Discussion in 'misc hunting and range related' started by grumpyvette, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    ABOUT 20%-25% of the hunters kill about 70%-%80 of the elk, the reason is that it takes both experience and some skill to be an effective elk hunter and that it takes time and research to get good at those skills and learn about the game and its habits and anatomy, and if your really wanting to be successful you really need to be in good physical shape to increase the odds you can cover enough territory, every day to be in the right place at the right time to harvest a decent elk,
    elk country generally requires you cover and glass a great deal of area, to locate your target, and unlike white tail deer, your chances of sitting in a tree stand in the correct time frame, at the correct place is far less likely.
    simply because most elk range over many miles of range not hundreds of yards and they may take weeks, or months to travel back through one specific drainage or stand of timber.
    use topo maps to locate potential natural choke points, logging road access and camp sites.
    being in good physical condition is almost mandatory, most of us think we are but if your not familiar with hunting at 5000-10000 ft altitude you might be rather surprised at the difference, it makes.
    bring a good set of binoculars and good comfortable boots with good grip tread soles.
    have a decent pack, temps can change from below freezing to 70F in a days time, having a GPS helps
    drink plenty of liquids and have a few aspirin, or aleve and excedrin etc. , youll need them
    bringing a side arm, like a 44 mag or 454 cassul, is generally not mandatory, but you might prefer too pack out elk meat, with a side arm, once you have dropped one elk, , with a side arm vs a rifle as a 60-80 lb pack is plenty to manage while packing out of steep canyons.
    after dozens of elk hunts in Colorado and Wyoming, I learned you can,t assume you can wonder around a particular area that may look good or one conveniently located close to where your camped,
    Successfully looking to find elk, requires, you to cover a good deal of topography and have a decent understanding of what the elk need and are looking to avoid.
    it also helps if you have a good understanding of the natural terrain choke points, preferred browse/feed, cover, escape,routes,, bedding areas, water access.etc.
    generally most guys won,t get more than a mile off logging road access simply because its too hard to retrieve a downed elk and pack it out where no motor vehicle access is allowed.
    you can also find real honey spots if you hunt areas that require you wade creeks or climb or descend into canyons,
    I can,t begin to tell you how many times I hunted canyons and had new guys after 1- or- 2 days sit out the rest of the trip hunting near camp rather than climb in and out of canyon country,
    as a consequence, I generally learn to pack fairly light, I'm prepared to spend the night if its required and I rarely see other hunters after opening day, in the rather remote canyon country.

    theres millions of words wasted on the best rifle to use, Ive seen everything from a 257 roberts with 100 grain bullets to a 458 Lott used successfully , personally Id suggest a 270 win as minimum, and nothing over a 375 H&H is required, but select top quality optics (binocular and rifle scope) and learn how to shoot accurately from field positions.




    bringing a side arm like a 44 mag or 454 revolver is generally not mandatory, but you might prefer to pack out elk meat, once you have dropped on, with a side arm vs a rifle,
    as a 60-80 lb pack is plenty to manage while packing out of steep canyons

    EASY access to an area, and easily driven roads into any area, almost insures that there will be very few decent trophy elk, so you need to be willing to get into less easily accessed areas..

    obviously having top quality comfortable boots and an accurate rifle and scope combo will increase your odds of success.
    theres several threads on this web-site concerning selecting a good rifle and scope. but you certainly won,t go wrong with an accurate rifle in caliber 30/06-to-340 weatherby and a 2 x 7- to- 4 x 12 scope, that you've spend months practicing with, shooting from field positions.
    Purchase detail topo maps of the area you intend to hunt, if available get current satellite photos , and take the time to call the local game warden and biologists.

    http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyre ... fleElk.pdf


    http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/Elk ... rsity.aspx


    http://seekoutside.com/diy-elk-more-tha ... n-fitness/



    now in no particular order, a few things that get overlooked OR IGNORED that YOU DO NEED TO BE AWARE OF if you intend to be successful!
    don,t get locked into a single location year after year, yes that white tail mentality is a bit hard to deal with at first. many guys seem to think that they can simply find a good overlook point and wait for stupid elk to wander by. while that approach does occasionally work, its not very productive, year after year, as a hunt method, because elk don,t usually limit themselves to a single canyon or drainage year round and travel routes change radically when hunt pressure increases.
    your far more productive in my experience if you locate the herd glassing from good look-out points or have prior experience in an area to know where escape routes and bedding areas , water supplies and good cover are located,before you start hunting every day and then look over the area and plan your approach accordingly.
    A lot of guys have talked about not being very successful the first few years,of their hunting and then having pretty good success once they got dialed in. I would guess that the success in the later years as the hunters experience has increased has as much (if not more) to do with knowing how to do the required research before you start out on a hunt, to both use the correct equipment, and finding and hunting the right or more productive places to hunt as it does in how you hunt, after all the best hunter will have poor results in an area with very few elk but if your constantly being offered the opportunity to shoot elk at closer ranges , and your very effective with the equipment you select to use,your success rate is bound to increase.
    you'll need a good hat to keep the sun out of your eyes,
    I've found that the canvas aussie style works rather well.



    Ive always been rather amazed at the number of hunters I see that don,t carry ,
    a decent quality binocular
    , that are high quality enough that you can pick out small detail clearly at a hundred yards yet small and light enough that they are not left in camp as a P.I.T.A. and extra weight,
    and don,t wear a hat without a brim that shades their eyes.
    both pieces of equipment noticeably increase your ability to spot game.
    a decent down vest and polar fleece hoodie under a parka sure helps on sub zero mornings
    comfortable insulated boots with good ankle support and an agreasive tread are nearly mandatory
    the sharade woodsman
    http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expan ... e=SCH165OT


    this is a darn good value in a skinning and dressing game knife

    http://www.survival-gear-guide.com/schr ... inued.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Schrade-Timer-Sha ... B000IE3ZKA


    now if your looking for a dirt cheap knife of above average quality for its price both of the knives above do a decent job, Ive used both for many years and while each has its good/bad features both are very handy, I prefer the woodsman by a slim margin as its a bit more useful in my opinion , but either will dress out deer or elk quite effectively
    when combined with an ez-lap pocket diamond hone

    Ive found this Kukri far more useful than a hatchet, for various

    a quality long waist down vest sure comes in handy as it stores in little space and on cold mornings its sure great.
    good comfortable boots with agreasive non slip soles help
    Youll need SMALL LIGHT WEIGHT 7X-10X binos almost constantly and POSSIBLY a spotting scope depending on your plans and hunt style
    you need to locate the game and food & water sources and recognize the factors that effect game movement.
    "good spots" are good spots for a REASON, theres usually topographical features that tend to limit movement in the surrounding area to increase traffic in your area, or ,lower hunting pressure in that area, making it tend to have a higher traffic,as game moves thru, or theres something like food or water that DRAWS the game to, or thru that area.
    spots can be good for decades or only for a couple days, due to changing conditions, and game populations. change the area with construction,roads, clear-cuts, recent fires, new food sources etc. and the GOOD SPOTS change,and ELK and at times DEER travel in and cover a huge area, look at it this way, if you were hunting MAIL CARRIERS with a camera,rather than ELK,with a rifle, standing next to a mail box might prove successful but standing in a post office parking lot , at the correct times,would tend to increase your odds of success.
    but if the post office closed that would no longer be nearly as productive a spot.
    why not call the local game department biologist and ask a few questions then the local game warden, for his input,
    about the area that you intend to hunt before making a decision, I found that generally helps improve your success rate a bit.
    i generally hunt the area north or south, of gypsum meeker, or eagle Colorado the officers are generally willing to talk with you if your polite, brief and have specific detailed questions

    first it makes no sense at all to be wasting time hunting ELK where they are FEW and where theres little chance of seeing one!
    DO THE HOMEWORK, talk to the biologists, wardens,ranchers,ETC.
    while they can,t tell you exactly where the herd is they can usually point to areas they are not currently using!
    don,t ignore the low elevations , if theres good water and cover elk can and do go into rolling hills and even creek bottoms at times.
    yet year after year I see guys hunt, the whole season,in the same drainage from the same camp site, simply because they occasionally see ELK SIGN,thats the real difference between your average ELK HUNTER who year after year makes camp in the same area and hunts within a couple miles of that spot year after year ...while many are successful ........the better elk hunters locate and follow the herds DAILY, moving with the ELK , as required.
    Ive always said,
    think like a wolf, send out scouts, locate the herd, get your buddies together with a plan and approach the herd from, and cover as many likely escape routes at the same time as you can.
    ELK cover a VAST area, you NEED to locate the herds, and hunt the areas the herd is CURRENTLY IN THAT DAY!!! to be successful on a regular basis
    you need to move camp, to follow the herds

    locate the water and food sources, especially in dry areas as this tends to hold the herds to some extent at least during part of the day
    t any rate, I offer this as a suggestion to those that aren't seeing elk where they are hunting: go where the elk are, don,t waste time hunting areas where your not seeing elk, move constantly until you are seeing elk.

    locate natural travel restrictions, like rivers,canyons,highways, high fence lines, sadles on ridges, steep cliffs,ETC. while they may not stop elk they tend to route the herds

    I get it every trip,I drive out a few days early knowing it takes time for the body to adjust,constantly drinking lots of water, Gatorade ,take an aspirin every 4 hours and staying where its warm during the first two-to-three days tends to help a good deal, so I usually stay at a motel or a friends home during the 3 days before the season
    symptoms generally include killer migraine headache, sinus hurt and you feel like you've got the flu, but it passes, and if you know what to expect and basically rest the first 3 days you'll adjust.
    yeah! IM that obsessed with hunting ELK!

    carry lots of water and aspirin, Excedrin etc. as altitude sickness is common and a real P.I.T.A.,having several ROLAIDS and ASPIRIN along with a constant supply of fresh water even when your not feeling thirsty helps relieve the problem, I get sick as can be with bad my-grain style headaches from altitude sickness the first or second or sometimes both days, of each hunt, it helps to take several aspirin and ibuprofen and drink hot tea,(not beer or coffee)and not do much thats stressful for the first 24-36 hours ,talk to your physician about other prescription medications (nifedipine, frusemide and acetazolamide) that can combat the onset and symptoms of altitude sickness, and have those with you.
    that 24-36 hours acclimation time requires you get to where youll hunt a few days prior to opening day,obviously,and spend a couple days at a medium altitude like 5K-6K before going higher,If your in a hotel/motel, hot showers help as they tend to reduce blood pressure slightly, which is a minor help, youll generally feel ok after 36-48 hours if you don,t push hard and try to sleep several thousand feet lower than you hunt, it helps


    http://www.bing.com/health/article/natu ... e+sickness
    head aches , nausea ,are real and common youll feel like crap for the first 24-36 hours, you likely to have a killer headache, but drink lots of liquids and take pain killers and it slowly passes so don,t let it end your hunt, don,t let altitude sickness ruin your hunt, its a problem for almost all new hunters that don,t live at similar altitudes,symptoms are a killer head ache and nausea, that usually takes 8-12 hours to start after moving to higher altitude and it can last 12-48 hours making life miserable , its cure is drinking lots of liquids like gator aid and water and taking aspirin and Excedrin and resting while your body adapts , if possible spend the first couple nights at a slightly lower altitude, example where I normally hunt the altitude is about 8K-11K , if I spend a couple nights in a motel at lets say 5K-7K it tends to REDUCE but not eliminate the problem and DON,T GET STUPID and push yourself hard at those altitudes, just find a decent place to sit and watch a narrow canyon, or a natural travel choke point and glass the area if you feel out of breath or overly tired, once your in a good area,many guys find that sitting and glassing every 15-30 minutes for an hour or so,is more effective than constantly still hunting because its hard to carefully inspect an area if your having a difficult time just breathing and your exhausted

