My first elk...5X5 @ 575 yds...6.5-284...w/Pics

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by SBruce, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Dont know how to start except at the beginning. For the last 4 or 5 years I've been buying an elk tag just in case I saw one during the season while hunting deer and antelope. They pass through our property but rarely stay long. Finally this year I happened to spot some on the 13th of October (Month and 1/2 after season opener). 7mm Sendaro had seen sign a week prior, but we had not seen the elk.

    All the paying hunters had left and I had a couple of hours before dark so I decided to take a drive and do some glassing from the roads and ridge tops. While driving, with the naked eye, I spotted one standing in the open over 1000 yds away. It was a cow and there were a few more cows and a bull back behind her. They were all looking at me and the wind was wrong for a stalk from that location.

    I was super excited at that point and it was all I could do to keep myself remotely calm and drive away....drove around the point, over the hill and out of site. Once the truck was out of site I hurriedly gathered my gear (almost forgot my drop chart!) and headed for a walk down the backside of a long ridge that quartered toward the elk. I hoped that the bottom of the ridgeline would put me within 600 or 700 yds of them. Every few hundred yards I peaked my head over the skyline to make sure they were still where I'd last seen them and they were, they had actually bedded down and were facing the point I was headed to.

    Seemed like it took forever, but I finally made it to the "crossroads" ......I had to make a decision. I could either drop down into a creekbed and trudge through the water and mud and hopefully get closer to them without being heard, or I could take the shot from where I was. I had gone as far as I could without exposing myself over the skyline and the range was 579 yds. Knowing that my equipment was plenty capable so long as I judged the wind correctly, I opted for the shot from the ridgeline. This would also allow me to keep the slight elevation advantage I had on them. There were 10 cows/calves and two bulls. I was going to take the bigger bull of the two.

    Drop Chart said I needed 20 clicks on the Huskemaw 5-20 Blue Diamond (dont have the yardage turrets yet) Wind was from 2 o'clock @ ~5 mph, so that meant a 1MOA wind hold. I belly crawled just enough to make sure I was "topped out" and there would be no sagebrush or grass in my line of fire. I laid prone on the bipod and used my rangefinder case as my rear bag, placing my fist between it and the rifle. I check the parallax and the level. I was ready to fire.

    The bull was still bedded, quartering toward me. I didn't want a tracking job this close to dark and I didn't want a gut shot to ruin any meat so I opted for the high shoulder/spine shot. My intentions were to anchor him right there on the spot. I squeezed off the shot and recovered from recoil in time to see his neck and head hit the ground through the scope. I jacked in another round just in case, but really thought he was down for the count. Kinda suprised me when about 5 seconds later he began thrashing his head around trying to get up. I could tell he was not going anywhere with that broken shoulder and spine, but rather than have him suffer, I put two more rounds into his lungs. Done Deal!

    As usuall, this is where the work starts and the fun tapers off. I knew that I had to get back to the truck and call in some help before it got too late. Hightailed it back up the ridge and made a phone call. Drove down to the bull with the pickup (needed lights by this point) and got the job underway.

    He's only a raghorn by most standards, but he's my first. I am happy.
     

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  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Just in case anyone wants to know, I was using the 140 Berger Hunting VLD.
    Rifle is one I bought from LRR off this site just over a year ago.

    Autopsy revealed that the first shot broke the high shoulder and severed the spinal cord. It continue out the other side and what was left of the jacket was lodged under the hide on the off side.

    2nd and 3rd shots were through the lungs but neither bullet exited the offside ribcage. They did pass through the interior of the body cavity fully.
     

  3. blackdog

    blackdog Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on a fine bull and a well executed hunt!!!

    I was out in your neck of the woods (well, not too many 'woods' around :D) last year chasing antelope and am really wish I could have made it out again this year. Great country!
     
  4. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    Great job!


    My elk hunt is next week in the Wyoming Range.
     
  5. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    Great Story and Great Shot! And as a bonus elk is good eating! :D

    Scot E.
     
  6. WhiteRiver

    WhiteRiver Well-Known Member

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    Nice writeup. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy those wapiti steaks!
     
  7. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    You were well prepared for it. Congratulations!
     
  8. yotehunter73

    yotehunter73 Active Member

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    Great Job Buddy! Glad to see all the years of tag soup come to an end! this whole long range thing has been an adventure. Thanks for all the coaching!
     
  9. Derek M.

    Derek M. Well-Known Member

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    SBruce, thanks for that story and pics! Hey, mind sharing details about the rifle and load? I have some test loads ready for my 6.5-284 and 140 Berger hunting VLD.
     
  10. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Shane - great stalk (kinda wish you had trudged through the mud though), nice shooting and great write up!
     
  11. digger11

    digger11 Well-Known Member

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    Great story,,,Thanks!!!
     
  12. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Very cool! We're seeing a lot of cool stories this year, great to see!
     
  13. 7mmSendaro

    7mmSendaro Well-Known Member

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    Congrats again Shane, wish we were there for the kill. Glad those tracks Jared and I found lead to something!
     
  14. jackem

    jackem Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the shot and thank you for the well written story.