Experienced elk hunters

Rick Richard

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Jan 7, 2014
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3,238
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North Carolina
Here is another thing to consider: if you are hunting with a guide and wound an animal, your hunt is likely over. Some states require you to punch your tag if you draw blood (Alaska). You can chalk it up to the long range craze. It is one thing to take a long range shot on a DIY hunt, and another to take it on a hunt where you paid big bucks and will end it if you wound and lose an animal.
Sorry sir, but I don’t distinguish between the two. Money doesn’t play into my decision in taking an ethical shot.
 
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nevada
As I said earlier, Practice in all positions. If you can't hit a paper plate five out of five shots don't take the same shot in the field. This is called hunting not shooting.
 

Hand Skills

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Nov 1, 2017
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Canada
I get a chuckle out of the hard always/never generalizations. Its like some guys think their way is the only/best way.

I'm not as experienced as some of the fellows here, (I have only been hunting elk for twenty-odd years - hope I am able for 20 more!)

Throughout my journey, I've learned that Elk habitat is remarkably varried! I grew up hunting in the foothills of Alberta, then high country/headwaters. As forestry and mining demolished habitat, I started finding better success in the boreal forests. Up until recently, I believed that Elk only lived in TOUGH terrain. Success as a hunter has meant being able to adapt to the environment and most shots came from improvised positions. Then I moved to Saskatchewan a few years back and found Elk on the plains! Same game, entirely different hunt!

In the past, I've found practicing offhand to be the most helpful. Once comfortable unsupported, it's easy to integrate a stump or a tree or a branch to get steady. When stretching past 300yd, for me its best to have a front and a rear rest. I've found success on the plains sitting with shooting sticks up front and my pack under my armpit, or pack out front, bivvy sac in the back for prone, or modified prone (depending of terrain).

Looks like some need a reminder that Ethics are a taboo subject on this forum (it's in the rules).
 

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
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617
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Sandy, UT
I killed my first cow was from standing, off hand, running through an aspen flat at 135 steps. 2nd cow was from sitting, 200yds on the flat. 3rd was standing/supported, 250yds up a 70 deg ridge. I hate running shots, but can take them if I just have to. I carry hot. Any weapon on me, is carried hot. Always, but unloaded in the truck, or if crossing a fence, climbing a tree stand, etc. I also leave it "hot" after the critter is down and I'm field dressing/taking pictures, etc. I never understood "unloading" a weapon just because an animal is down. Just my opinion as I know many who do. OK by me, I just do what 'I do". I will also had I've never shot myself or anyone else. :)
 

Dr. Vette

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Dec 30, 2009
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Holland, MI
Sitting (leaning on knee) at 31 yards, prone on backpack at 450 yards, leaning on a tree at 187 yards, and using shooting sticks while kneeling/sitting at 300 yards.
Those are the positions for my 4 so far.
 

Archer357

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May 21, 2020
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Location
Missouri
Thank you everyone for the great replies. I know I have lots of practicing to do from different positions to be ready for an opportunity.
 

ATH

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Oct 7, 2003
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1,235
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Lizton, IN
Both my rifle elk were prone off a bipod, but from very different setups. Neither typical range experience, shooting sharply uphill. Both 600 plus yards. That said I’ve been in a couple situations a shot might have happened if the animal had been different much closer, would have been offhand under 100 with the same rifle.

practice everything. Then you will be ready.
 

RevJim

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Dec 25, 2014
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617
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Sandy, UT
Some of the best practice I have done, and can heartily recommend is to use a similar style .22 (either LR or 22 Mag) scoped, zeroed like your BG rifle, must have a good trigger though.( It doesn;t have to be heavy, just a bolt gun if your BG rifle is a bolt gun, etc) I use an old Marlin 783 22 Mag. 3x9 1 inch scope for instance.
Take it and your BG rifle ( assuming you have settled on a load, sighted it in like you want) Every week or so, starting out put up a 8 inch "Shoot n See" at the 100yd range) , shoot 100 rds of your rimfire, all from hunting positions, not the bench. Rest often, take your time but really concentrate, don't "plink". last, shoot 20rds of your BG rifle, all in hunting positions, but not bench rested. Do this until you feel more confident....then go to a "six inch" Shoot N See. When almost all your shots stay in the 6 inch....then you can take some shots that others will "hesitate on"...and miss their opportunity. It works, I've done this for decades, even as a teen ( even though I bought my own first 30-30 and its ammo, it was "understood" you only shot it to "see if your sights are still on" then hunting. All practice was with a .22 or .22 Magnum. We also shot thousands of snakes, turtles, varmints and small game, all with our rimfires. Iron sights. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. My dad always said the "best target is the smallest one you can still see". He was something else! ha
Teaching a youngster ( or first time hunter even) to shoot like this, and to shoot small game, including prairie dogs, squeaks, or the like will help them become a "game shot" I call it. They don't stand still is the object. One has to find the game, get into position and shoot " by taking your time in a hurry". I used this experience in the Military. I was beat by 1 point for a coveted "sniper program" right out of Boot Camp. Only one slot, no Second Place Winners, ha.
 