    WATCH THE WIND, and stay out of prime bedding areas or youll be likely to push the herd out of your immediate area.

    don,t push the cows, while a bull may circle, spook a cow badly and she may travel to the next drainage

    don,t call unless you can really sound reasonably like an ELK bad calling HURTS not helps, you need to practice useing real elk on tapes to get both the sound and cadence correct

    the HUNTING PARTNERS you choose can go a long way towards making or breaking a hunt!
    make very sure ALL the details of who pays what, or who is responsible for what, is firmly set before the hunt,and its almost always better to have a small group than one new guy on an out of state hunt! while its best to check out new guys on short local hunts first , that's not always an option. but it makes little sense to cancel a hunt early you've waited all year for and spent big bucks on, so choose your partners with great care!

    glass constantly,travel light,be prepared to move as needed!,and DON,T expect to see much from the roads! you NEED to put in some effort and get AWAY from the easy access areas to increase your chances.
    if your archery hunting youll usually have the advantage of fewer hunters as competition and you might even have the RUT and be able to call ELK, but even when you DON,T carry and use a COW CALL, it can allow you to get in closer in many cases

    your clothes should be BOTH quite and warm, dull in color at a minimum and hopefully in a camo that matches the area your hunting.FLEECE camo is a PLUS in most cases
    boots that fit, and have good ankle support are extremely important.

    nothing that flashes, reflects light, clinks,creaks, rattles,squeaks,smells.or crinkles needs or should be with you, keep in the shadows and don,t expose yourself on ridge tops
    make 100% sure your back-pack won,t squeak, groan or break when heavily loaded

    take the time to practice EXTENSIVELY with your weapon of choice!
    if you can,t make the first shot count, you probably are NOT going to be successfull on a regular basis

    get closer than 350 yards from the game,where range estimates are easier
    and use 200-250 grain speeror hornady bullets and place your shots precisely, practice and use a lazer range finder, and that blood trailing will stop being a problem:D

    http://www.dundeesportsmansclub.com/Dundee Pic/elkshotplacement.pdf

    learn to use TOPO MAPS
    they can give you a good deal of info if you understand both the ELK and human nature
    as an example
    if you look over an area and one area is rolling hills with roads and camp grounds every few miles while the other area is steep cliffs,thick timbered slopes and no road access, you can be reasonably sure that after opening day, the ELK will retreat to the more distant areas andand less accessable areas and that the areas nearer the roads will soon appear as a PUMPKIN PATCH of orange jackets, with few ELK, sure a few ELK will be shot durring the herds movement, but the better hunters will take advantage of both the movement and the remote areas potential.
    use topo maps and GLASS constantly, ELK DON,T like BUZY areas and ROAD TRAFFIC look for areas that won,t have a lot of people simply because they are more difficult to reach easily
    generally NORTH and EAST facing slopes and thick timber will be where ELK hang out rather than the more open and less timbered south and west facing slopes

    no matter what physical shape you THINK your in...EXERCISE MORE OFTEN, it WILL help! trust me! constant walking at 7000-11000 ft of altitude common to ELK hunts, ESPECIALLY with a HEAVY backpack is a TOTALLY different deal than it seems to be at lower altitudes,
    drink plenty of liquids and take things easy the first few days

    standard cold weather rifle prep requires degrease the bolt and trigger mechanisms and a light coat of graphite lube





    never shoot an ELK unless you have both the ability and skill/tools/manpower to get that ELK out of the area and processed in a reasonable time frame and without wasting the meat




    heres a quick memory jog list, for hunt day pack
    (remember you might be forced to stay out over night, & weather is unpredictable)
    skinning knife
    compact blade sharpener
    area topo maps
    cell phone
    several lighters
    several mil surplus trioxane heat tabs
    granola bars
    rain poncho
    2 gallon zip lock bags
    small block & tackle hoist & rope(50 ft parachute cord)
    spare ammo
    heavy hoodie jacket
    large plastic tarp
    lip chapstick
    water purification tablets, or filter/pump
    down vest
    pack of wetnaps
    toilet paper
    emergency food
    on your belt
    large knife or light tomahawk, or kukuri
    the cold steel (TRAIL MASTER, or ( KUKRI) are good choices

    anything that could get screwed up if you fall in a creek like medicine, licences, cell phones etc. gets double zip loc bagged
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2019 at 5:21 PM
  2. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    a couple items Ive found are MANDATORY are a good hat with a brim to shade your eyes

    a decent knife thats small and sharp enough to dress game
    and a second one large enough for cutting firewood or a small tomahawk.
    a sleeping bag that will keep you warm below -10F,
    a thick insulated sleeping pad and a plastic tarp to insulate both from ground moisture, and a water proof poncho that won,t stiffen up badly at 0-30F
    good boots with a decent cleat sole,and insulation
    a good fleece light weigh jacket to wear under your parka
    wool socks, and a good light but easy to compress ,bulky pull over sweater to wear under the light jacket
    several bic lighters
    a cell phone comes in handy at times

    There's the old saying that 75% of the elk live in 25% of the habitat. I think there's a lot of truth in that. ,you'll generally do lots of scouting trying to figure out where that 25% is each year.
    I can assure you from personal experience that you'll see few decent antlered elk any place that has easy road access.

    with experience you can sit 8 states away and use a table full of clear satellite photos, detailed topo maps that shows the creeks,camp sites, trails and logging road access and in most cases make up a useful strategy.
    a couple phone calls to the local game biologist and having access to property line maps and fence lines sure won,t hurt either.

    obviously knowing the area and having hunted it in the past helps , but you can be reasonably sure if the topo maps lines are close together indicating steep terrain, wide creeks, that must be crossed to gain access limited road access for vehicles, near the area or more than a mile of rough ridges or timber that hunt pressure will be generally fairly light.
    now look for natural choke points like cliff faces, narrow canyons and rivers that block easy travel and if you think about it you'll see opportunity where game will tend to concentrate as it tries to exit the more easily accessed areas.look for broken patches of timber, water, like small creeks, and broken cover , aspen and conifer not wide open meadows

    http://www.biggamehunt.net/articles/non ... rn-hunting

    http://www.publiclandforthepoorman.com/ ... -Pics.html

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templ ... 472932193a

    read this thread also
    http://monstermuleys.hunterstrailhead.c ... .php?ST=CO
    Ive hunted all the areas marked with green dots at least once during either archery or rifle seasons over the last 42 years , many areas over and over successfully.
    most of those areas hold decent elk populations IF your willing to get into hard to access canyons away from roads
    but given a choice I prefer 24,25,26,35,36,44,444, as most contain areas with limited access that get less hunt pressure
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2018
  3. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Re: ELK HUNTING TIPS, hunting dark timber

    Id just got off the phone with an old friend, we talked about his last years ELK hunt.
    for many years hes used outfitters and about 90% of his ELK have been shot at under 200 yards with his 7mm mag that Ive hand loaded for with 175 grain Hornady bullets for over 30 years now.
    moneys been really tight lately so on my suggestion he arranged a hunt where he and a friend would live out of a pickup truck camper and hunt an area Ive hunted for many years.
    the areas mostly steep slopes and heavy timber, narrow canyons and few roads, so its avoided by many guys that don,t understand its potential.
    he parked his truck at the gated end of a service access road and set up camp, much to his surprise he saw few other hunters during a full week of hunting and a good deal of fresh elk sign.
    the area is crossed with numerous steep sided narrow canyons making the process or retrieving a downed elk rather difficult and its not horse friendly either,
    I loaned him a marlin lever gun,in 45/70 loaded with 405 grain bullets pushed to 1800fps, he was very skeptical, as to its practicality until he used it, now hes trying to buy it.
    I told him about the area and explained thermals (air movement and scent transmission) and how elk like to bed on the terraces and benches in roughly oval group arrangements so the group has sentries looking for intruders, and how the ELK tend to bed down and while very difficult to approach , are not completely impossible to sneak into the group if you move slowly, use the thermals to your advantage and use cover and camo correctly.
    we had many detailed discussions before the hunting trip.
    after opening day he saw lots of cow elk, but no shoot able bulls, until he remembered what we discussed about locating the area they currently were in thru glassing rather than wasting time stalking thru currently vacant areas, as elk herds cover a vast area, but only occupy choice areas, and looking for creaks and good feed and cover areas and knowing how to recognize them helps
    the result was he said he felt like an idiot sneaking around in full camo in thick timber but he kicked up several ELK over a 7 day hunt and filled his tag eventually, and said after he had tried hunting the dark timber, that it was FAR more rewarding and fun than having an outfitter point out an elk walking thru scrub oak and just shooting it! he felt he had EARNED his ELK and BTW he dropped his nice average 4x5 bull at about 65 yards, faster with that 45/70 than he had ever done with his 7mm mag, and when I ask him if he felt under gunned or at a disadvantage, with the lever gun, he said he had constantly worried about needing to take long shots, but in the 7 days he hunted he had rarely even be able to see further than 140 yards, so he eventually came to appreciate the carbines short length and ease of handling, and after he shot an elk dead in the throat that was staring at him, and it dropped on the spot he was totally impressed!
    In 43 years of elk/mule deer hunting Ive NEVER come back without having the opportunity to get game, but as I got older and wiser, I think thru the consequences of dropping some elk at times, Ive failed to fill my personal elk tag for various reasons on 11 trips.
    some years I failed to find anything I felt was worth hauling out of some deep canyon, and experience doing so in past years made me reluctant to spend several days doing that for a less than impressive elk 4 miles from camp, and several thousand feet down in some steep canyon. some years I was much more concerned with helping my sons connect on an elk, on other hunts,weather conditions or health issues of various members in the hunt party, made shooting an elk personally ,and the work retrieving one, with several other tags in camp already filled, seem like more work than I wanted to go thru unless I saw something exceptional.
    and a couple years I was happy with getting a decent mule deer.

    the above is good advice, once you put a good scare into a group they will temporarily vacate the area,
    and may not be back for weeks, but other groups bounced out of other areas may relocate there. Id also suggest you grab topo maps of the area,
    and find the potentially nearest hunter access and camping locations ,
    finding elk near those is going to be a fools errand.
    Once your hunting Ive found having several friends slowly still hunt the same canyon,
    entering at similar times but widely dispersed access point and concentrating on the easy exit points from that canyon typically ups our odds as a group.

    look over the map and find the least easily accessed areas of dark timber with springs , terraced meadows, rim rock cliff faces, and steep terrain blocking easy access,
    if you can locate a side canyon off a larger canyon that will require a long walk or wading across a stream to gain access thats almost a sign flashing ,
    elk don,t vanish from the face of the planet during hunting season, but they are generally smart enough to avoid areas with easy road access,
    and look for dark timber in the more remote areas, with water and grass and cover,as far from road access as they can get, but its not distance, a very steep slope
    or a deep and wide creek that forms a barrier to travel provides security, that few hunters will challenge.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2018
  4. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    after nearly 40 years of hunting ELK, Id suggest you think about this,
    on your first couple hunts (especially if your young or its likely to be a rare treat to hunt elk,) ANY legal elk is a TROPHY and youll be foolish in my opinion to pass on any legal elk on public land, if its private land with low pressure Id spend the first 1/3rd of your hunt time holding out for something decent over legal minimums but after that Id drop the first legal elk you see!
    altitude sickness and lack of oxygen can kick your butt, if you let it but taking it easy for several days until you get acclimated, will allow you to back pack an ELK out once you drop one, PROVIDED you take your time, I rarely carried less than 60 lbs out per load, but with our group it usually took only 3-4 trips with 3-4 guys
    but after you've killed a dozen, or two dozen or more in the last 40 years and you've got some age and wisdom, and your back vertebra remember those canyons you start to look at where the elk is, and how difficult packing him out will be unless its an really exceptional specimen, before you drop some elk far back in a deep canyon miles from roads.
    packing several hundred pounds of elk out of some deep canyon, or even out over rolling hills in brush country without mules or a truck is HARD WORK, and the dry ice required , and the trips to get it,to keep it frozen over days gets expensive

