MY life long friend recently went on his 1st elk hunt, and it was a ML hunt. He asked myself and another good mutual friend for advice and pointers on elk hunting. One thing I stressed was absolute proficiency with his ML especially since he had VERY LITTLE experience using a ML let alone hunting with one. When I found out how little he had actually shot his brand new recently purchased ML I literally cringed to myself. My first ever elk hunt was a ML hunt in NM and prior to this I had only fired a ML 1 or 2x's and I had virtually no real knowledge or experience with ML's. In preparation for that hunt I shot my new inline a Encore 209x50 at least 500 times and by the time that hunt rolled around I was exceptionally capable with my Encore. Well my friend got a chance, his one and only chance I might add at a really nice 6x6 and missed all 3 shots he took (at least I fervently hope he was right and missed) at the bull. I absolutely love shooting and save for time with my sons and wife, there is nothing I enjoy more than shooting my firearms and same for my bow. Prior to all of my firearm elk hunts I shoot at least 225-250 rounds in simulated field shooting conditions and doing so had served me very well indeed. I have been on 5 elk trips and taken 5 bulls, all were DIY hunts I might add. I always looked at it when it comes to the majority of the most important factors that impact your hunts success or failure, proficiency with your firearm is one of the VERY few you can actually control, and none are more important to your success. So while we are all busy getting ready for our 2017 deer/elk hunts, don't neglect your shooting skills or you could end up paying DEERly for it.