Bull elk @1302 yards....

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by goodgrouper, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    A good friend of mine called me about a week ago and told me he had a brother who had drawn a limited entry bull elk tag for the Wasatch unit in Utah. He said his brother didn't have a real accurate gun and was wondering if I would help them out by letting him use the 338 thunder. He also told me that they had spotted lots of bulls, but most of them were out of range of normal guns and since his brother has bronchitis and arthritis, a long range plan might be in order.

    Well, how could I turn that down?!

    So, Friday night we scouted and found a good bull up high but a bad storm left the high country with dang near impassible roads so we decided to hit some mountains in our backyard. Saturday afternoon found us glassing some nice country full of elk. We found a local bull that has become fairly well known in the area as the biggest bull on the mountain face but because of where he was, most people with tags have left him alone. That's because he was on a super steep, super thick and nasty mountain face that you literally have to "pull" your way through. Very bad spot for older knees and lungs.

    Anyhow, we watched him Saturday until nightfall and put him to bed. The plan being to get out there at first light and locate him and dump him from long range.

    Sunday morning. We found him first thing and not more than 100 yards from where he was bedded down for the night. So we drove our rigs up to the top of a little hill and started getting things thrown in our packs. 7mmrhb stayed down below with a spotting scope and walkie talkie to inform us of the bull's movements as we started the hike to our pre-planned shooting spot.

    Uncle B and I had all the shooting gear and optics in our packs and my friend and his brother had fairly empty pack frames for lugging meat out.

    Because of my buddy's brother's bad health, it took us awhile to get to our shooting spot but we finally made it. The bull we wanted was up and herding cows and seemed unaware of us 3/4 of the mountain down below. I quickly got the rifle rest set up and the crosshairs on the bull. A quick look to the ACI and it said .91 cosine. The GPS said we were at 5300 or thereabouts and my thermometer said it was 42 degrees. The bull was ranged at 1302 with the Swaro rangefinder (which immediately gave a bounceback in the pre-dawn light) so I plugged everything into my computer and it said to dial up 22.75 IPHY from my 326 yard zero. Up the scope went and then a quick check on the wind and there was not even a breeze. Uncle B was on the Leica 77 spotter and 7mmrhb on my Swaro 80 down below so we had good coverage of the shot.

    Ward got comfortable and squeezed the trigger. Boom! After about a 1.5 second flight time, the bullet made a thud. The bull turned his head like he had been hit and something seemed wrong. He took a few steps and then started backing up while his cows started scramming out of there. I quickly chambered a new round for my buddy's brother and settled the crosshairs back on the bull. "Fire when ready" I told him, the gun is pointed at him and is perfectly steady". Boom! A long pause and then a clear "crack" came back as the bullet entered his front quarter and broke bone.

    The bull quickly turned downhill and went crashing into some aspens. We knew right then that we had our bull!

    So with 7mmrhb keeping an eye on him from below, we packed all our gear up and headed up the unbelievably steep mountain ahead of us. It took us about 3 hours to go about 600 yards up the ridge and another 3 hours to cut across over to the bull. THe scrub oak and aspens were so thick that I dared not put my gun or pack or varmint rest down for fear of never finding them again! So we lugged ALL our gear up the 3000 foot vertical ascent to the kill site. Once there, we found the bull had slid down into some really thick, nasty aspens and would be in a bad place to work on.

    Upon inspection, we found the first shot low and back in the neck and the second shot in the front quarter. It looked to be about a 10" group. No bullet has been found yet, but still lots of butchering and trimming left to do to the meat. I will show a pic of the bullet if we find it. The neck shot went straight through leaving a half-dollar sized exit hole.

    After de-boning him and taking the cape and horns off, we loaded up our packs with meat and headed out. We got about halfway down the mountain before it got dark so out came the headlamps and it was another hour and a half after dark when we reached the truck. What a rough day but it was worth it!!

