     
  8. Jimm

    Jimm Writers Guild

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Samboman,

    Tim in Texas pretty much said it all ( and said it very well ) .

    If you hunt these things can and will happen .

    BTW , that part of Colorado has a bad habit of sneaking in a big snowstorm at the drop of the hat . I have hunted where you were and had it happen to me more than once .

    Something to think about , there is no waste in God's creation . That elk you shot is probably dead , but absolutely not " wasted " .

    A coyote will feed on it as may other predators including hawks and even the Bald or golden eagle . Even if none of these use it as food it will enrich the ground it dies on as fertilizer for new grass and other food sources for the next generation of elk .

    Jim B
     
  9. wapiti6x6

    wapiti6x6 Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Sorry about your luck sambo, I live here in beautiful Unit 61 and might be able to follow up and see if there is indeed a dead bull from your efforts if I had a little more info on the locale of your shot etc.
     
  10. Mountainsheep

    Mountainsheep Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Sambo,
    I sympathize with you on losing the bull, been there, done that. Just remember hunting is a two participant, competitive sport; predator/prey both seeking opposite outcomes. You did your part well; you use the correct equipment & proved its integrity, lethal shot placement as confirmed by the blood trail & the diligence & effort to follow-up. I’m sure the elk’s priority was to hole-up & hide away. Give him credit for the stamina, instinct & determination to do just that. Had Mother Nature smiled in your favor you would have your trophy, but the cover of darkness & snow shifted the odds his way. The sorrow & concern you feel is a trophy in its own right, it proves your respect for the game & the hunt. When the possibilities of evasion & escape are artificially taken away from the animal, there is no longer any sport or competition. Be proud of yourself & be proud of the bull, you didn’t lose & he didn’t win; sort of a stalemate between two worthy adversaries. Best of luck with you future hunts.
    Dave
     
  11. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    Sambo,

    I know this is no consolation but some times %$#^ happens. I have shot a Rairoad car full of elk. Sometimes the drop from a single lung no bone hit in 50 feet, sometimes you absolutly shoot them to pieces with multiple great hits and chase them for a mile. I wouldn't be to quick to turn your nose up at your bullet cartridge combo or your shot placement. A solid bone hit that anchors on the spot is great but not always possible. Shootng for the heart/lung shot is a good shot and not one to pass up. The snow did not do you any favors. Try not to get to bummed out, it is unfortunate but sooner or later it will happen to everyone that hunts long enough. I have only lost one hit animal and it makes you sick but it will happen to everyone at some point. If you have taken a 100 animnals and never lost one it just means your "one" is just around ther corner. Keep your chin up.
     
  12. su37

    su37 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    I know I play armchair QB here, but,

    "We woke up the next morning to a heavy snow just starting, so we hastily cut up a bunch more fire wood and stayed in the tent all day keeping the stove going and knocking snow off the roof of the tent. We ended up getting about a foot of snow all together."

    Some snow should have never kept you from looking that next day right at sunup. One guy could have tended the stove and tent.


    With the blood being bright red it sounded like lower lung hit which is good, better than a high which will show pink.
    Doubt that elk went that far.
     
  13. waha

    waha Active Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    I feel for you also and your sick feeling shows what kind of a guy you are and that you are a true sportsman who cares about the game and you give elk hunters credit with your philosophy. I've killed a lot of bulls and I wish there was consistancy to them just all dropping over but it just doesnt happen. Quick story to make you feel better. About 12 few years ago I was hunting right under the Lolo Trail in the Lochsa country in Idaho when me, my F&G buddy and another fellow ran into 5 branch antler bulls and I made a good shot at 75 yards and knew I made a good hit. I was using a 200 SGK at 3,000 FPS and had no snow and couldn't find blood, nothing. A full week later my F&G buddy shows up in my office and tells me he found my elk and it was still alive after a full week! He accidently ran into it driving the Lolo trail which was about 1/2 mile uphill from where I hit it and caught up with it and finished it off. He had seen blood on the road and followed the tracks and the elk was only about 50 yards off the road. I had actually clipped one lung and it had survived a full week after walking uphill 1/2 mile! As you know elk normally don't go uphill when hit either. All I can say is it happens to the best and you are a good man for being honest.
     
  14. Troutslayer

    Troutslayer Well-Known Member

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    Re: Back from my elk hunt, I\'m just sick

    I know how you feel, literally. A couple of days ago I had some cows run out into a clearing (I have a cow tag for the area). One stopped long enough for me to take a comfortable shot from 250 yards. I heard a resounding thwack of a good hit, and was half waiting for her to fall over. I couldn't get off another shot before she hobbled back into the freightened herd. They made their way out of my range and got to a fenceline. The herd crossed the fenceline but my elk was floundering around and I was convinced she would fall any second. Not wanting to take any chances I started sprinting through a treeline towards her. That cow managed to jump the fence despite my having blown up her front quarter, totally destroying her ability to walk. I tracked down the landowner who came out with me to what I tought at the time would be drag an elk a few yards off his property. I found where she bedded down, a basketball size pool of blood, but not too much. I tracked her all day (I shot at first light) and the blood trail became thinner and thinner until there was maybe a drop every 20 feet (in the snow). The landowner told me to give up but I kept looking and finally had to pack it in at dark, went back the next day hoping to find the whole herd, which she stayed with according to the tracks, couldn't find them. They were in really thick timber and I don't doubt that I was as close as 50 yards to that wounded elk. Makes me sick to think about it. I've been trying to hunt those same elk hoping I get a chance to kill the one that I wounded but I saw them tonight and didn't see anyone limping. Probably wolf food.

    I was shooting a .300 win mag, with a corelokt 180 grain. I shoot the corelokt because it papers the best out of my gun and I did feel like a well placed shot with an inferior bullet is better. I'm rethinking that theory right now, I think I'm going to start shooting a 220 gr. bonded bullet of some sort. If I had a bigger hole I would have drawn a lot more blood and had a better trail to follow. I hit her too far forward, right in the shoulder, no vitals, she was slightly quartering away. Would that shot have killed better with a better bullet? I think it would have but I'm not sure.

    Nothing gets wasted in nature and a lot of people can't retrieve elk. You're definately not alone, but I do know how you feel and it sucks.