    Ive hunted ELK for 48 plus years and mostly used a 340 wby, 375 H&H, 45/70 and 35 whelen, and various other calibers, most shots Ive taken at under 250 yards Ive rarely need two shots, not because IM a great shot but because most shots are taken sitting with a sling or resting over a good rest like a solid tree limb, or bi-pod at well under 250 yards and I can,t remember a single elk being alive when I reached it. and its been decades since I felt a second shot was required, its just a mater of not shooting until your positive you can accurately place a shot and getting in as close as possible
    provided you use a controlled expanding bullet ,shots placed in the red + in my experience tend to drop elk or deer quickly with minimal meat loss , shots in the green + will destroy even less meat but occasionally tend to result in a 30-70 yard run before game drops, but if you hit the off side leg bone its going to get messy

    Over 5 decades there have been several factors that I have and many other people eventually do come to realize have a rather obvious effect on your success, rates.
    if you were to compare the modern hunters gear and easy availability to the related tools of the trade to the early mountain men, the current advantages are remarkable.
    the availability of knowledge from sources like the RMEF https://www.rmef.org/ and buying a few reference books, and videos, won,t hurt one bit!

    and access to video instructive classes , and related hunting related equipment, that are currently available would astound hunters in the pre WWII era.
    (1) hunting out of state on a regular consistent year to year basis is and continues to be an expensive hobby,
    thats only getting more expensive, over the decades as fees and licence costs, travel related expenses have consistently increased over the years.

    (2) the definition of insanity is doing things the same way year after year, getting the same results over and over again,
    yet each time expecting to get a totally different result, simple things like keeping in reasonably consistent, month too month contact, all year long,
    with the area biologist and game warden, increases your odds significantly. learn the guys name, send him or her a box of a dozen donuts or if its a girl
    flowers along with a short request for your preferred hunt area tips.and related knowledge, will generally pay off in increasing your success on trips.
    no one person knows everything, about hunting , your game or area, thus taking advantage of the knowledge,
    and experience held by many skilled, other people gives you a huge advantage

    (3) even a blind squirrel occasionally finds the occasional acorn.
    (if your only seeing elk and mule deer occasionally your not taking full advantage of the knowledge available)

    (4) your personal attitude, YOUR having dogged ,persistence (having masochistic tendency's)
    and taking the effort year around, of your physical conditioning does mater.

    (5) if your not consistently successful, year after year you might want to consider looking at your potential options, and analyze how you might improve.

    (6) doing your research carefully you will have a significant advantage over joe average,
    that simply drives out too the area , parks and starts randomly wondering the area.

    (7) having several experienced and previously and consistently successful mentors, ups your odds of success substantially.

    (8) you do have lots of current options that modern technology , has given us, that were not nearly as easily accessed in past years,
    accurate topo maps,
    satellite photos,
    accurate and semi reasonably priced, hand held, GPS,
    greatly improved optics,
    more durable and accurate rifles and ammo,
    far better quality thermally efficient and moisture resistant yet breathable clothing
    access to local biologist and game department data banks
    lazer range finders
    infrared vision enhancement.
    much improved camping, back packs, sleeping bags,tents and edged weapon quality.

    (9) game processing and meat transport, and meat preservation knowledge and your access to it at a reasonable price is currently a huge leap upward, in tech from decades ago.

    (10) most guys I have hunted with would initially have struggled a great deal to rapidly and consistently,
    drop into a sitting, kneeling or standing position and rapidly place a shot into a 3" orange dot at 100 yards
    learning that shooting from field positions, using a sling and a decent bi-pod and frequent practice can improve your chances,
    of making an accurate shot by easily 200%-500% , familiarity with shooting accurately from field positions
    does vastly improve your odds. shooting skeet improves your odds on hitting a rapidly moving close range deer or elk in the typical aspen/conifer.

    (11) the combo of accurate topo maps and a GPS potentially allows you to find natural restrictions too game movement and be in areas that limit the games escape routes,
    a smart hunter will use that info to locate, and be at those choke points thus using the tech advantage he has,
    and consistently improving his odds of getting a good shot opportunity.

    if your not seeing game where your camped within two days change hunting areas, you've got a limited time, access to food,water,changes in weather, preferred, altitude and area hunt pressure will effect games location,


    theres some good universal tips in this thread also

    having at least one spare rifle makes a great deal of sense,our elk hunting group numbers , making the drive out to hunt,varies wildly at times but most years 4-6 guys make the trip in two trucks, splitting expenses, and theres one or two extra rifles in camp, its a darn rare year when some member doesn,t drop a rifle, have a scope mount come loose, a scope fog or slip and fall while carrying a rifle or for some other reason feel that they may want to use a rifle other than their primary rifle.
    and theres rarely low cost equipment being used, but things happen, slopes are steep, temperature swings can cause problems, and people make dumb mistakes.
    a rifle that works perfectly at 80F in Florida may not a 0 degrees F in Colorado after a 2300 mile trip in the back of a truck..
    I remember one year when a guy forgot to pack his 257 wby ammo, and one where a guy slipped crossing a waist deep,stream and it took us 30 mines to find and retrieve his rifle,from the bottom of that stream, and several years when guys just fell carrying rifles on steep slopes, mud and snow can get slippery.
    for several years I brought a 45/70 marlin, other years my 35 whelen as a camp back up, the result was that guys used those for various reasons and now theres several guys that have purchased similar rifles, having used those and seen how effective they were.
    my late hunting partner carried a 358 win BLR most years, he owned a 338 savage bolt gun,that he brought most years, it got used occasionally, if you hunt for 7-10 days in the rocky mountains in the steep canyons we hunt you will eventually screw up and damage equipment
    Ive shot most game, while sitting using a sling, with a 13"/27" harris bi-pod
    for many, sitting using a sling, no bi-pod, but several standing shooting offhand while using a sling.
    I can generally hit most shots more than 70% in a coke can size target,shooting offhand with a sling out to about 100 yards,(3.5"-4" circle)but cut that group size in 1/2 sitting with a sling, and a bit better with a sling and bi-pod.
    most of the game I've shot has been dropped at under 250 yards and mostly in thicker timber or narrow canyons, where ranges are generally not excessive
    read thru these links
    remember if your not in great physical shape your at a disadvantage but careful planing, the right equipment, knowledge of the ares topo maps and how to read them, can help lessen the impact the reduced mobility has






    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2019 at 7:17 AM
  5. bob

    bob Guest

    related info from a different site

    Are you going with some kind of outfitter? Private land? If so, you should be prepared for this to be more of a Shoot than any kind of Epic Hunt. And that's OK... I've had a tough year and wouldn't at all mind a chance to go out and shoot a cow or even a nice, fat doe at this point. This time of year, they should all be down nice & low, even if they aren't milling around next to the haystacks at noon. Chances are real good that you won't have to venture any too far from any roads on this hunt; late season cow-hunts don't generally involve much hard hunting unless you're restricted to public land.

    Good news is that even on public land and in the earlier seaons, you don't have to go miles and miles back in to get an Elk, especially on a cow tag. But you do have to go back in farther than most are willing to go, which, according to the telemetry studies I read up on some many years back, was only about 1/4 mile from the nearest motorized access. Nowadays, I'd bet that their comfort distance is even shorter where there is cover, but quite a bit longer in the open. Sad truth is that a lot of people now seem to think that 1/4 mile is too far to hike in looking for an Elk, but not too far to shoot at one if you can see it.

    But beyond that little rant

    The guys have given you some pretty exhaustive lists, so I'm not going to review their work. If you're really going to be going in after them, I try to think in terms of trip-killers and man-killers. There are things that won't do you any good if you have them in camp, but not on you, so that's where I'm focusing at the moment....

    Man-killers are things like inadequate water, clothing, shelter and food, in about that order. Dehydration will get you if it's warm and hypothermia when it's cold. Fire is a great off-set to a shelter shortage, and both food and fire are important in terms of keeping your spirits and energy up should you get into a fix.

    So do not head off without a hideously effective fire-starter somewhere in your kit, just so that you've got Da Bomb as a last resort. I usually pack a flint sparker, maybe a bic lighter, some matches, etc... Too much crap, though, really, so I'm looking to cut down to the flint to start a fire when I want one and a trioxane tablet or two in case I really NEED one. I carry a water filter and usually keep a full hydration bladder in my pack, because you get real dry, real fast at altitude, and twice as fast when it's cold out. Lots o' snacks, including dried fruits, nuts & jerky. Cheese sticks are good, too. If your clothes are good, you can get through an awfully cold night with a space blanket should the need arise, and carrying one of these will keep your pack down to a manageable weight. After all, if you're going to be stuck for the night, you should realize that long before it has happened, and you can always put together some kind of shelter on the trail.

    Of course, the best way to end up on the trail for the night is to get lost, so I will reiterate the point about good maps. I don't have a GPS nor feel much need of one in the mountains, but I carry two compasses; one might break, and besides, I've got a horrible sense of direction. I am dumb enough to disagree with one compass, but not stubborn enough to argue with two.

    From there, I'm pretty much onto trip killers. These are the things that may not kill you, but pretty well guarantee that you won't kill an Elk.

    First is having your feet go bad. Elk hunting should probably be called Elk hiking, at least the way I've always gone about it... So first thing into the first aid kit is blister prevention and treatment; besides, a bad foot can go from trip-killer to man-killer pretty fast if you can't get back to camp. BTW, the best blister-proofing I know of is dry socks. Pack extras. Wool.

    Band-aids are good, and I was really kicking myself last September when I sliced my left index finger with a broadhead and found that I didn't have any with me. But Super Glue is better for those cuts that just keep on bleeding. Throw in a little tube. Just make sure you've got a clean wound before you close it up and that your tetanus shot is up to date.

    Pain meds are good to have along; not just the RX-only strong stuff, but plenty of Vitamin M, because while you need to be smart enough to not turn discomfort into a permanent injury, aching with every step usually results in fewer steps being taken, so that's a trip-killer. Also take some high-powered sun-block (for high altitude), chapstick (with sun-block), and some kind of good treatment for dry skin on your hands or face. Straight lanolin is good stuff, and you can get it in a tube at the drugstore; they sell it for nursing mothers (though a whole tube might be overkill)... All of that stuff fits in with a good, basic first-aid kit, though; not really anything unusual.

    But don't forget any meds that are unique to your own health situation; not just the daily maintenance stuff, but for acute episodes of whatever ails you... Actually, depending on your health, these could go under man-killers.

    So your survival kit can go pretty damn light, and that's important, because hauling too much crap is a trip-killer in its own right.

