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

  1. 87vette81big

    87vette81big Guest

    I took a look at the Wildgame License fees Grumpy.
    Yes that's insane prices.
    Not much of hunter but I would like to try someday.
    Haven't heard from GT much lately. He likes to hunt Elk also.
    Free if we make it to Riches house to hunt deer he telks us.
    Rich hates those deer a lot.
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member


    As hunters confess blunders less eagerly than they recount kills, it’s hard to know how many elk would fall if hunters made no mistakes. Perhaps the elk keep track.

    Elk Lessons
    1. Mistake: Chief among failings, according to outfitters, is a hunter’s sorry state of physical readiness. Elk country isn’t all steep, high, rocky, and strewn with jackstraw timber, but that’s often where hunted elk go. Saying “I’m just a little slow” doesn’t negate the fact that elk are not slow. They live in big places and cover distance very quickly.

    Lesson: At a minimum, walk or jog for several weeks prior to your hunt to get your legs and lungs in the best shape possible.

    2. Mistake: Many riflemen shoot poorly without a bench. Over the years, I’ve muffed several shots that seemed at the time to be too easy to miss. As a guide, I’ve seen clients drill golf ball–size groups from a rest only to miss beach ball–size vitals with hasty pokes at elk.

    Lesson: Practice regularly with a paper bull’s-eye from sitting, kneeling, and off-hand positions. A .22 makes practice affordable and more comfortable. Determine a “90 percent kill” sight picture, and fire only when you have acquired it.

    3. Mistake: Long-range rifles often handicap hunters. Once, before I could stop him, a client crippled a far-off elk when we could have gotten closer. Another fellow who’d zeroed his rifle at 400 yards overshot a bull at 200. Heavy rifles also slow your step, tire you in the hills, and keep you from wanting to venture into the best elk cover.

    ▶ Lesson: Limit your rifle weight to 9 pounds. Zero at 200 yards; hold center to 250. But most important, always get as close as you can.

    4. Mistake: While I’m fond of iron sights, scopes are faster, with elk and reticle appearing in the same plane. But you lose target-acquisition speed, brightness, and field of view when you crank up the magnification. I’ve killed elk at 300 yards with 3X magnification. High power once cost a client an easy shot when he couldn’t find two bulls in his scope as they trotted by at 60 paces.

    Lesson: Keep your scope at 3X or 4X. You’ll have time to dial up for long shots.

    As fond as we are of iron sights, scopes are faster.

    Wayne Van Zwoll

    5. Mistake: Often on elk hunts, a good option can scuttle a better, easier one. Topping a ridge long ago, I glassed across a draw at meadows and second-growth that screamed elk. A few minutes later, as I glassed the slope, a twig snapped close by. The bull that had stood there surely wondered why I didn’t fire before it bolted.

    Lesson: Look near before you look far.

    6. Mistake: Elk hear well but dismiss some noises. Once, I sneaked into an aspen copse on an elk trail, pacing my steps as an elk might, and I passed a bedded cow at 4 yards to kill a bull. Padding along other tracks, I’ve surprised bulls that were bedded just feet away. Some were so astonished that they stood for a shot. But hunters who talk loudly or let their gear clack and rattle as they walk send elk packing.

    Lesson: Move like an elk where elk move. If you must communicate, whisper.

    7. Mistake: The wilderness pack trip has come to define “pure” elk hunting. But odds at a shot can improve on forest fringe near agriculture, where elk densities run higher, especially in late seasons. Success in Idaho’s Frank Church, Montana’s Bob Marshall, and Oregon’s Eagle Cap wildernesses hovers below 15 percent. While I’ve killed elk in all of them, they yield elk reluctantly.

    ▶ Lesson: Places of legend typically offer better scenery than shot opportunities.

    8. Mistake: Dreams of outsize bulls fuel elk fever. But assuming you can always kill a lesser elk later in the hunt if a big one doesn’t show early on is perilous thinking. One client passed up several fine bulls looking for a brute we knew was in the area. I admired his discipline, but he went home without firing a shot.

    ▶ Lesson: Have a realistic plan. As an outfitter pal advises his clients, “Shoot the elk you’d take the last day as soon as you see it.”

    9. Mistake: Crusted snow and bare ground can make for noisy tracking and spooked elk. But as I hunted through crust one day, I caught up with a bull, thanks to wind, topography, and knowing when to leave the track. I moved wide around the herd through cover, and my chance came as I paused at the cover’s edge. Across a meadow, the bull had stopped to check his backtrail.

