Getting Ready To Head Out To Wyoming For The Opener Of Elk Season


Well-Known Member
Jul 10, 2001
Boy, I'm having trouble sleeping lately. Getting ready for the opener of elk in Wyoming. I've never hunted elk before. I'm taking my 50 bmg with a 338 Lapua for backup. My guide is very excited about the 50 bmg. He says I'm the first long range hunter he's ever had. Man, I've been getting stuff ready/packing for the past two weeks now. Hey, maybe somebody here can tell me how many quarts of cooler do I need to carry a butchered and wrapped elk. I've got four 48 quart coolers. Do you think that's enough? Can hardly wait!

Good luck on your elk hunt. I hope you shoot a 450 B&C way out there and drop it with one shot. Come back safe and sound.

As to the cooler question, I am pondering that one myself as I leave the 7th of Oct for my first elk hunt, in Colorado.

I am using my 7mm mag and 120gr GS Custom HV bullets. My secondary rifle will be my 300 win mag and 180gr Ballistic Tips. I shoot off a bench while hunting cause I shake so bad. I am driving out so I can take my bench, front rest, rear bag and all my other gear.

Have a good hunt,

Cooler question - Figure on 200 pounds of meat when it is all butchered and wrapped although if you kill a monster it could be more. This may not answer your question, but it can depend on how it is butchered and wrapped too. If you figure it based on just being boned out and put in before frozen you should certainly be able to fit an elk in four 48 quart coolers.
I come up with 200 pounds based on the average hind quarter of a 2 1/2 yr old bull is 70 pounds fronts boned out give 60-90 pounds. After processing a lot of fat and gristle will go away and I think you would end up with about 200 pounds.
Another consideration is your cape. It will take a cooler for it if you decide that trophy is worth mounting and you decide to have it done locally.
Good luck, it looks like a banner year in Colorado. Too bad I am done with elk already because I wish I was out there again.

DO NOT use Balistic tips for Elk.. I have seen way to many Elk run and never be found using BT's use a scirroco or BTSP in 180... I won't even take a guy hunting for Elk with BT's...

just a little advice from a guy who has seen way to many wounded Elk from Nosler BT's
I'll second WyoWhisper's comments regarding the Nosler Ballistic Tips and elk.

Go with a premium even for your backup.


Shaky, I too will third WyoWhisper's opinion. Also 120gr bullets seems awfully light for elk. I think, that a full-grown trophy bull elk will go about 1200-1300 lbs (somebody correct me if this is wrong). And 120gr bullet just won't do it. I don't even think I'd use a 120gr bullets on antelope. I'm sure you want a humane, quick kill. My guide tells me the minimium he allows his hunters to use on elk is a 338 Win Mag with 225gr rounds. Personally, I'll be using a HSM 750gr bore rider HP going at 2700 fps. In my Lapua I'll use a 200gr J36 going at 3280. Both of those should do the job. Hey Shaky, also how do you carry all the bench, rest, rear bag and other stuff with you on the hung?

QuietHunter - Thanks for he info on the coolers. I also hope to put an antelope in their too. I never thought about the cape question. I guess that IF I do get a monster, I'll just take it to whoever my guide recommends.
Antelope are VERY small animals. I put a doe into a cooler once after it had only been skinned with the head off.
In my opinion though antelope meat is about the best you can get - close tie with bighorn sheep. Only problem with antelope meat is there is not enough of it. I ought to move to Wyoming where they have nuisance status so I can hunt them more often!
Elk on the hoof weigh about 600 - 800 lbs on average....

120 gr is light but it can be done with a skilled marksman.
I like to see min. 150 gr bullets.. I prefer 168 - 220 ....

the key to the Elk game is penetration with energy.. yo ucan do it with 140 gr bullets and up....

Antelope can be taken with 100 gr bullets... again placement is the key !!!!
I have them loaded just waiting for the opportunity to use them.
Many of my friends out here have used them successfully ... I was a witness to 2 personally and have seen about a 1/2 a dozen more.
Hello All

My friends and I have used nothing but Match Kings on 15 or more elk in Colorado. Never lost any to date and they die very quick.
All were shot with 30 cal 200 and 220 gr MKs and 338 300 gr MKs

I certainly wouldn't use a Ballistic tip though and not a bullet weight of only 120 grs. Hit a shoulder and that elk will be in the next county and still running.

I agree with Ric (Wyo) 100%


[ 09-29-2002: Message edited by: Darryl Cassel ]
Well I just got back and no elk. My outfitte and guide did a very good job of everything except I'm not sure that my guide really knew how to hunt elk. Perhaps some of the more experienced elk hunters here can put in their two cents worth. My guide was pretty much a horseman. His idea of how to hunt elk was just to ride around until you bumped into them. The first day, our camp was at ten thousand feet, it was pretty foggy out, yet my guide wanted to take me up to a pass where believe it or not, we couldn't see anything. So that shot day one.

The second day was clearer and we came over a pass and say a group of elk about a mile away. My guide was completely stumped as to how to approach them as he said that we couldn't just ride the horses down as the elk would see us. After a long pause, I suggested that perhaps if I started out on foot, I could use the available terrain to stalk the elk. He thought that that was a pretty good idea so I started my stalk. Halfway to the elk I surprised another group of elk and got a quick, difficult shot which I missed. While I was checking to see if I hit the elk or not, my guide, sitting on his horse, tried to signal me by shooting his pistol in the air. His horse subsequently spooked, threw him, and dragged him for some distanced across rocky terrain. When I got back from searching for my missed elk, he had no horses and we had to hike back to camp, about 10-12 miles. The end of day two.

The next day my guide was too beat-up from being dragged to hunt.

The following day we went back up to where we initially saw the elk, but saw nothing.

The last day it was snowing, yet my guide insisted on talking me up to that high pass again, where believe it or not, we saw nothing again, because of the snow storm.

So in about a six day hunt, I only got about two days of real hunting. I've never hunted elk before, but, it seems to me that if you have fog or snow, that going up in altitutde into the worsening weather is not a real smart thing to do. My guide, although a very nice person, really didn't know how to stalk or find elk. He seemed perplexed about when the elk "would come down". Other then just ride the horses around until you bumped into them, he really didn't know any other technique to hunting and finding elk. So was this a reasonable way to hunt elk?? Or is there a better way to approach it. I've heard of some people who hunt well by walking. They have horse support for the camp and packing out the elk carcass.

So tell me, was this a reasonable hunt, or was I with someone who perhaps wasn't fully versed in all aspects of hunting elk?
Been there once, the guide spent more time hunting for a place to hunt than hunting for game. Very frustrating. I could see places we should have sat on and glassed and we rode right past, to nuthin. Some of those guys are cowboys, not big game guides or even hunters.
That is not a guided hunt as it should have been. Waste of expensive time.
Hope you have some good memories of the mountains and other aspects of the trip. I could tell you some stories that would make your hunt sound like a good one. People get hurt from such incompetence.
Just my thoughts on a tender subject. Wyo, no offence, but it is a fact of life.
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