    Clothing - as discussed, multiple layers, and as a rule, keep them as light in weight as possible. NO COTTON. Stick with wool (best) or high-performance poly. Scent-lock type garments are too stinking heavy to mess with IMO, especially on a rifle hunt. Just hang your stuff in the smoke from your campfire. I'm down to a packable rain jacket and an 800-fill-power down jacket for my 'heavy' layers on top, with a light wool base layer, wool shirt and fleece vest to layer underneath. Though this time of year, you'll want something really toasty, like the double mackinaw I just added to the collection. It won't be light, but I don't expect to use it much on backpacking type hunts.

    On the bottom, I take a light pair of long johns, a midweight pair- which are actually cycling tights with gore-tex panels in front - and OK, I admit it, either BDUs or camo jeans for early season. If I were smarter, I'd have some good wool pants for active hunting on cold or snowy days, and I have some 300-weight fleece pants that I wear under insulated, Gore-Tex bibs for stand hunting. I also acquired this year a pair of gore-tex gaiters for walking through wet brush. Keeps the feet dry.

    Don't forget lightweight gloves and some really warm ones, too. My biggest problem right now is finding a warm enough hat for the tree stand; a watch cap will do it, though, if you're active.

    Once you have an Elk down, a small block & tackle is indeed your friend, as is a saw or an axe for splitting any heavy bones. If you can't drag the Elk out whole, a hauler frame is generally more useful (IMO) than an internal frame pack.

    I don't worry much about stuff like surveyor's tape, because as with shelter, there are plenty of natural materials available. You can always stack up a little rock cairn to mark the way, or even just lay a stick across the trail to say "turn here". My brother still uses one that I put in place over a dozen years ago

    And it's nice that you don't have to go back & clean up; also handy that you're not putting out a neon sign leading every other guy on the hill directly to your Elk. "
  6. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    "Toughest part about shooting an elk is getting back to where they are. "


    Ive always enjoyed hiking back into and camping with the bare minimums in elk country, being almost alone a couple miles in in some canyon especially if it snows, and especially in some remote canyon when you don,t have any competition
    what I don,t care for is the 3-5 mile hikes out packing 70-80 lbs of elk meat (usually up hill) when you finely get an elk down, or the lack of OXYGEN at higher ALTITUDES as those are rough on an old guy living at near sea level.you learn to take your time, bring a few pain killer pills and cover ground slowly, you also learn not to shot the first elk you see
    now Ive seen many a guy hire a local guy with horses or mules to retrieve his ELK once its down in some remote canyon, but Ive never had the extra cash, available in most cases so Ive been forced into both thinking long and hard about where I am when I contemplate shooting some ELK and HOW Im going to get him out of some remote canyon that they almost always seem to prefer.
    you quickly learn you need a decent back-pack that lets the vast majority of the load weight rest on your hip belt, not your shoulders, you quickly learn to let the meat cool, before loading much of it into the pack, and that a dozen or so 2 gallon zip loc plastic bags are a great thing to have when packing out de-boned meat.
    you also learn that packing out the ham with the sex evidence attached(as required in some areas) is a TOTAL P.I.T.A.
    so what are your tips,and what do you use for a pack?

    getting away from "ORANGE" is really not that difficult in my experience,it DOES require a bit of careful research. but hunting the areas that the vast majority of that "ORANGE" avoids like the PLAGUE may be, difficult for someone whose not familiar with it.keep in mind the areas lightly hunted are AVOIDED for a good reason and 90% plus of the time its been due in my opinion a big reluctance to hunt areas that WILL BE RATHER difficult to get to without getting wet, or working on steep terrain, damn few guys want to back pack elk meat out of some steep canyon, or wade belt deep in ice water.
    I sight all my big game rifles in so you aim at the yellow dot and the bullet impacts cover the red dot

    anytime you feel youve become a great shot, try to place two rapid shots in a 2" dot from a rapidly acquired field position, after walking the 100 yards back to your shooting location from the target after a brisk walk in under 10 seconds, from 100 yards
    Ive done it occasionally tried it hundreds of times, it takes constant repetition to do well.


    related info


    https://www.topoquest.com/map.php?lat=3 ... d83&zoom=4

    the green dots indicate areas Ive hunted, the key if finding a topo map , getting out a few fairly recent satellite photos and getting the land ownership, BLM, and forest service boundry maps and looking for steep well wooded areas that will REQUIRE you to WADE ACROSS A STREAM or CLIMB DOWN OR UP OVER A STEEP SLOPE FOR ACCESS,larger areas virtually surrounded by private land, and requiring you to wade a creek or climb for access are usually lightly hunted, especially if theres no decent areas near by to park a truck, which virtually mandates you are forced to be dropped off and picked up.
    AREAS THAT LOOK LIKE THIS generally don,t have a great deal of foot traffic

    I've spent a great deal of time in this canyon pictured above and similar canyon county
    and a great deal of it looks like the picture below , so youll see why shots over 100 yards are rather rare.

    these posted pictures above, are rather typical pictures of ELK hunting terrain in my experience,

    and while you'll occasionally see elk at longer ranges,
    the vast majority will be found in reasonably good cover so shots over 250 yards have in my experience be very rare!

    ELK tend to cluster where the hunting pressure is lower and where the timber provides cover and theres access to water, so look for those factors and in most cases DISTANCE from roads MAY NOT be a huge factor, but no place to park a truck and a darn hard climb will.

    why would I tell everyone the SECRET??
    well Ive taken a few dozen guys along on elk hunt back-pack trips and theres been few members of my elk hunt club that have a masochistic streak like I do, so very few do this as it takes EFFORT there for I,m not all that worried I'll be flooded with competition, in fact many years Ive had guys give up and walk back to hunt near the truck after just looking over the destination up close! I'm 67 years old , I'm not in top physical condition, but I plod along and I don,t get discouraged if I have to lean against a tree to catch my breath at 7000-11000 feet altitude every 50 feet I travel,or it takes me 3 hours to get 1.5 miles into steep canyons.
    yeah! set in my ways but Ive been successful most years

    I've got two guys I hunt with occasionally that have had very limited success, at bagging larger elk and deer,over the years.
    both guys bitch about their lack of success, but until recently did little about actually stepping back, and realistically figuring out WHY they seldom bagged a (TROPHY), they hunted for years and never asked question,s assuming that LUCK alone was the major factor in success.
    now I'm certainly not the worlds most experienced or successful hunter, but I've found a pragmatic approach,and learning from past mistakes, rather than trusting to blind luck seems like a much better way to improve your chances of success. I printed out a short list and made them read it several times, and think it thru, and pointed out a few things, and its made a difference.
    we discussed each point at length, and I pointed out the necessary changes that would tend to increase their chances of success.
    reading thru the list and discussing where there previous hunts failed, and changed their way of looking at hunts a great deal.

    I thought that many guys can benefit.

    (1)don,t waste time hunting where there very low chance of seeing big game, do the required research, on the area you'll hunt before you go, and hunt where there,s both good game numbers and a proven potential for large racks if that's your goal is.
    if your not seeing game where your hunting,move between areas,until you do!

    (2)learn & practice enough to be shooting accurately, standing and sitting , shooting off hand, so you can hit a 6" paper plate quickly at 100 yards and sitting with a sling so you can hit a 6" paper plate quickly at up too 250 yards.

    (3)spend the ALL the time required IN THE FIELD, sitting in camp, is NOT HUNTING,
    and shooting the first game you see limits your chances at getting a big rack

    (4) learn to use effective camo, terrain, brush and shadows to reduce being seen, don,t hunt walking down wind.
    and don,t walk where your sky lighted on ridge crests

    (5) stay alert! wondering aimlessly is NOT still hunting, glassing helps locate game,but know the terrain, pick your locations and routes, on topo maps.
    its not fancy equipment but dogged persistence, and knowing where there higher probability of seeing game that tends to get results

    (6) learn your quarry's habits, and weaknesses , and anatomy, use the terrain, and natural barriers to your advantage.

    (7) use a caliber appropriate for the game ..a, example (270 win-or 30/06 is seldom a mistake)
    and learn too make the first shot count
    (you'll seldom find a 150 grain in a 270 or a 180 grain in a 30/06 lacking) but you need to be comfortable with your rifle choice.

    (8)use excellent quality optics,(scope and binoculars) and a bi-pod, and a quality, rifle and ammo ,and a rifle sling.

    (9)a decent day pack and warm/dry clothing and sturdy boots, and a hat with a brim,to keep the sun out of your eyes and rain gear are mandatory

    (10) learn how to read and carry topo maps, area road maps and having a compass/gps, sure helps
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2018
  7. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I think we spend a great deal more time discussing, differences in calibers and there effectiveness than is truly warranted , I killed my first few bull elk and a cow elk with a 30/06 and 200 grain speer bullets , those worked just fine if you only looked at the results pragmatically, IE, one shot resulted in a dead elk, but I was young and wanted the ELK to drop on bullet impact, so I bought a 340 wby, and the next few ELK did drop, but as I gained experience I found that although the heavier calibers tended to work a bit more consistently when I did my part placing the shot well, the caliber was not as important as the shot placement, Ive since use a 358 win,35 whelen, 45/70, 378 wby,375 H&H, 458 win, on elk hunts (hey Im a rifle nut)but after 40 plus years , hunting ELK its rather obvious that most of my experienced friends or I could use almost anything from a 257 Roberts to a 458 win and kill elk.its shot placement and bullet construction that gets the job done, but Id strongly suggest the 270win-300 mag range of cartridges as a good effective minimum and the 300 mag-375 mags as a maximum, Ive found the 338 caliber cartridges from 338/06-340wby and the 35 calibers from 35 whelen-358 Alaskan as being about ideal provided you can handle the recoil., If forced to select the absolutely best Id grab a 340 wby without hesitation
    now obviously the calibers with both a flat trajectory (at least 2500fps minimum)and a substantial bullet weight, (150-300 grain) in the better bullet designs will have an advantage

    related threads and info






    as I got older, I gained far more skill at hunting and scouting, and while Ive found that at least for me the early career desire to kill about any legal elk has drastically diminished, I don,t feel the need to fill the license or back-pack out meat on every trip.
    I spend lots of time at the range before hunts,and a accurate rifle that has significant recoil is no big threat, as you'll rarely fire more than a shot or two, while actually hunting elk, and with practice you'll learn to handle recoil and shoot from field positions reasonably well..
    Id much rather just take my time and try to find an exceptional bull, the problem is that due to cash flow,being not what it once was due to retiring, so I can,t afford to hunt the best private areas and age has made some areas more effort than they are usually worth walking into.Ive found that Id rather concentrate on out thinking the ELK and other hunters and plan well ahead where Ill be come day light so that the flow of game exiting most of the easy to access areas works to my advantage, in that I get a good selection of whats in the area passing by well within rifle range, but being limited to public access areas that at times leads to finding nothing in the areas really worth the effort to shoot and pack out.
    so you obviously have a choice of settling for something legal or changing areas constantly hoping to increase your odds.
    getting out in the mountains , walking thru the dark timber and slowly still hunting remote canyons is extremely relaxing and challenging, I don,t really need a super light weight rifle , I'm far more concerned that its both accurate and punches hard enough to get the job done quickly at reasonable ranges.
    most of the old geezers I hunt with, like myself, have kids older than I was when I started hunting ELK. its now more of a mental tactics game than a physical challenge and Ive already been over most of those far ridges enough times to realize that, scouting, topo maps, planing and skill usually produces better results than just covering more territory at random
    it really doesn,t matter much if you select a 270 win , 450 marlin,35 whelen,or a 458 win, or a 340wby or 378 wby, its your ability to use it quickly,accurately and precisely place your shots that matters and you don,t get the chance until you get the skills to regularly locate the elk and get into range , thats what matters most...having the skill to get into range and having the skill to do something with the rifle your comfortable using.