    ▶ Lesson: Tracking can produce but always assume that the elk are stopping frequently and looking back.

    10. Mistake: While taking a friend on a hunt, we passed a thicket in the dark and heard elk. He wanted to stop, but I urged him on. We ignored the animals and kept climbing. At dawn, in some Douglas fir, the flick of an ear caught my eye. The bull fell to his .300.

    ▶ Lesson: Hiking past elk early puts you where elk don’t expect hunters to be. Don’t stop in the dark to listen for elk. They’ll spook. Hike purposefully; the elk will let you by, and you’ll shoot one later.

    11. Mistake: Many years ago, when bugling to attract bulls was still a novelty, a pal insisted on shadowing a herd bound for shade at dawn. The bull thought him a pest and left. That afternoon I probed the timber silently toward a sometimes-vocal elk. At last I glimpsed him long enough for a shot.

    ▶ Lesson: Rutting elk sometimes respond to a bugle by moving away. Still-hunt toward a noisy bull, and be aware that he might lie beyond alert cows.
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    reading through the list above brings back a wealth of memories
    Id say the vast majority of the guys I,ve hunted with assumed they were in good physical condition, but were amazed to find out they were hardly up to a few days let alone a week of scouting steep canyons.
    let me absolutely assure you that the stuff you can do with minimal effort at a couple hundred feet of elevation become almost impossible to do at 9000 ft-11,000 feet of elevation,
    yes your body in most cases will adapt slowly to the new environmental conditions, but your very likely to feel terrible due to altitude sickness ,which will figuratively kick your ass, for the first few days,
    unless you take it very easy physically, take aspirin and drink a lot of liquids, this is why its almost mandatory to arrive a few days early and move up in altitude slowly, and generally sleep at a lower altitude than you hunt!
    and most guys assumed they could shoot accurately from field positions, even though they had spend almost all their time shooting off a bench rest.
    the one really consistent factor I noticed is that most guys , even with their favorite rifle, can,t hit a coke can, you place on a stump,
    at 100 yards from a quickly acquired field position , once we get up into elk hunting country, if their life depended on it!
    the fact that you can shoot a dime at 100 yards off a bench rest at 100 yards is totally meaningless if you can.t hit a 4" circle at 100 yards sitting on the ground or leaning against a tree.
    A good high quality 7x-10x field glasses can be very helpful,
    your rifle scope is not a substitute.
    use of good quality camo, IT DOES HELP!,
    keeping too the timbered areas and staying in shadows when ever you can do so, and while moving slowly, and irregularly , and yes while your watching 360 degrees around you,
    as its hardly rare for game to let you walk by then exit the area.
    If you need to talk to a buddy, squat near cover and only whispering is critical, voice/sound carries you want to make the chance of game detecting you as low as possible, so also be aware that your scent travels down wind and with the thermals that travel different directions as the temperatures change durring the day.
    a good wide brim hat too shade your eyes and good comfortable boots , and a small comfortable day pack to carry gear , like a down vest, rain gear, knife ,ammo ,canteen,fire starter, small block & tackle and your meds, topo maps compass, and some good food, and toilet articles, may not seem like critical gear but it makes a big difference.
    you need to stay warm, dry,and not have your boots hurt, or feel lost, and you need too stay,well fed too cover territory and stay alert. youll burn a great deal of calories if your hunting and covering large areas , and sitting in camp because your feeling dead tired or sick won,t get you an elk.
    don,t worry about your ability to make a theoretical 600 yard shot, in 45 plus years of hunting elk ID say 90% plus of the opportunities I've seen too shoot a legal bull elk, were at ranges under 250 yards.
    I've killed and seen a whole lot more elk shot at under 150 yards in thick timber ,
    than the few times I've seen it done at greater ranges,
    and its not usually due to people not being able to hit game, at extended ranges,
    (most people I've had try it, can,t hit a 6" diameter paper plate target,
    on the first shot from a quickly acquired field position,at ranges past 300 yards at BEST, many find 200 yards very challenging)

    the reason they seldom need to shoot longer ranges is simply that bull elk are not stupid enough to walk out in open areas,
    during day light hunting hours.








