how many guys have successfully still hunted elk?

Discussion in 'misc hunting and range related' started by grumpyvette, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    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 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
    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)
  2. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    that thread on still hunting brought back , memories ,
    back in the 1980s I was teaching a friend how to still hunt thru the canyons on snowy days, I had selected my 375H&H sako carbine and he had a remington 700 in 375 H&H. we intended to backpack into the area and cold camp, we had sleeping bags, and a two man tent and some food , but were traveling as light as we could ,intending on a 3-4 day backpack hunt. we had selected a rather steep and narrow canyon with a small stream in its lower stretch that spread out into a shallow beaver pond , that was surrounded by aspen and conifer , now it was snowing fairly heavy that morning, and temps were in the low 20f range, we had split up,early in the morning, so that each of us was moving a roughly parallel course, on opposite slopes of the canyon. but usually each hunter was about 150-250 yards up from the steam in the canyon base, and on opposite slopes and about 300-350 yards apart , we were hoping to see or move elk and get a shot or get close , to the elk ,as they were most likely bedded in the conifers, and as each guy moved slowly and carefully,in the aspen and conifer,cover looking at fresh tracks, occasionally we could smell elk, but we had not yet seen them,yet tracks were plentiful,in the fresh snowfall, the wind was very light but still we were walking into the wind and could see this easily in the direction of snow falling.
    at one point a shale slide reached down to the stream from the rim rock up slope from a considerable distance and not wanting to expose himself or slip on the loose shale my partner had hand signaled that he was moving down to the stream until he could move up in tree cover past the shale, as he reached the lower canyon he decided to walk over to b,s, a bit about the hunt, he started walking walking across the mostly ice covered stream, carefully stepping on rocks, about 1/2 way across the 30 feet of stream he slipped and instantly found himself flat on his back in 18" of broken ice and ice cold water, he let out a scream , I hardly imagined as human, that probably caused every elk in 1/2 mile too go cross eyed , and tremble in fear,and loose control of their bowels and assume a 5 ton,starving tyrannosaur was stalking them that was highly pissed off.
    he was soaked and ice started forming on his clothes almost instantly, we built a small fire and he stripped out of the majority of the cloths and wrung them out,and dried them out and put on a dry extra down vest and fleece jacket and extra dry socks we carried in day packs and with in 45 minutes he was essentially dry and reasonably warm again, but obviously that section of the canyon was totally elk free at that point. so after making sure he was not going into hypothermia we moved reasonably rapidly about a mile up canyon before seeing mule deer and deciding we could continue still hunting elk.
    you guys that are no doubt thinking, 'Ive never got soaked or had a problem, with equipment malfunctions, while hunting, are making me laugh so hard I have tears, if youve hunted enough youve experienced wet equipment, and yes even when packed in heavy trash bags inside a pack! I can remember guys falling into streams ,wading streams and falling, guys getting soaked too the skin in rain squalls , condensation dripping from tent ceilings,even packed canteens or leaking soft drink cans,leaking into equipment, ice and snow melting on equipment.
    camp and hunt long enough and your see stuff happens!
  3. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I was talking to one of my friends (FRANK) who lives out in Colorado in woodland park, and I ask him what rifle he used last season,for his elk hunt, now he owns a 308 win blr, 25/06 ruger 77 and 338 win ruger 77 and a Winchester model 70 30/06 , so its not like he has nothing to pick from.
    well he said he has used the BLR in 308 loaded with a 200 grain bullet over 45 grains of ww760 just like hes used for the last several years simply because it works fine, he had the ammo loaded and he can,t remember seeing an elk or mule deer at over 200 yards during the season in years ... er&Source= ... =000212211

    now keep in mind he lives in an area thats mostly made up of open fields and rolling hills and patches of aspen in the 5000-6000 elevation range, and he purchased both the 25/06 and 338 bolt actions because when he moved out to Colorado 30 years ago everyone told him hunting would be at long ranges, and while he freely admits there are occasional shots to be had at 300-500 yards near where he lives they are not all that common.
    When I asked why the BLR ?
    I find his answer was that he is fairly good at collecting at least one or the other big game species each season and he dosen't look for big racks, just for a full freezer,so its not like he doesn,t hunt, its just that he has a rather pragmatic outlook and just carries the BLR because it works and its handy compared to the bolt guns
    or to put it like he did