    probably the best and most accurate ELK rifle was my 378 wby for anyone whose interested, the 378 wby kicks like a mule and works great as an ELK rifle, but its not proven to be any more effective than my 340 wby, so I only hunt elk with it when I get the odd masochistic urge to let it beat me half silly.
    the 340 wby is the rifle I grab the most leaving camp as its got the best compromise of range, power and accuracy, but that doesn,t mean I don,t use impractical choices or enjoy using something a bit ODD at times,
    I ordered a spare fibermark weatherby synthetic stock for my 340 wby rifle and a 378 wby barreled action, and after doing some rather extensive bedding, modifications, because of the additional recoil lug on the 378wby barreled action, and strengthening the stock work with two large pillar bed inserts and drilling the stock wrist area from the butt too the rear of the action so I could insert custom bent section of 5/8" thread rod coated with a great deal of epoxy bedding compound to both add a bit of weight and rigidity to the stock, and adding two 1/4" thread rod sections to the forearm area with a good deal more bedding compound behind the forward barrel mount, recoil lug to the bedding in the stocks forward in-letting and modifying it to fit the extra recoil lug the 378 wby action has, plus two cross bolts epoxied into the stock , one on both ends of the action bedding ,and adding a 2.5x Leopold scope, and a thick recoil pad I had one really powerful rifle that weighted about 9.75 lbs .
    Ive easily got about $1900 in this rifle, but thats a screaming bargain compared to the $3000 weatherby wanted for a similar custom synthetic stocked 378 wby when I inquired
    if I can see anything inside of about 600 yards I can knock big holes in it with that rifle, three shot groups with all holes toughing are common off a good rest, but don,t think about it if you don,t hand load, ammo's insanely expensive, $130 for 20 shots is common price
    The simple answer, I carry and use what I'm 100% sure works,and what I personally feel is the best choice, for me.
    I would Not be overly concerned with the choice in rifles or caliber,
    my late hunting partner used nothing but a 358 BLR loaded with 250 grain speer bullets
    and my new hunting partner,is absolutely convinced that anything less than a 270 win loaded with 150 grain boat tail bullets will bounce off anything with fur.
    the truth is that anything Ive seen used from a 257 roberts to a 458 win, works,
    if you can place your shots accurately. (that does not mean a larger caliber won,t hit harder ,but dead, is dead and a 257 roberts 100 grain bullet placed in the heart/lungs is leathal)
    your issue is NOT power its confidence in your rifle and Your ability to use it!
    personally I've come to like the 340 WBY and 375 H&H, everything I've ever shot, with either rifle drops fairly close to the point of bullet impact,
    but I can say the same for Rons 358 win and Bills 270 win
    the main issue you face is finding a viable legal elk thats well inside your comfortable rifle range and placing your shot well,
    thus good clear binoculars, the ability to read and accurately interpret topo maps, and good boots and the ability to stay warm & dry and in the field from before dawn to after dark,
    to maximize,,your chances of being in the right place at the correct time is more critical.
    Id bet theres thousands of Elk that are still wondering colorado each year simply because, many guys hunt hard the first two too three days, get frustrated & exhausted,
    and spend the rest of the week or so sitting around camp or driving around looking for elk out of the trucks window rather than,
    checking out the small side canyons, that might require a hour or so walking to gain access.
    BEING in the correct location at the correct time is not 100% due to luck! you can swing the odds in your favor,
    simply by being in a reasonably likely location during the vast majority of the season rather than cooking hod dogs and drinking beer in camp.

    and for those guys wanting a light easy to use choice, my 358 win BLR and ruger #1 in 270 win easily satisfy that end of the scale.

    IM mostly a firearms hunter but Ive been hunting elk for 40 plus years and have been on several archery hunts in several states, when I could not get free in the correct time frame for rifle or muzzle loaders
    locating a herd bull takes work, but once found move in and keep your eyes and ears open, Ive had friends try to call elk into them , usually with less that successful results,if you have a bull calling close to you and cover and terrain permits
    I would have tried to close the distance to the bull as fast as terrain and making reduced noise would allow and used a cow call SPARINGLY, watching the wind carefully.
    bad bugling is worse than no bugling in many cases PRACTICE a great deal, bugling can work great if your realistic and work with a buddy in a team, where the buddy calls from behind you,, then you swap,as you move forward,in 40-60 yard leaps,alternating, rear guy bugles as you move forward, listen to instructional tapes, and buy a few books, but ID suggest buying as many of the CD,s in that series like these

    get as many of that series as you can afford, as theres little tips and they show things like they CAN BE WHEN THINGS GO RIGHT and occasionally when they go wrong

    http://www.allpredatorcalls.com/product ... 42111.html

    http://www.allpredatorcalls.com/product ... 42091.html
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2018
  8. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Key Findings
    • Elk avoid roads open to motorized traffic, and their
    avoidance increases as the rate of traffic increases.
    Mule deer avoid elk and thus can be displaced into
    areas least used by elk, such as areas near roads with
    the most traffic.
    • Elk avoid cattle, and mule deer avoid elk. Elk can
    select habitats without cattle when cattle are rotated
    through livestock pastures, but mule deer may
    not have as many choices for avoiding elk. The diets
    of cattle and elk differ substantially during early
    summer, but become increasingly similar during
    late summer, with more potential for exploitative
    • Intensive timber harvest can benefit cattle and elk
    from the increased forage available after timber harvest.
    However, if roads are left open, elk are more
    vulnerable to harvest by hunters. Access management
    and maintenance of security cover can mitigate this
    effect. Elk do not benefit from homogeneous stands
    of thermal cover; a mix of open- and closed-canopy
    habitats is optimal for elk.
    • Older male elk are more efficient breeders, resulting in
    earlier, more synchronous calf births the next spring,
    which may benefit calf survival.
    Timber harvest may have the strongest
    and most enduring effects
    on elk vulnerability to hunting.

    Elk, mule deer, and domestic
    cattle have different foraging ecologies.
    The three species select and
    use habitats differently, and they strongly
    partition their use of habitats.
    When elk were unable to avoid roads and
    trails, subsequent studies showed that animals
    increased their movement rates, which
    can increase energy expenditures.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2017
  9. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

  10. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I was talking with a couple old friends about the possibility of hunting with them next year, things look like crap with the economy the way it is, moneys real tight, so I doubt most of the guys are likely to make the trip with the price of fuel up, licenses up and cash flow way down, in most cases. I know I'm very unlikely to pull it off! and thats a shame as its one thing I really enjoy (spending 2 weeks in the snow, in the rocky mountains looking for real dumb, suicidal elk) but even if I fail to make the trip it interesting to discuss the past trips and future plans and watch the newer guys in the group learn the skills from the older guys in the group.
    AL is thinking of making the trip,for the first time(ALs jacks B.I.LAW) and after reading several dozen articles hes worried his 30/06 is not going to work, we all laughed at that, almost every guy in camp has used several different rifles in various calibers to take elk, and while we all have our favorite rifles , a 30/06 has been used SUCCESSFULLY by most of us at one time or another. I know I killed my first three elk with a remington slide action 30/06.
    back in the 1970s and 1980s it seemed like the 7mm mag and 300 mags were almost standard, but by the late 1980s most of the guys were back to using a 30/06 or a 35 whelen,or the 338 win.
    Im, the odd guy, in camp, in that Ive used a 340 wby or 375 H&H most years for the first few days and I usually bring two rifles and swap every few days, to a lever action 358 win BLR or a slide action 35 whelen or even a 45/70, just to change my luck.
    the longer I hunt the more its become obvious that its not the equipment its the guy using it thats critical, Ive seen a 257 Roberts and a 6.5mm Swedish take Elk so its not something that demands a great deal of power, its shot placement and getting in close before you shoot thats critical.
    now don,t think IM saying a 340wby, or 375 H&H won,t knock the stuffing out of an elk a whole lot faster that a 257 roberts will, most of the time, because the larger calibers do hit harder, but if you place the shot correctly with any decent deer or elk caliber rifle you'll have a dead elk in a few seconds even with a smaller caliber like a 243 win or 257 roberts, now in my experience a 270 win is about the minimum ID suggest using, because ELK can easily be 2 to 3 times the size/weight of deer.
  11. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Im always amazed that most of you gentlemen spend 90% of your time worrying about rifles and bullets, backpacks,when the truth is that almost any reasonable center fire rifle in 25-45 caliber with a decent bullet in the hand of a skilled hunter will do the job and 99% of the problem is not equipment related , 99% of the problem on most elk hunts is locating a decent elk and getting in close enough to accurately place your shot.
    Ive been on easily 35 or more out of state elk hunts (lost track because some years Ive hunted up to 3 states in a year)but on most hunts you spent the vast majority of your time trying to locate the herds, locating a decent legal elk and trying to get into a location where you can make a good shot, yet most of you guys are obsessed with minor and usually meaningless equipment choices, if you want to debate whether a 270 win or a 338 win is a better elk rifle, thats fine, and yes in my experience the 338 has a slight edge but the truth is Ive seen both kill elk several times with a single well placed shot so the points far from critical.
    when I first started hunting elk in Colorado,I was advised to buy and use a Remington slide action in 30/06 loaded with 220grain peters ammo, and fitted with a 2.5x or 4x scope, JUST LIKE almost everyone ELSE in the group that invited me used, and had been using for years, as that was in their opinion the very best combo available.
    the first elk I shot with my 30/06 was hit well at only about 70 yards range,in thick timber,but he ran 30-35 yards....I just expected the rifle to do a better job at anchoring the elk.
    I had good knowledgeable and experienced people teaching me, but being 19 years old I just knew after reading every magazine on elk hunting I could find that I needed a magnum,...so I poured over every ballistic chart,and talked to all the local gun-shop owner and saved my money and on the fourth elk hunting trip I had a 340wby which Id learned to shoot very well,during the pre season practice, and I became convinced the horror stories about excessive recoil were obviously written by 90lb weaklings, as I had zero problems shooting my new pride & joy! That 340 wby did a fine job of anchoring elk, over the next 20-30 plus years but in that time I slowly realized the old geezers I hunted with found those slide action 30/06 Remington consistently still continued too put elk hanging in camp with a single well placed shot.
    (at much lower cost, with a lighter weight and shorter rifle that required less careful maintenance,and for which ammo cost was 1/5 the cost of my 340wby and on a rifle not subject to being scratched up as easily, in fact few of those old geezers seemed to care if they got a few scratches)
    I slowly dawned on me that their point of view had some merits!
    IN the past decades Ive seen elk taken with everything from a 257 roberts to a 458 mag.
    now most of those old geezers have passed on over the last 45 years, I hunted, and I,m an old geezer now and while I don,t regret using a 340 wby or 375 H&H for most elk hunts as they proved to be outstandingly effective rifles i look back and think of all the elk killed and the rifles used and its clear its not the rifle or caliber but the skill and experience of the guys using them that had the most effect on the hunters success.
    where are the posts showing how to use topo maps to locate choke points, the posts showing how terrain tends to limit movement, how roads and camp sites and dozens of clueless hunters stumbling thru the woods near those places as they leave camp, tend to drive game out of easily reached areas and knowing that can be used to your advantage. or that a decent camp where you can get a warm meal and a good nights sleep can make a huge difference in your enjoying the hunt?
    I spend a good deal more time worrying about sleeping bags,licenses, boots, socks and jackets ,camo and getting current satellite photos of the area and topo maps than worrying if my 35 whelen is better than my 375 h&H because EITHER CALIBER HAS ALWAYS KILLED every elk Ive ever shot it at!
    how many guys have successfully still hunted elk?
    by that I mean how many guys regularly sneak up into close range and shoot elk before the elk know they are there!
    MOST OF THE GUYS I STARTED HUNTING ELK WITH, basically knew the traditional elk movement patterns in the area we hunted and set up as snipers on terrain movement restricting choke points , allowing other hunters to push elk by them as elk moved out of the easy to access canyons to more remote drainage's to get there elk.
    the magazines almost universally suggest you glass the areas find the herds and try getting into shooting range, now that makes sense because elk cover a huge area and don,t consistently remain in a single canyon , but theres a huge difference between glassing from ridges and trying to shoot elk from 300-400-500 plus yards like you see frequently on TV programs and basically getting down into the area where the elk bed or feed once the herds been located and trying to get into much closer range.
    yes you need to be selective in the areas you hunt, success depends on several factors and areas where the elk have limited escape route options helps a good deal, as does selecting areas with a high number of animals per square mile, it makes little sense to hunt areas with really low elk numbers, or easy road access , where your under constant outside competition in my experience, so youll be restricted to some miserable steep canyons and hard to access areas.
    Ive used several methods, but the most productive in my experience is a team approach basically combining those skills where, once the herds located we get out topo maps if we don,t know the canyon well,and after a herds located a couple guys get into local terrain movement restricting choke points , allowing other hunters to try still hunting into the elk, for close range shots, obviously they are not always successful, so elk are moved by them as elk moved out of the easy to access canyons to more remote drainage's move past the pre positioned blockers in canyon saddles and side canyons in likely escape routes.
    In our group thats the most successful method,personally I take a great deal of pride in getting into under 100 yards before shooting any elk, and I prefer archery range kills with my rifles. but it requires people that can read a topo map and cover terrain quietly and guys that know how to read thermals, and move thru areas without being obvious , guys that can get in close, without alerting the elk, and guys that understand that they need to be where and when they are needed to make that method work effectively, and guys that don,t quit hunting as a team member once they shoot an elk and guys willing to help pack out elk they may not have personally shot. (and yeah we share meat and the shooter keeps any horns)