    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    you can kill an elk with damn near any center-fire rifle under the correct conditions
    thats not too suggest you can,t make an intelligent choice that has some distinct advantages
    ideally you'll want to select, a cartridge that can reliably punch through to an elks vitals at reasonable ranges and angles.
    there are a basic range of well proven calibers that will do the job,
    personally Id suggest nothing less than a 270 win with a 150 grain quality bullet, and something like a 35 whelen or 300 win or 300 wby makes more sense in my opinion,
    in my 45 years experience,
    Id suggest anything that throws at least a 180-200 grain bullet to at least 2400 fps at the muzzle ,
    and Id prefer a 225-250 grain at at least 2600 fps.
    what I can tell you is no mater what physical shape your in you'll wish it was better after a week hunting in steep canyon country,
    and you need all the practice you can get shooting from field positions out to at least 250 yards, to maximize your chances of success.
    I try to make most shots art game, while sitting using a sling, with a 13"/27" harris bi-pod
    I constantly practice shooting both sitting and standing, for many, shots are taken, sitting using a sling, no bi-pod, but several were taken ,standing shooting offhand while using a sling.
    I can generally hit most shots more than 70%-80% in a coke can size target,shooting offhand, with a sling out to about 100 yards,( hitting a 3.5"-4" circle)but cut that group size in 1/2 sitting with a sling, and a bit better still 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, in fact you should practice shooting a soda can size target off-hand at 50 yards, as in thick timber you may get amazingly close range shots at standing or walking elk.(learn to shoot skeet, also , and keep your scope on its lower setting while stalking timber, as an elk jumping up in the thick timber at closer ranges is not rare)
    the browning BLR in 358 win and 450 marlin and the remington 7600 in 30/06 and 35 whelen, and the marlin 45/70 rifles have a strong representation in our hunting club..because they are well proven.
    I can not pick what works best for you, but read the links below






    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I wish more people would get the hell off the bench rest tables and learn too shoot from field positions,and properly use a sling or buy and use a bi-pod
    I get so pissed at times listening to guys who swear their hunting rifle shoots 1/2" groups all day,and shoots laser flat to 500 yards,
    most of those who have near zero ability to accurately place shots under real field conditions,
    especially when I've seen many of them shoot in the field
    Ive won plenty of $10 bets that most guys could NOT put a hole in a soda can at one hundred yards with their first shot from a sitting or standing field position, using the rifle they hunt with.
    most of my big game rifles are sighted in to hit 3.5" high at 100 yards
    as range estimation can be tricky and must be done rapidly in some cases
    the sighting in trick of sighting in 3.5: high at 100 yards, allows good centered chest hits on deer and elk with many common rifles out to at least 250 yards with a center chest hold behind the front leg.
    Id bet there would be a big increase in sales of slings and adjustable bi-pods if guys were forced, by yearly testing,
    to be able to shoot a 6" group at 100 yards from a rapidly acquired field sitting position before they were to be allowed to buy a hunting licence.
    Ive used a 340 wby and 375 H&H on most ELK HUNTS, you might not want to use those calibers but the same basic trajectory can be had with a 30/06 or a 270 win/

    you simply sight in at 100 yards off the bench on the yellow dot and have all the shots print over the smaller red dot,
    when you get out in the field, hold where the light green dot is it will produce a fatal wound out a bit past 300 yards,
    you sure don,t have to use this method or even agree but I can assure you its resulted in a bunch of dead elk

    years ago I saw a game department survey made where they asked hundreds of hunters at a western BLM check point, to look out at 5 different colored flags placed at random but carefully measured distances and write down what each person estimated the distance too be from the check point, they were handed a pen and a survey card, they were told NONE of the colored flags were at an even 100 yard multiple but that was the only info , each flag was a different, color, placed in a
    different direction and at a different distance.
    the survey taker pointed out each colored flag and asked them to write down their estimated range!
    they tabulated the actual hunters field estimates being made on the spot, vs the carefully measure actual distances.
    the results were about what Id have expected..after decades of listening to guys claim they killed deer & elk at 400 and 500 and 600 yards.......
    the vast majority were very VERY bad at estimating distances correctly past about 150 yards...some estimates that were over 70% wrong were not uncommon

    most people are pathetic shots if forced to shoot any place but on a bench rest at a shooting range where they get to practice,from,
    simply because, if your only practice is done off a concrete bench rest, at the local range , they get the absurd idea, that if they could keep a couple shoots within an inch or so, of the paper targets center, at 100 yards that most ranges are set up at, that under those conditions they are great shots, and will continue to be so out in the field.

