Developing a ELR hunting area.

Discussion in 'Extreme Long Range Hunting & Shooting (ELR)' started by bigngreen, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Part of the reason I got into LR hunting was that I wanted to take elk at one particular location during rifle season, since then I've found other elk honey holes that are unusable except by long range capability and some are only going to work with 1200+ yards shots. My buddy and I have been walking, scouting and shooting a particular basin the past year in preparation to take elk in it. We've patterned and watched elk feed out of the timber and use a particular trail to go to water, we've ranged along this trail with GPS and range finders out to about 1600 yards and have taken and shot target rocks along it and noted down the conditions and shots. Naturally it's boiling down to wind which has been fun to get nailed down due to the natural air flow in the basin moving up and to the south but the prevailing wind over the basin moves to the north and the bullet will travel both air flows. So we've put a lot of time, effort, observation and bullets in the actual hunting area from our actual shooting position and with the gear we will be hunting with and we've gotten to the point that confidence is very high to the limit of our laser ranging ability of 1300 yards.

    So how are you guys developing hunting opportunities or areas past a 1000 yards, tips or tricks to share?
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    You seem on to the system.

    I've selected three shooting spots for development. One is years old and I have about every land mark memorized for range. I shoot there every summer at different ranges out to 1200 yards as that was as far as I could consistently range. (The ranging problem is about to change)

    The other two hides are new this year. One is moderate range and is a bedding spot 'whenever they are pushed through'. The area is large with certain pockets hunted very hard. This spot may well be a "safe spot" for them. I see a lot of unproductive time being spent there.

    The third spot is pretty poor except for seeing elk coming from a very long ways then selecting another spot to attempt to get a shot. Pretty low percentage here.

    I have no location where I can pattern their habits within this particular elk management unit. That is, except for the portion of the unit that includes my backyard.:)

    I develop detailed range charts for each location, using camera images with notes all over them.

    I'll spend the summer and early fall doing wind studies. Did I mention my dislike for the wind?:rolleyes:

  3. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2009
    Doing the same as mentioned.I hunt alone at least 50%.But have been shooting with a bench guy some,he is real fast and accurate on follow up.He also has top end 80mm Ziess.I can see 6mm bullet hole in right conditions at 1000.If you have a spotter friend with great glass to help, that would be a great benefit.With years in field I have missed at distance and had the game move towards me more than once.I also hunt some long range where I hope other hunters push toward me threw saddles up high.
  4. Shawn Carlock

    Shawn Carlock Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2007
    There is no substitue for shooting in the loaction and getting the wind down. I do this as much as possible in the early summer. I pick locations like you talk about that are to difficult to be hunted or at least hunted with any positive effects (this usually means STEEP). I also like areas that suck so bad in terms of terrain that you have to ride a motorcycle then walk to get there because there is no way a quad will make it, then exploit the long range abilities. The true honey holes are the ones that cannot be hunted because of terrain by any means except LRH, but with easier access to the shooting location. These are few and far between but are out there. In canyon country a canyon that only allows a realistic shot of 800 yards as the closest is a good palce to start (provided your a 4 digit shooter). In my area there are brush jungles that are practically unhuntable on steep hillsides, these same jungles are relatively easy to shoot into from across the canyon as long as your abilities allow. These are the key points for me. Oh yea, and use a 338 Edge.:D
  5. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    There are a few places the elk hang out where I hunt that you simply can not get to them. You can watch them all day from across the canyon but coming in from above is not doable. If you come in from below they will be gone when you get there. It seems the wind currents are always in their favor. I took one bull a few years ago past 1100 yards there. The impact was off by about 1/2 moa due to my wind call but the bull fell dead and never took a step. But since then I have sent several bullet to that hillside in the off season to practice out to 1500. Thye dust balls off rocks are good indicators to what the wind is doing over there. My condidence is mush better today to take elk there. I feel I have a petty good grip on the wind that is in the huge canyon you shot across. I frequent a few of these places in the summer and send a few bullets. It is the best thing I know of to let you know if you are ready to take game there, or not. The close shots at most of these locations start at 1200. There are a few that go past a mile.