    ]this is NOT a bull I shot,its simply a picture I found posted, but it gives you a good idea of the typical area you still hunt, so you get some idea why I say a long range rifles not mandatory and why one of my hunting partners used a 358 win BLR for 25 years and thought it was the ideal elk rifle, almost any rifle that hits hard out to 300 yards will do fine in my experience
    “ Spot and stalk and still hunting are quite different.”
    “Spot and stalk frequently morphs into a still-hunt “
    Both true but you can,t effectively hunt elk unless you at least know which drainage or canyon currently holds one of the elk herds or groups as the elk tend to move in groups thru several canyons, and in my experience youll rarely see all or even most of the elk so getting in close thru several sets of screening guard cows constantly watching the area to get to a location where you can get a good shot at a legal bull on public land is a challenge.
    Now I see all the TV movies and videos, where there’s 50-70 elk streaming thru narrow open meadows and some hunter and guide sitting on a ridge 400 yards out has his pick , probably filmed on private ranches where there’s minimal hunting pressure, or near Yellowstone , but in my 42 plus years of hunting elk that’s just not happening on public land.
    What I commonly see is much smaller groups, briefly glimpsed thru binoculars walking into aspen or conifer stands, once spotted the hunter must calculate a route keeping him down wind and in cover and a route that allows him to arrive in a reasonable time frame, and knowing that there a high probability the elk won,t be at that exact location when he gets there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2018
  12. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    ok after 35 plus years of elk hunts I have gained a bit of experience and obviously Im an old geezer who doesn,t mind letting guys in on a few of the basics.

    heres a few tips

    how many guys actually use topo maps to locate roads,camp sites. water sources, natural terrain choke points and potential hunter access and potential game movement and escape routes.
    as I got more experience I found that a few hours of carefully using resources like terrain maps, google earth, and forest service road maps, county property boundary info, BLM maps and other resources allowed me to predict reasonably well the likely game movements as big game in many of the rougher canyon country , could be accurately predicted to leave most of the easily accessed areas near public roads and camp sites, and retreat into areas with far less hunt pressure, now at first we thought that always meant as far from roads as possible but we eventually learned thru trial and error that hunters are generally highly adverse to climbing steep terrain or crossing deeper streams requiring wading, or following a railroad right of way thru private land into BLM lands beyond and having maps and property boundrys and a GPS were valid tools to gain access to some of the better hunt areas

    try to decide where your going to hunt after several talks with the local game biologist, which because hes usually rather busy is usually best done with a brief check list of questions about the area to be hunted, concerning terrain, game populations trophy quality and hunting pressure and ease of area access and number of licenses , weather conditions altitude etc. try to make questions easy to give a brief answer to.

    theres little sense in hunting areas that hold very few elk, if it can be avoided. the local sheriff department may or may not be helpful but giving them a call asking for info or the names of land owners who will grant hunt access for a small fee can be useful

    next buy several topo maps and get the latest satellite photos, and get all the info you can on private property boundary, gates, road access,terrain steepness, rivers creeks and vehicle restrictions, antler restrictions, ability to use off road vehicles,or restrictions on horses, mules, or wheeled carts to haul out game. GOOGLE EARTH can be very useful

    locate a local source for fresh clean water groceries and dry ice, local laundromats, restaurants, hardware stores and car washes, try to talk with the managers or owners a few times prior to the season,you can usually special order a local phone book or look stuff up on the internet, real estate brokers can also be helpful at times,renting a room or just a spot to camp from a local farmer or rancher and being careful to never make a mess helps and if you spend your dollars locally at a small grocery several years in a row the owner may provide you with tips if asked

    learn to use a range finder , binoculars and a GPS

    you can assume that you'll see far less hunting pressure in areas requiring wading across streams or small rivers. or climbing steep ridges or crossing canyons to gain access.

    have snow chains and bungee cords, that match your truck, pay attention to wind direction and thermals, don,t glass while your out silhouetted on a ridge top, learn to call correctly!

    use camo if you can! two or three guys working as a team can search an area far more effectively than one

    you can generally assume that game will move into the less accessible areas if those areas hold cover water and food., especially side canyon drainage's that are at least a mile from road access.

    sight your rifle in to the max possible point blank range, and get a decent scope, Ive always found 3.5" high at 100 yards works on most rifles, learn to shoot from field positions, a sling and bi-pod help.

    ok youve done the pre season scouting and found several good elk, now what? don,t be an amateur and expect those elk to be stupid and be in the same place on opening morning!

    step (1)
    what you need to do is get a detailed topo map of the area,use things like Google earth for recent photos of the area and realize your very unlikely to be the only person who knows where that elk is!
    step (2)
    find the closest large and least easily accessed area from roads that has water good cover and at least marginal feed, and BE THERE before dawn on opening day WITHOUT announcing your presents in that area,or while getting in there the night before and DON,T camp, or screw up the area with odors , lights, or noise as you sneak in well before dawn, you may not get a chance at that exact bull but your chances of getting a decent bull will be FAR higher than the numb nuts walking in of logging roads at dawn, those guys will actually drive far more game into your area as the day progresses
    step (3)
    travel light , be ready to move and glass the area, elk won,t necessarily go exactly where you expect but they will rather predictably move away from the roads and larger camp ares. ideally there will be a natural funnel like cliffs or a lake shore, or side canyon, to funnel the elk moving out of the far more accessible areas, as they move into the more remote and for the elk more secure area your waiting in.
    step (4)
    have whats required to dress out an elk, a good pack and zip-loc bags are almost mandatory
    step (5)
    watch the wind and thermals, don,t silhouette yourself or a ridge, north and east slopes tend to have more cover, find a spot you can watch both your slope and the opposite slope in a canyon if its an option.
    that basic game plans worked for my group far more times than it failed to work, you can depend on elk to recognize the huge increase of traffic on roads and camps being set up to vacate all easily accessed areas close to roads or areas easily walked into, if you have to wade a shallow stream or climb a steep ridge to get there chances tend to improve
  13. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    having a bi-pod helps accuracy a great deal,

    most of my elk were shot from a sitting position with this bi-pod at over 100 yard but under 250 yards, or at very close range shooting off hand (usually under 60 yards)
    MODEL 25 BIPOD 12"-25" HINGED
    http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/i ... u=00053S25

    If I think Ill be watching a canyon or glassing Ive used a harris bi-pod similar this bi-pod and a sling for decades on my 340wby and sako 375 H&H
    it folds up and provides good support when making a sitting shot, and its a quick attach accessory if you choose to put it away in a backpack,
    but if Im hunting the timber I generally use my 35 whelen rem, slide action, or SAKO 375 H&H carbine with only a sling, shots in timber generally are either very close range shot off hand or allow you to use a tree branch/trunk for support to steady the shot.
    Id say 90% of the elk I see shot are at under 250 yards in either case and in timber probably under 120 yards max with several at much closer , almost archery ranges
  14. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    btw one of the most commonly over looked items it accessory clothing items
    Id suggest any of the newer hunters put a bit of careful thought into all their accessories, because some times its clothing related accessories that..make or break a hunt experience, Ive hunted elk in several states for over 40 years now and Id point out that , over looking simple stuff can make the hunt far more difficult
    Not having a decent hat and using a bit of water repellent spray
    to keep the sun out of your eyes and head dry if it rains is a common mistake.

    boots that fit , with two thick socks and boots that are well broken in vs new boots that might result in huge first day of the hunt blisters can make a huge difference.
    think thru your choice in a sleeping bag,and get a decent insulated ground pad,if your sleeping in a tent, you Will be MISERABLE if the sleeping bags a mummy style thats too constricting or if it doesn,t have adequate insulation, while a larger rectangle style bag may weight a bit more and take up more space to pack, being miserable and cold SUCKS
    you can open up the sleeping bag thats too warm but youll freeze your $%^^& off in a cheap bag.
    a long waisted down vest and a good quality parka thats a bit large to wear over it, and fresh underwear and socks can keep you from being constantly cold
    a good long waist length ,down vest, a good low noise parka designed to handle below zero temps, good insulated boots with vibram cleat soles , a good sturdy belt and a good hat to shade your eyes can help a good deal in your success rate, if you can,t keep reasonably comfortable in the wild changes in temps common on an elk hunt or maintain good traction on steep usually muddy or icy slopes or keep the sun and rain and snow off your glasses and out of your eyes your at a huge disadvantage