    a bi-pod can improve field accuracy noticeably

    having to learn to shoot from field positions is hardly a new required skill.
    read what the requirements were in the civil war to become a member of berdans sharp shooters


    in order to qualify to be a member of the Sharpshooters; each man had to be able to place ten shots in a circle of 10 inches (250 mm) in diameter from 200 yards (180 m) away. They were able to choose a rifle and position of their preference for the test.
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  7. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    while we all like to brag about rifle we own that consistently shoot great tight groups, but the truth is that the vast majority of those BRAGGING SIZE GROUPS are all shot off a bench rest , and in the field thats not an option, and the vast majority of people can,t reliably and consistently hit a soda can, size target, at 200 yard on their first shot from field positions about 80% of the time if their lives depended on it.
    I'm certainly not suggesting group size does not matter , but if your worried about the difference between a load that consistently holds a 1.5" vs a 1" group off the bench your not looking at the factor that will cause you to fill or not fill your freezer!
    Id also point out that I constantly run into guys that tell me they bought a new 6.5 mm, 7 mm or 300 mag super zapper because they need to have a rifle that shoots flat at 600-700 yards.
    I have a difficult time not laughing out loud, when I see the way guys actually shoot in the field.
    I know from decades of hunting that theres two facts,
    (1) the vast majority of game is killed at under 200 yards.
    (2) the vast majority of hunters can,t reliably and consistently judge range in the field once the ranges exceed 300 yards
    if you can hit a 4" target at 150 yards on your first shot, using a quickly acquired rest or using a sling in the field under the conditions your going to see , 99% of the time, a better shot than most of the guys I've hunted with, yet most of those guys consistently kill deer/elk.
    most of the members in my hunt club struggle to consistently hit a 3" orange dot on the first shot, from a sitting position, or leaning over a tree branch,on the first shot at 100 yards, yet we regularly kill deer/elk.
    yes most of these guys can shoot 1" hundred yard groups off the bench rest easily
    have them walk 200 yards, at a steady pace, drop too a sitting position and try to hit a first shot on a 3" orange dot and your dealing with a vastly different game
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I generally assume I will have game down at some point so my day pack contains a dozen 2.5 gallon zip lock bags, tools to dress out game, knives sharpeners, and a small block & tackle
    meat will spoil rapidly unless cooled, rapidly, this generally won,t be a huge issue if you can place the full ziploc bags in a snow drift,
    maybe Im an optimist but I generally have at least 20 lbs of dry ice in a cooler back at my truck even before I have game down, most large grocery stores in game areas sell dry ice
    but you should make every effort to pack meat back to a cooler with dry ice as rapidly as you can do so
    .you may need to pack out a rear ham with the sex evidence still attached ( check local game laws)
    the sharade woodsman
    http://www.knifeoutlet.com/shop/10Expan ... e=SCH165OT


    two decent values in less expensive hunting knives

    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


    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 or similar pocket diamond hone

    now I don,t care if your built like a pro wrestler, or foot ball linebacker, if you dropped an Elk in some remote canyon,
    Ive run into guys who had an elk down in some remote canyon, with no idea or even vague plan on how to get it back to camp... like one guy said,
    " ive hunted elk for 5 years and this is the first time we ever actually shot one... now what do we do??"
    creek bottoms like this, where you typically find elk holed up during the season, may be easily a thousand feet of elevation or more and far more than a mile from where you can park your truck, and
    your not going to be able to drag the carcass out in one piece.I usually hunt thicker brush, and take my 450 marlin rifle or sometimes my 375 H&H carbine,
    now this carbine shoots flatter, but its not more effective like the ballistics on paper seem to suggest it might be, the fact is that the bigger caliber and heavier bullet seems to be just as effective in my experience inside of 250 yards.