    " moneys tight, I had several boxes of those 200 grain speer bullets loaded, that we used for years and didn,t want to spend money needlessly and Ive never seen anything that BLR won,t kill easily, loaded with those 200 grain speer bullets and the BLR in its slip case fits behind the seat in my bronco easier than the bolt guns"
  4. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I got a call from FRANK today, he only had a few days to hunt this year, (second rifle season) so he was happy to get a decent mule deer buck with his BLR using the same 308 loaded with 200 grain speer bullets over 44 grains of WW760 and a 215 fed primer.

    he said this year he simply walked up on a ridge he had previously been cutting fire wood on from a bunch of old dead aspen logs and sat down, not really expecting to see much but knowing he was in an area he had seen deer frequently in over the last few months.
    After sitting and watching untill almost dark, and starting to get a bit cold he looked around and was rather surprised to find a couple deer were walking rather casually out into the meadow below him at about 200 yards range and slightly below his location.
    placing his back pack as a rifle rest on a stump he was sitting near and using it to steady the BLR he slowly squeezed of a shot.
    the deer he shot at was a small legal 4 point that stayed right where it was while the does with the buck scattered and ran, he was a bit uncertain of his hit and was starting to take aim again when thru his scope he saw the buck just as he stated "DEFLATE" as he sank to the ground and tipped over , the shot had passed behind the near side shoulder and angled thru the buck, exiting the far side near the last rib, destroying the lungs and liver, then exiting.
    he had his buck and he stated it took about 2 hours to drag it the 300 yards to the edge of a logging road where he got his truck too, then a 20 minute drive home where he field dressed the deer and let it hang in the garage over a huge plastic tarp in the 35f-40F night time temps, according to frank the area he hunted looked a bit like this picture

    [​IMG] ... =000212211 ... type=Rifle
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2017
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    well I got a call from Frank last night ,he got his mule deer , with his 308 win blr and that 200 grain speer, ammo,
    Id helped him load up a few years ago.
    a privately own area that, covered about 300 acres , a friend owned that had sparse aspen,and rolling mostly open terrain, but mostly sparse sage and oak brush,
    there was several other, much larger private properties surrounding that area, that he could not get access too hunt, and one side of the area he could hunt was bordered on one edge by a private road.(your not allowed to discharge a rifle near or across a road, so he was limited to shooting to the 180 degrees facing away from the road)
    he knew from experience that the deer tended to travel a rather well defined route that was over a rise from the road so they were well out of sight,
    but that area was a sloped area with virtually no decent cover.
    Now franks seen me use a ghillie suit in the past in similar conditions and he had recently purchased one dirt cheap at a local yard sale, so he figured he would try it out by.
    simply wrapping his rifle loosely in a burlap bag and laying out virtually in the open in an area on the sage slope where he could in theory get a good shot, if the deer ignored him.
    his suit looked a bit like the one pictured below but he said it was mostly sage green and light tan,
    he said he walked out, laid down and after about 30 minutes he was starting to think this was a stupid idea, but he forced himself to stay still, and it eventually paid off, as a group of deer trotted out , of the adjacent private property totally oblivious to his presents , he had all the time he wanted or needed to take a 120 yard prone shot at a decent size 4x4 buck, even after the shot the other deer acted confused and only ran once he stood up.
    the buck he hit, had turned to look back at the property it had just left as if watching something that had prompted, it to leave that cover, on private property, after the 200 grain speer bullet impacted, that buck, stood as if dazed for several seconds then slowly caved in, tipping over backwards, Frank said the bullet was a raking shot, that entered near the last rib, passed through a lung and the liver and excited behind an off side shoulder
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    frank mentioned that a neighbor had told him he was making a huge mistake ,
    using a 200 grain speer bullet for hunting deer and elk with that 308 BLR carbine,
    as it would , in his opinion, not be nearly as flat of a trajectory nor would it retain near the knock down or impact energy that a 165 grain bullet would.
    (yes a 165 grain is more popular, but that does not mean its the best choice, yes it will work out fine, as will the 180 grain bullet, )
    frank had brought up the same concerns when we loaded that ammo and I simply asked him to sit down and do the required math
    before we loaded two hundred cartridges,
    that hes still using very effectively 20 plus years later