    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas- ... 168698.uts
  15. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I generally hunt elk with several old geezers , (were all in our 60s-70s now)that have been friends for decades, and drive out to Colorado each year, and theres frequently a couple younger guys that come and go, as members of the group,but few of the younger guys seem to be as consistent, mostly due to family or job,or economic concerns making taking 10-12 days off each year to drive out to Colorado, difficult or impractical, I know I missed a few years going for similar reasons.
    well I went out for coffee with several of the old geezers and a couple younger guys that are planing this years trip, we have all got the basics down, as to licenses, dates, etc. and we were discussing which rifles to take this year.
    most of the older guys have long since found a favorite rifle and the 35 wheelen,30/06 358 win,338/06 are the most popular.
    Bobs a newer guy ,hes in his 40s and hes made the trip with us twice already, so he knows the routine , areas we hunt etc. and hes trying to decide between a 8mm rem mag ,a 300 win mag, and a 338 win mag, all three are nearly identical 700 rem rifles ,all three are loaded with bullets in the 180-225 grain weight range and hes brought all three rifles to the range, and have been to the range,often enough that we know all three rifles shoot about 1.2" -1.5" bench rested groups at 100 yards and in my opinion theres not enough difference in the effective performance potential for the difference between the rifle calibers to make a gnats hair change in results.
    we discussed his choices and most of the older guys pointed out that the 300 mag was probably the most logical choice, and not to worry that any choice was going to work, just fine, its been decades since anyone in our groups killed an elk out past 300 yards simply because we usually hunt narrow well wooded canyons.
    All the older guys can relate, as most of us used to worry about similar minutia , I guess thats part of gaining experience, but at our age we all find his quandary rather amusing, and one guy suggested he would be better served worrying about his sleeping mat quality , sleeping bag insulation, having comfortable boots,or rain proofing his tent, as it would be more likely to influence his results
  16. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Ive never forgotten ammo on a hunt because I generally use a stock ammo carry sleeve ,and keep it filled with the ammo Im hunting with, but I did on one hunt grab a couple boxes of 375 H&H ammo , and threw those in my day pack, then at the last minute grabbed my 340 wby,
    rather than the 375 H&H I had planed to be using,
    [​IMG] but because I have always had a stock elastic cartridge holder

    [​IMG] on all my elk rifles and since I make it a practice to have it filled, I had 9 cartridges of the correct caliber so it was not a big issue

    but this thread does remind me of a similar mistake.....
    when I first got into reloading like all new guys to any hobby I made a few mistakes, i was about 19 at this time,
    heres one you might get a grin from, I got a good scare because I realized that the results might have been far different and it taught me to pay attention!
    I got a call from a friend at about 11pm on a Friday night telling me that he had just gotten access to a friends, private property, hunting area, that we could hunt that weekend, the only catch it was a HANDGUN ONLY area and we needed to be on the site at 6am, I had zero ammo loaded for my 44 mag revolver, so I told the wife about the opportunity, and ducted into the garage to load 20 cartridges (NEVER RELOAD WHEN 1/2 asleep) I looked up my loads in a load manual and set my power scale, sized and lubed the cases, primed them, flared them, double checked the powder I was using was correct, and loaded the cases, with powder, seated the bullets and went to bed, at about 4am I get up, jump in the car and drive out to meet my friends, by 7am Im in a tree stand overlooking a deer trail and at about 8am theres a legal buck slowly working his way towards me, when he got into about 35 yards I had the sights dead on his shoulder, I slowly squeezed off a shot, the revolver gave a muted THUNKPOOFF sound and the bullet arced out and hit the buck and bounced off, one very surprised buck bounded off, into the brush, and I sat there in startled amazement, THUNKPOOFF was not normal a CRACK/POW was NORMAL!!
    IM reasonably sure velocities were under 200fps because I had lots of un-burnt powder, H110 needs a certain pressure level to burn consistently., unlike BLUE DOT or UNIQUE powder which is better for low velocity loads (not that ID intended to build a LOW VELOCITY LOAD, ANYWAY)
    (I was using a shorter barreled #29 then but swapped to this when I purchased it in the 1980s and never looked back)
    after inspecting the bore to be assured there was nothing stuck in the barrel I picked out a large tree trunk, around about 40 yards away and tried a second shot.....same result..THUNKPOOFF sound and a bullet bouncing off the tree.
    on returning home after the hunt I disassembled to remaining ammo, and weighed the powder, the load manual called for 21 grains of H110 powder, Id screwed up and set the powder scale for 11 grains by mistake, if ID screwed up and set it for 31 grains the case would have over flowed, and the mistake would have been more obvious with that particular powder, but I realized that the mistake was major, because if ID set the scale for lets say 26 grains it might have been a HUGE problem, or if ID used a different powder I could have caused serious problems, as I might have loaded a serious overcharge, ever since I learned too triple check both the POWER USED and THE CHARGE WEIGHT SEVERAL TIMES AND WITH AT LEAST TWO and HAVING THREE OR FOUR MANUALS CURRENT MANUALS FOR REFERENCE,IS EVEN BETTER,, you NEED three minimum, manuals because theres occasionally mis- prints, or typos that you need to catch,as an example, if one manually were too suggest lets say 48 grains of IMR 4064 under a 250 grain bullet in a 358 win and both your other manuals top out at 44 grains you know theres a problem, that you should look into.

    you can also check on-line now but back 30 plus years ago that was not an option,
    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.a ... pe=Handgun

    the powder scale had three separate movable weights that fit notches on a balance arm, Id placed one on notch off its intended location, causing the problem, I went out and purchased a far more reliable scale after that, similar to this one below

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/defau ... er&Source=



    and shortly after I found a great deal on a second scale to use to verify and cross check which I bought and use as its a great way to verify

    I usually carry a couple spare rifle stock ammo 9-10 cartridge carrier bands in my day pack inside a zip loc bag as it prevents noise or ammo damage and and replace them on the rifle as needed, but remember I prefer synthetic stocks on most of my elk rifles and keep the wood stocks very well waxed and if the carrier elastic gets really wet to protect the ammo I swap them out and dry them.there ARE sprays that are really good at preventing water related problems

  17. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    Ive often wondered about why the 358 win , especially in the BLR lever action carbine or in some other carbine length bolt action IN A HEAVY CALIBER LIKE THE 375 H&H, or 450 MARLIN, was not MUCH more popular.
    My late hunting partner used a 358 BLR for most of his elk and deer hunts and never for a minute felt it was any disadvantage.
    THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE AREA I HUNT FREQUENTLY FOR ELK, its easily a 3 hour walk out on each trip once you shoot an elk
    a great deal of the area I hunt looks similar to the pictures here.
    THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE AREA I HUNT FREQUENTLY FOR ELK, guys I hunt with used to worry about the necessity of having a rifle that has a flat trajectory, but after hunting the area they find shots over 80-150 yards are rare and shots over 250 yards are almost unheard of.

    canyon country is frequently inter-spaced between slopes thus youll generally be forced to cross a few of these rapidly flowing streams , some are easily forded, some a respectable barrier, and you can bet your last dollar the elk will know where few hunters will bother to access.

    this is what much of elk hunting areas look like
    this is what THE FAIRLY RARE OPEN AREAS of elk hunting canyons look like, logging road access to some previous clear cuts ??
    I have used, and several other members of my elk hunt camp use, a browning blr in caliber 358 win and the same ammo formula for decades.
    (250 speer over 44 grains of IMR 4064 and a 215 fed primer)
    I sighted it in 3.5" high at 100 yards, so its dead on at 200 yards and 10" low at 300 yards 30 plus years ago, and I check it several times a year and its never changed, its point of impact.
    and yes its very effective on both deer and elk.
    my late hunting partner used a similar combo as his primary elk rifle for 30 plus years and always laughed at me for carrying my 340 wby, because In 30 plus years, I doubt either of us shot deer or elk at over 250 yards on any hunt, because we never saw one past that range!Im always amazed at how infrequently Ive needed that potential flat trajectory.
    obviously having a rifle with a flat trajectory becomes much more important if you can,t accurately judge ranges or tend to have most of your shoots at longer ranges.
    but lets look at two fairly different cartridges
    my late hunting partner thought the 358 win in his BLR was the ultimate ELK combo, he sighted in at 3.5" high at 100 yards, that gave this trajectory
    Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
    0 2300 -1.5 0
    50 2206 1.91 0
    100 2118 3.53
    150 2031 3.21
    200 1947 0.76
    250 1865 -3.98
    300 1785 -11.24
    350 1708 -21.23
    400 1634 -34.2
    450 1563 -50.42
    500 1494 -70.21

    IVE preferred to use my 340 wby resulting in this trajectory
    Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
    0 2900 -1.5 0
    50 2790 1.53
    100 2688 3.46
    150 2588 4.16
    200 2491 3.57
    250 2396 1.56
    300 2303 -1.96
    350 2213 -7.12
    400 2124 -14.07
    450 2037 -22.96
    500 1953 -33.93

    obviously the 340 shoots incredibly flat compared to the 358 win
    but the advantage is almost non-existent in that neither of us over a period of almost 30 years of hunting together almost every year had shots at elk over 250 yards
    when you compare the trajectory's out to the max range we regularly saw elk and shot at elk, the advantage drops off to almost a non-issue.
    don,t get hung up on velocity just get the most accurate load
    just place the shot from your 358 win with a 250 speer or if you prefer a 270 grain 375H&H bullet in the light green area in the diagram to destroy the arteries over the heart and your elk or deer drops almost 80% of the time and few make 10 yards...TRY IT YOU MIGHT BE AMAZED AT HOW MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE YOUR RIFLE IS, AND THOSE BULLETS HOLD TOGETHER AND EXIT WITHOUT CAUSING EXCESSIVE MEAT DAMAGE

    Having dressed out, boned out and packaged dozens of elk and deer I can assure you, that the first couple times you dress out and bone out a deer carcass its not all that much fun , most guys are at least marginally grossed out, but after you get better at the process and gain experience you'll find you learn a few tricks, and the first one is where too shoot vs where NOT TO SHOOT a deer if you want to make the process FAR less distasteful
    the second is that hanging the game and skinning and gutting the game some place where you can keep it clean and easily dispose of the internal components ,that youll pitch in the trash, will make the job far faster and easier.
    you quickly learn that a good heart shot placed just aft of the front legs, passing thru the chest and exiting , is vastly preferable to dressing a gut shot deer, so you learn not to take shot angles that will result in a really messy job dressing out the deer/elk..obviously that requires a understanding of the games anatomy, and selecting bullets that expand in a controlled manor and exit rather that turning to glitter on impact, and turning the whole impact area to bloody , stinking mush! a properly place bullet of the correct type zips thru doing fatal damage yet destroys a very limited area of the vitals, the wrong bullet or one badly placed makes the processing procedure a stinking, mess
    provided you use a controlled expanding bullet ,shots placed in the red + in my experience tend to drop elk or deer quickly with minimal meat loss , shots in the green + will destroy even less meat but tend to result in a 30-70 yard run before game drops, but if you hit the off side leg bone its going to get messy




    I've lost count of the deer and elk Ive processed decades ago, you need a decent knife ,
    but theres no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on an edged tool,
    that works perfectly well, you can get for under $30-$100,
    It takes some practice and experience, too learn to quickly and cleanly dress game and keep the venison clean and free of dirt and contaminants,
    if theres snow or a mountain steam handy place the sealed 2 gallon zip lock bags in the snow,
    or water to cool, before you pack out the venison to reduce chance of it starting to spoil.
    because this is a thread about equipment Id include a few related tips gained over the last 45 plus years of elk hunts.