    Congrats to W.T.! We knew you could do it! Thanks to my friend for the invite and for a great day. I hope you can get the rest of that meat out tomorrow with your lammas. Thanks to Uncle B and 7mmrhb for your big parts in the hunt.
    We couldn't have done it without the entire team effort. And we couldn't have done it without the long range capability. The time restraints, health restraints, and location of the bull made it a "long range only" kind of hunt. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    Here is my buddy and his brother and the bull:
    [​IMG]

    THis is the same pic with uncle B and myself added minus my buddy:
    [​IMG]

    This is a pic of myself with the horns inside my truck. Notice how wide he is. It almost goes side to side of my 5' bed:
    [​IMG]

    And finally, here is a pic of the mountain. The green dot on the low right is where we parked the trucks. The turquoise dot up slightly higher and to the left is where we shot from. The green squiggly line is our trail from the truck, to the shooting spot, to the kill site. The straight turquoise line up the mountain is the flight of the bullet and the crosshair at the top is where the bull was shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    Awsome story. Man that sure is some fine country you fellas get to hunt.
     

  3. yotefever

    yotefever Well-Known Member

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    WOW! Great story and love the pics, I sure love it out west. I'm headed out Thursday stopping at HS on the way and maybe Burris too.
    Going for antelope and coytes with a few pd too. I should have been practicing with my hand calls. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  4. Takman

    Takman Well-Known Member

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    Great Story, great pics.
     
  5. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    GG, awesome story and pics. You guys live in some beautiful country. Oh yea, and great shooting!!!

    Wildcat
     
  6. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    Congrats gg buddy and GG as well, and to everyone else involved. It is nice to see long range ability applied in the right way, when it is used to a advantage for game that cant really be reached any other way. I am always glad to hear about someone who is disabled in some way getting a chance to take a awesome animal like that, really impressive.

    I am also JEALOUS AS ALL GET OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very happy for you and proud but your recent success stories are starting to annoy me a bit /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif Our big game season doesnt start hear for another month and I am chomping at the bit. It really must be nice to live in a place where so many big game animals are available. COngrats again

    SO you hauled that varmint rest all the way up there to shoot off of. makes me feel bad about crying about hauling all of my shooting crap around.

    congrats again bud, nice shootin
    steve
     
  7. jeff 300

    jeff 300 Well-Known Member

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    i would trade this hot a$$ south Texas for it any day of the year. great bull and dam good shooting way to go
     
  8. JD338

    JD338 Well-Known Member

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    GG,
    Congratulations to you and your buddies on another successful hunt. Great story and pictures.
    I am curious on the bullet performace and look forward to seeing the bullet when it is recovered.
    Good job buddy!

    JD338
     
  9. 6BR4ME2

    6BR4ME2 Well-Known Member

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    GG you forgot to say "after church we went out"... I went out tonight for "Family home evening" with my kids to bugle some elk on the Pavahnt range it was awesome...(inside joke)

    great job and another great story!!!!
     
  10. 7mmRHB

    7mmRHB Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up Grouper!! Great pics. The mountain looks very familiar. I want to point out that the Thunder is for REAL.
    Through the spotter I would see the bullet connect, then a second later hear the guns report, then a couple of seconds after that I would hear the sound of the bullet whacking the Elk and I was well over 2200 yards away!!! An interesting day to say the least. This area is a burn area that is so thick that most of the time I could only tell where the guys were at by the small trees parting as they made their way up the last half of the hill. These four guys are tough !!! W.T. will never forget that day for sure!!-----7mmRHB
     
  11. lerch

    lerch <strong>SPONSOR</strong>

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    Oh, by the way, I dont know crap about elk but that looks like a awesome bull. So for what its worth from a redneck who still has never seen a bull elk that SOB would have a happy place on my wall!!!!!!

    Congrats
    steve
     
  12. Mountainsheep

    Mountainsheep Well-Known Member

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    Congrats to all on a great hunt. Thanks for the story and great pictures. Makes me miss living Out West even more than I normally do. Really beautiful country and awesome wildlife. Best of luck through the rest of the season.
     
  13. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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    GG,
    There isn't much to say, just congratulation to all the hunting party. The building the the thunder has proven to have been well thought out. I'm happy for the shooter the the rifle owner, for the folks that were there to tell the story. Great hunt!!! Thanks for sharing... Man! not bad concidereing I did not have much to say... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    Way to go guys, great story!