    I simply showed Frank his options too compare his options,
    and after sighting in his 308 win BLR at 100 yards too hit 3.5" high he should try it out in the field on game.
    once he had done that, he had simply agreed too either find out from actual field use if the combo worked well, and if it had not, he was of course free to try something else as ammo.
    I also reminded frank that in the last 40 plus years I had never yet seen him shoot any game at over 200 yards.
    the result was that Frank has not changed a damn thing in over 20 years simply because hes seen no reason to do so!
    Frank generally sets up a target at 100 yards and fires a couple shots to verify the rifle and scope and ammo still hit where its been hitting for decades, and goes hunting, I doubt if he uses more than 4-5 cartridges a year but he generally has meat in the deep freezer.
    I've heard frank say, hes loaded a few more boxes over the years , with that same speer 200 grain bullet, he buys when he sees them on sale, loaded over 45 grains of ww760 ... er&Source= ... =000212211

    many guys assume that the faster velocity you can get from the lighter weight projectile weight automatically results in a much flatter trajectory, but like a bad-mitten shuttle cock, they start out fast but rapidly loose velocity because the lower mass and lower ballistic inefficiency, does not retain that energy as effectively.
    Frank has admitted several times that he was not willing to shoot at game at ranges over 300 yards , but he also admits hes never yet had an opportunity to even try, long range shooting, simply because the areas in Colorado we hunt are rather hilly and even the open sage brush hills and sparse aspen groves he hunted recently had allowed him to get well inside 200 yards before making any shot at game!
    now Id be the first guy in line to tell you anything from a 257 roberts with a 100 grain bullet, or 25/06 with a 120 grain bullet to a 458 lott with a 400 grain bullet will kill any elk or deer, that walks, in the hands of a decent shot, that knows how to use his weapon of choice effectively, and its the skill of the guy using the rifle, and the areas he might choose to hunt, much more than the rifle he selected to use that will determine the outcome of the hunt.
    but what ever you select it makes a lot of sense to select the most effective ammo combo you can.
    (btw , the reason we selected speer 200 grain bullets at the time was that they were on sale and the hornady 190 grains were not available at the time...and are now replaced by the 200 grain edl-x design, ID use today)

    frank brought out a printed piece of paper he had stuck in his reloading manual and showed his neighbor the results Id had him print out on the trajectory calculations,over 20 years ago
    and yes a reluctant convert to the concept of use of heavier more efficient projectile choice was added too the fold.... especially once Frank brought back that mule deer that had a complete pas through bullet and has described how that deer just did not travel any distance after he was hit
    Ballistic Results - 200 speer 308
    when sighted in at 3.5" high at 100 yards you,ll hit about 23" low at 400 yards and dead on near 230 yards
    have about 1556 ft lbs of retained energy at 400 yards
    Ballistic Results - 165 speer 308
    when sighted in at 2.8" high at 100 yards you,ll hit about 22" low at 400 yards and dead on near 230 yards
    have about 1336 ft lbs of retained energy at 400 yards

    theres several good hunting bullet manufacturers

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017

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