    this woodsman (above) and the sharp finger (below),are both a darn good value in a skinning and dressing game knife,
    both work, you may prefer one vs the other,
    but both get the job done and at the very low price,
    you could buy both and give the one you don,t prefer to a son or friend
    youll find either available under $29 if you shop carefully

    youll need a handy blade sharpener no mater what blades you select.
    if you dress out Elk youll occasionally find a heavy blade handy for some jobs
    I,ve found this Kukri far more useful than a hatchet, for various reasons, and if you ever dress out out elk you know that there's times where that a heavy blade or a hatchet can be useful and can be used to make the job easier,but for some people the weight and length, of the kukri plus having it as a second blade tool, make it less than ideal,
    if you do much long distance back packing you'll rather rapidly find you'll need TWO different edged tools, a small nimble slicer/Skinner, and a chopping tool that must be longer and heavier with more mass.
    something like a 8"-10"
    bowie can be used for both but its not close to ideal for either job.
    but if you must have only one blade you can get by with a cold steel trail master
    keep in mind youll want a small portable game hoist , too get the deer/elk off the ground for skinning and processing, theres no way one person lifts an elk up on a near by tree without a decent hoist in his pack ,
    and a few dozen 2 gallon zip-loc bags to place the boned out venison in to keep it clean, all the elk I've shot were too heavy for one person to drag very far in steep canyon country, so you'll find you'll be forced to bone out much of the meat and pack out the elk in sections , in a decent high quality back pack. for two guys this generally takes several return trips, hang the carcass high and leave a shirt with your odor close by, or coyotes and bears may steal it in your absence , and it makes sense to have a, lighter weight, handy, 2lb-3lb heavy caliber handgun, rather than a heavy 7lb-9lb rifle,thats not allowing you to keep both hands free, on return, packing out meat, trips as theres a small chance youll be disputing ownership of the venison ,
    on a return trip with other predators.
    once youve dropped an elk down in a canyon bottom several miles from any road access,
    in a canyon like this (I hunt here frequently) youll see the advantage of a good back pack, good ankle support boots and a handgun with a shoulder holster.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2018
  18. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    BTW its a good idea to have several members on each elk hunt and to watch your camp and equipment as much as you can, its also smart to camp where your not just off a well traveled back road and to ot leave anything of value out where its obvious.
    on one of my first elk hunts, I helped a member of our elk hunt group down in a remote side canyon, a good hours walk in from the nearest logging road access dress out an elk. I used a very nice mini block and tackle to hoist the first elk we shot on the trip, to field dress it, we packed out as much as we could carry back to camp, about 4 hours later we returned to get the second load of meat the ELK was on the ground some meat was gone and so was the rather expensive block and tackle.
    a couple years later the elk camp several hundred yards from ours had several sleeping bags stolen out of a locked camper,while the camp was UN-attended.
    in the 1990s one of our group went into EAGLE colorado to get supplies and someone stole an expensive but luckily empty, aluminum twin rifle case out of the pickup bed while he was grocery shopping
    and before you ask this was in the 1980s in the white river area of Colorado, we filed a police report ,but never heard back.
    Id also point out that if you started hunting elk back in the 1960s-1980s tags were far FAR less expensive and usually easier to come by, frequently available over the counter, but some were lottery draw, and if you did your research and planed well, and applied early in several states, it was very easy to have two or more licenses per year from adjoining states like Colorado, Idaho,Wyoming, Montana so that as you hunted in one state, as the dates for that season ended an adjoining states was opening, careful planing allowed a road trip to two or more states
    I did that occasionally as finances allowed back then.
    during the 1970s especially Id spend three weeks on a road trip hunting at least two states a year. all it took back then was three weeks off work and a couple thousand dollars to do what would now cost you 5-8 times as much and require you to draw a license
  19. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    BTW think drugs are bad for you

    ELK HUNTING has you beat badly, especially if you have high blood pressure and get altitude sickness

    when hunting ELK you pay THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for EQUIPMENT, so you can PAY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in things like licenses fees, and travel costs, spend days or at least hours, and usually pay guide fees so you can spend 7-14 days sleeping in a tent with at least one guy who snores, and you get to spend most of the year avoiding getting into physical shape you KNOW you need to be in to function, then spend several months both forcing yourself to exercise , knowing that NOTHING you can do at sea level helps much to prepare you, for the mountains, and worrying about if you've selected the correct location so you can spend your time learning to run or crawl up mountain slopes at 7000-11,000 feet altitude while you puke and have migraine headaches as altitude sickness kicks your butt, I get sick as can be with bad mygrain style headaches from altitude sickness the first or second or sometimes both days, of each hunt, it helps to take several aspirin and ibuprofen and drink hot tea,(not beer or coffee)and not do much thats stressful for the first 24-36 hours ,talk to your physician about other prescription medications (nifedipine, frusemide, Diamox,tedral and acetazolamide) that can combat the onset and symptoms of altitude sickness, and have those with you.(obviously talk to your doctor)
    that 24-36 hours acclimation time requires you get to where youll hunt a few days prior to opening day,obviously,and spend a couple days at a medium altitude like 5K-6K before going higher,If your in a hotel/motel, hot showers help as they tend to reduce blood pressure slightly, which is a minor help, youll generally feel ok after 36-48 hours if you don,t push hard and try to sleep several thousand feet lower than you hunt, it helps
    --Drink water- and gator aid , force yourself even if not thirsty,-Start several days or a week BEFORE you arrive at altitude. Most folks--especially those who work at more sedentary professions--don't drink enough water/liquids to begin with.

    --Don't drink alcohol.

    --Start taking 2-3 aspirin each day several days before you arrive at altitude.

    --As mentioned, bring Rolaids. At the first sign of feeling just a tiny bit queasy, take some.

    --Try to avoid heavy exertion for the first day or two at altitude.

    --Folks with high blood pressure are more likely to get altitude sickness, so keep that in mind for you and your partners.

    --Drink water.......



    http://www.bing.com/health/article/natu ... e+sickness

    you spend dawn to dusk either over heated or freezing your butt off, in the hope that you can shoot a damn 450lb-700lb elk, and carry his body out in several 70 lb back packs, on several trips into and out of a canyon,(usually covered in mud loose shale, thick brush or snow) loaded with meat , for the 2-5 miles hike out of some steep canyon, (ELK ALWAYS seem to live in the next canyon, never above your camp) where you slip and fall on your face at least every 1/2 hour , while you try hard to give yourself a heart attack , while asking your friends if your having fun yet?
    and do it year after year, and even look forward to it, in fact you feel cheated if you miss a season.

    I get it every trip,I drive out a few days early knowing it takes time for the body to adjust,constantly drinking lots of water, Gatorade ,take an aspirin every 4 hours and staying where its warm during the first two-to-three days tends to help a good deal, so I usually stay at a motel or a friends home during the 3 days before the season
    symptoms generally include killer migraine headache, sinus hurt and you feel like you've got the flu, but it passes, and if you know what to expect and basically rest the first 3 days you'll adjust.
    yeah! IM that obsessed with hunting ELK!
    carry lots of water and aspirin, Excedrin etc. as altitude sickness is common and a real P.I.T.A., head aches , nausea ,are real and common youll feel like crap for the first 24-36 hours, you likely to have a killer headache, but drink lots of liquids and take pain killers and it slowly passes so don,t let it end your hunt, don,t let altitude sickness ruin your hunt, its a problem for almost all new hunters that don,t live at similar altitudes,symptoms are a killer head ache and nausea, that usually takes 8-12 hours to start after moving to higher altitude and it can last 12-48 hours making life miserable , its cure is drinking lots of liquids like gator aid and water and taking aspirin and Excedrin and resting while your body adapts , if possible spend the first couple nights at a slightly lower altitude, example where I normally hunt the altitude is about 8K-11K , if I spend a couple nights in a motel at lets say 5K-7K it tends to REDUCE but not eliminate the problem and DON,T GET STUPID and push yourself hard at those altitudes, just find a decent place to sit and watch a narrow canyon, or a natural travel choke point and glass the area if you feel out of breath or overly tired, once your in a good area,many guys find that sitting and glassing every 15-30 minutes for an hour or so,is more effective than constantly still hunting because its hard to carefully inspect an area if your having a difficult time just breathing and your exhausted

    my wife thinks I,m addicted to this insane obsessive addictive,masochistic behavior that kicks in any time it snows more than a few days,and I'm in the Rocky mountains in sept-nov......I told her shes wrong ...it rarely snows in sept.
    one factors thats becoming rather obvious,is that reading through this thread, its the old geezers that are still hunting, guys that started out decades back, that seem to both rack up the larger total kills, and thats probably because it takes years to develop the effective required skills and knowledge required to do so, and spend the weeks and decades afield it would require, the sad part is that about the time your in your 60s or older , having paid your dues for 30-40 plus years and you now know what to look for and why your doing things your generally in less than ideal physical condition to still carry on for several more decades to reap the rewards of those gained skills

    Ive never found a thing to need improvement using a 340 WBY mag with 250 -270 grain hornady bullets, with a 4x12x scope
    you might want a 27' harris swivel bi-pod if you want to maximize long range potential.
    my 375 H&H carbine with a 2x7x leopold scope gets the nod if I want to stalk dark timber in narrow canyons far from road access.
    but even a 308 win or 270 win works fine its not power its proper shot placement and using what YOU have 100% confidence in that matters
    Ive used a 340 wby and 375 H&H on most ELK HUNTS


    but like Flags stated
    you have a 7mm mag, youll be fine with a good quality 160-175 grain bullet.
    I will point out that in almost 50 years of hunting the number of elk Ive even seen past 300 yards is minimal,
    Id bet the average distance all the elk taken by the members of our club over that last 45 years was well under 150 yards.

    btw the three most popular rifles in our hunt club for elk are the
    remingtom 7600 in caliber 35 whelen, or 30/06
    the browning BLR in 358 win 308 win,or 450 marlin
    and the ruger #1 in 338 win 30/06, or 300 mag
    remember the PROJECTILE does all the work, without a good design in any caliber your screwed.
    and youll generally want a slow expanding bullet with at least a .260 sectional density and a thick jacket,
    for its intended velocity range to maximize penetration.
    personally I want exit wounds in a strait line from entrance impact points, for blood trails a blind guy could follow
    and decent expansion characteristics, for rapid kills this requires bullet mass to achieve on an ELK.
    I live in, FLORIDA and while it might be a rather big surprise I can,t remember ANY BLR, ruger single shot or 7600 malfunctioning in the last 45 years and I certainly remember
    a couple bolt actions having issues , but I have to point out All those issue,s,
    I remember were due to improper cold weather prep or lack of proper maintenance,
    or not using the correct scope mounts, by owners, bolt action's,
    not design flaws, or busted parts.
    perhaps the bolt guys just expect the bolt action rifles to function , not giving it much thought,
    and the other design,s in theory being though of as more prone to problems get looked over more carefully, before trips
    I know most of the older guys have learned to carefully clean and de-grease the rifles and use moly spray for the internal action lube as its impervious to freezing.
    most of the guys I hunt with are not all that concerned with shooting over 300 yards simply because experience hunting the black timber and narrow canyons aspen
    and oak brush, conifers has taught most of us shots over 300 yards have been nearly non-existent
    Ive generally used a SAKO or WBY Mark V but I'm in the MINORITY

    No a bolt actions not more reliable, simply reliable enough that many guys familiar with their use for many years have found them to be their go to rifle.
    over the last 50 years I'VE OCCASIONALLY used a BLR
    , a MARLIN 45/70, a 7600 pump in 30/06 and 35 whelen, and the,
    REM 700, SAKO and WBY bolt guns and a browning 78 falling block, they all work.
    WHILE STUDYING TOPO MAPS , researching elk habits
    is without doubt,
    FAR MORE LIKE work, AND TAKES effort.

    I doubt anyone's success rate would falter if they were forced to use a ruger #1 or BROWNING BLR, in 270 or 30/06 with a decent Nikon or Leopold 3x-9x scope vs what ever they currently use.
    how many times have you got up and been miles into the country leaving a friend sleeping in camp, or walked back to camp in the dark, and found your less successful friend has been back in camp for hours
    yet in their mind, if you tend to connect on a good ELK, .... its YOUR JUST LUCKY!
    I would have little problem if I had a 257 roberts or a 458 win, in the area I've hunted for decades shots rarely exceed 250 yards
    yes I certainly have favorite rifles ,but the equipment or caliber is not nearly as critical as finding an elk and getting into easy range to make the shot.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2018
  20. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

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