  6. mtnwrunner

    mtnwrunner Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2009
    I've got several areas here in central Idaho that are perfect for long range hunting---both for elk and deer (and a few wolves). You can see forever and have all the time in the world to set up. My issue is "mental." Now, let me explain that.
    I had a bull tag last year and went to one of my favorite and proven areas. Sure enough, here they come. About 80 head came through this draw and I waited and waited for the big one figuring he was in the herd somewhere. Lots of bulls but no shooters. All the elk went through this funnel and then a couple of minutes later, here comes the shooter and you could see his antlers in the sunlight and right off the bat, you knew he was a shooter. I knew roughly the range and ranged him again and he was at 900 yards. My brother was with me so I had a spotter and he kept ranging him as he was feeding. There was some wind and I kept worrying about it and just kept watching him feed---he was in no hurry and I had multiple times when he was broadside. The longest shot I have had up to this point on a game animal (bull elk) was 515 yards. I was shooting a 300 win mag and I had practiced all summer and I am capable of long range shooting.
    BUT, I just couldn't pull the trigger. I knew I could get closer and we just watched him feed down into a draw and he never came out the other side so I knew he was there somewhere. I ended up shooting him at 140 yards as I jumped him out of his bed. Go figure. So, it is still "mental" for me. After the hunt was over, I kept telling myself that I should have shot him at the 900 yards. It was a perfect setup but I just couldn't do it for whatever reason. One of these days, I'll engage......


    Attached Files:

  7. GonzoK34

    GonzoK34 Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2007
    You made the right choice. Shooting at distance will develop your confidence in time. Nice bull.
  8. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    good long range hunting locations are to a large degree created. and the off season is the time to do that. some (pruning) if necessary and a level spot to set up on are essential for accurate long shots.

    virtually all pa long rangers are bench shooters. many of us shoot from our knees off small portable benches. we sometimes stash small benches at remote locations we use frequently. they remain there from year to year. theres no doubt most of us shoot better from a bench. follow up shots will also be faster and more accurate.

    as mentioned marked photos or some type of note system works very well for ranges. sometimes there just isnt enough time to get ranges. familiarity with ranges can be the key to success at times like that. the oppurtunity could be gone by the time you even find it in your rangefinder. especially with an elevated heart beat.

    painted 5 gallon buckets with tight fitting lids will hold a few short pc. of 2x6 and sand bags. they will stay in good shape for years. weve been known to leave ammo in them also for the season. i know guys who have an old coffee pot at every location they hunt. some go so far as to burry a large pc of pvc pipe so they can stash their heavy rifle overnight.

    as with most things in life success usually involves more than luck.
    sometimes even more than luck and good shooting skills.
  9. shepardsonp

    shepardsonp Well-Known Member

    Jul 25, 2010
    Very similar story here! For years I was one of those 300 yard shooters and woudld sit on the canyon rim watch the shooters all the way across on the other side. After 17 years of trying to put the "sneak" on them and having less than good luck at getting close enough i decided to "re-tool" and come at it a different way. I was surfing YouTube and saw Shawn Carlock's 1,602 yard practice shot on a 12" disk. After that, i was on a mission and thousands of dollars later I am now quite confident out past 1,000.

    The best money i have ever spent was a basic and advanced LR Class taught by Shawn and Bob Carlock at Defensive Edge. I have been back every year since to take their Advanced Course just to keep the "Edge". I see a trip to Rathdrum, ID again next year as soon as the dates are posted.
  10. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    Here's some stuff regarding development of my Hide #1 spot. Ranges can be from 500 to a bit over 1400. Have developed/shot to the 1177 mark thus far. Odds are that the "opportunity will come @ around 650 or a bit over 1k. Maybe this year, the elk will favor me as this is my closest hide. #2 is only moderate distance, #3 is a right fur piece!

    Shooting the 270 Allen Magnum. 169.5 Richard Graves Wildcat RBBTs. Chrony says 3400 but Shooter says 3075 FPS MV and bc of 0.7. (I'd really like to know why I can't match chrono vel w/Shooter vel! Have never been able to do that with any of my rifles and bullets.

    Here's a range chart of drop validation distances.

    The Leica 1600 has no problem ranging any distance up to 1800+ yards at this spot. Early morning and late evening are best. That's when the range chart is updated.

    Wind is a bear. I was concentrating, this day, on who knows what, that I neglected to notice the severe wind difference from where I was to over on the other side. That is, until I got home and reviewed the vids on the computer, then it was the first thing I noticed. This fella is gonna have to score a bit more field experience:rolleyes:.

    200 yd zero:


    First distance: 669 yds

    Hit was a bit to the right of the white spot on the rock. Wind kicked my butt big time on this one.

    Second distance: 980 yds.

    Again wind call was wrong.

    Third distance: 1177 yds. Seem to have done a better job on windage.

    POI is the little white spot in the lower right quadrant of the shadow.

    Went up there this morning and validated drops again. This time with someone else doing the shooting.

    Less than a month and it's for real. The elk are bugling back behind the house. Why don't I just go there and shoot one?:rolleyes:
  11. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2003
    What a great spot, Roy! Good luck this fall! Jon
  12. joe0121

    joe0121 Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2010
    I don't understand why more hunters don't use Range cards like I used in Machine Gun Positions. They are easily adapted to long range hunting. Snipers use them to do the same basic task just we have four legged prey and not 2 legged prey. I am working on a format that prints on 11x17 Papers to put in a tree stand.

    Mext week I will be making one for my Father in Law for Deer season.