    but once your games down you certainly don,t want to carry a rifle that might weight 8-10 lbs both ways while your packing a heavy back-pack out of some canyon.
    you'll need to at least 1/4 the game , so you'll have several very heavy loads and your not making it out of some canyon 1-4 miles from camp with a 60 lb-100 lb back pack load without a good deal of effort,
    in fact I've occasionally let barely legal elk walk right on by in the first few days of a hunt, hoping for something a bit more impressive so the required effort of dragging him out of some remote canyon would be a bit more justified in my mind. (not always smart but Ive done it several times)you may not be packing heavy loads but with the proper design what ever load you do pack will be far easier to handle, more stable and less fatiguing
    BTW good boots with ankle support and stiff cleat type bottoms are almost mandatory

    decent quality commercial pack are not cheap
    before you bring any back pack on a ELK HUNT youll want to test it out carefully, by actually testing it,with significant weight loaded over at least 30 minutes, what might feel OK in a 2 minute test WON,T feel the same after 30 minutes!
    you need to spread the significant load on your shoulders and hips and pad it as much as you can!
    you need too adjust the straps and hip belt so 80%-90% of the weights on your hips not your shoulders, and youll want too,find several trash bags and put a 80 lb bag of sand inside them,and duct tape them carefully so it won,t leak, then place the large load simulating a elk quarter or load of meat,in the pack. if your pack won,t fit a MINIMUM of that size load in its main compartment YOULL NEED TO LOOK INTO A LARGER STRONG PACK!
    then spend a minimum of two hours walking around ,ideally, up a few stairs,in some out door high school stadium or condo stair case,or across local hills etc, if the pack you selected squeaks or rips, under that load ,its JUNK and you just saved yourself a whole lot of grief knowing that well before the hunt, and getting a better pack is mandatory, because you normally will be packing gear into or elk meat in or out, in your pack, and a pack that fails 1/2 way up a steep canyon is a huge problem.
    I tried at least 4 different welded aluminum frame freighter style pack frames similar to this,(I'm sure theres a dozen good quality freighter packs but the ones I tried were junk!,) every one was noisy and eventually broke under the loads I packed out, of those canyons, they were a HUGE P.I.T.A. and in my opinion a waste of money
    http://www.eberlestock.com/miva/merchan ... ry_Code=BP
    these are supposed to be top quality
    the first few elk I packed out I used an external frame aluminum frame, pack. the first year was a total disaster as the riveted aluminum frame squeaked constantly and eventually broke under the 80 lb loads in very short order, the next year I bought a far stronger name brand welded frame ,that cost over $120 which was a huge expense in the early 1970s, it lasted two years before it broke , I explained my problem at cabelas store, to an old geezer who had actually experienced similar issues, and the guy suggested a cheap PEAK ONE pack,frame,at that time or something like the CURRENT RED HEAD ENDURO FLEX but suggested I have a better bag made,with a larger compartment, I bought a heavy nylon duffel bag and heavily modified it so it securely strapped too and was supported by the flex frame at a dozen plus all adjustable strap locations, on the frame, plus
    I used 20 feet of seat belt nylon and brass grommets to make a custom pack,support sewn to the edges with a great deal of sewing of seat belt web strap, to secure the duffel to the pack frame so it comfortably supported 100 lbs of sand bags inside the duffel ,the dozen plus individual buckle straps sewn so the weight stayed centered and close to my body, I bought far better quality hip and shoulder belts and added those and its lasted and worked for 30 plus years, its ugly and not high tech, but like a crowbar its hard to damage, and it works

    http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Endurofl ... LL_PRODUCT

    http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-RH5000-E ... 160606328/

    80%-90% of a loaded packs weight SHOULD be supported on your hips NOT the shoulder straps so a sturdy well padded hip belt is ABSOLUTELY mandatory
    you may NOT be able to fing a quality hip belt on a sturdy frame so mix & matching frames, belts and straps might be your only choice
    [URL='http://garage.grumpysperformance.com/"http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/311178472864?item=311178472864&vectorid=229466&rmvSB=true"']http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/3111784728 ... rmvSB=true[/URL]

    Ive always prefered to carry a magnum revolver in a shoulder holster when packing out meat, you certainly don,t want to discuss rightful ownership ,
    of your elk on a return pack trip un-armed if something with large teeth and claws has decided you must have left the parts you did not pack out initially simply because you had no further interest.
    so far I have generally used a small block & tackle to haul my elk up to dress it out, but even if your back in an hour or two, you might find your ownership challenged,
    so far, Ive had a bear only once feeding on the offal, when I returned and once he saw us, (my partner and I) he decided he had business elseware, but Id hate to be un-armed if he had decided otherwise.
    the 44 mag silhouette with adjustable front site and 10 5/8" barrel
    YES IT REQUIRES a shoulder holster to use comfortably
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018

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