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memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
Messages
1,234
Location
Winchester, Wy.
A very good suggestion Jim! Many years ago we bought a pair of Ruger 77/22 rifles, in an attempt to have “practice rifles” closely replicating our hunting rifles. The weights are similar, and have the “wing style” safeties. I cut the stock on my wife’s rifle to same LOP, as her hunting rifle! I installed aftermarket triggers adjusted to similar pull-weight as our hunting rifles, both guns had Pachmyar Decelerator pads installed. Much cheaper to shoot, with “SUBSTANTIALLY” less recoil! ;) memtb
 

remingtonman_25_06

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Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
2,263
Location
Hermiston, Oregon
90% of our elk are shot either prone with bipod or from shooting sticks. Our party has killed around 100 elk in 10 years on public land, with the majority from 300-800 yards across canyon.
 
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Hoss50

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Apr 7, 2019
Messages
236
Location
Arizona
Prone off of a bipod, prone off a downed tree, kneeling off a rest, and standing offhand at about 40 yards.

Prone is the go to when possible.
 

dogz

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Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
244
Location
SWMT
Some of the best practice I have done, and can heartily recommend is to use a similar style .22 (either LR or 22 Mag) scoped, zeroed like your BG rifle, must have a good trigger though.( It doesn;t have to be heavy, just a bolt gun if your BG rifle is a bolt gun, etc) I use an old Marlin 783 22 Mag. 3x9 1 inch scope for instance.
Take it and your BG rifle ( assuming you have settled on a load, sighted it in like you want) Every week or so, starting out put up a 8 inch "Shoot n See" at the 100yd range) , shoot 100 rds of your rimfire, all from hunting positions, not the bench. Rest often, take your time but really concentrate, don't "plink". last, shoot 20rds of your BG rifle, all in hunting positions, but not bench rested. Do this until you feel more confident....then go to a "six inch" Shoot N See. When almost all your shots stay in the 6 inch....then you can take some shots that others will "hesitate on"...and miss their opportunity. It works, I've done this for decades, even as a teen ( even though I bought my own first 30-30 and its ammo, it was "understood" you only shot it to "see if your sights are still on" then hunting. All practice was with a .22 or .22 Magnum. We also shot thousands of snakes, turtles, varmints and small game, all with our rimfires. Iron sights. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. My dad always said the "best target is the smallest one you can still see". He was something else! ha
Teaching a youngster ( or first time hunter even) to shoot like this, and to shoot small game, including prairie dogs, squeaks, or the like will help them become a "game shot" I call it. They don't stand still is the object. One has to find the game, get into position and shoot " by taking your time in a hurry". I used this experience in the Military. I was beat by 1 point for a coveted "sniper program" right out of Boot Camp. Only one slot, no Second Place Winners, ha.

Most excellent thoughts Rev

I really enjoy shooting 1" target dots @ 50 yards with my 77/22. It has an old K4 on it with a dot and it works perfectly. I do it all offhand, with my first clip shooting right handed then I go to my left side and shoot lefty. This is good practice for me, inexpensive and easy to do. Plus I don't have to load a bunch of ammo which I enjoy less and less every year. For 100 yard work I use a 6" paper plate and my 17 HMR.

Works for me and really tunes me up
 

dogz

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Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
244
Location
SWMT
I’m Heading out to Colorado 3rd rifle season. In what shooting position have you taken most of your shots at. Off back pack, shooting sticks, sitting or prone. I plan to practice all I can in different positions. Trying to get a feel for what I’m going into. Thanks to all fir your help.

Over the last 42 years of elk hunting in the country I hunt, I'd say that 90% of them taken by myself or the guys I hunt with have been off a day pack or off a bipod.

Some of the late November country I hunt is in steep and nasty dark timber country so that's take the shot as you can get them. Anything from offhand to leaning against a tree.
 

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