Under gunned on elk hunt ughh

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by vmaxpro, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. brians356

    brians356 Gold $$ Contributor

    Nov 18, 2013
    Not if you pony up a little more for the telescoping barrel option.

    It wouldn't have mattered if you'd had a 33 Nosler shooting 1/3 MOA, you still shouldn't have taken that shot. Sorry, but that's just too far for an animal that large and that worthy. He's earned the right to an ethical shot. The difference between 500 and 700 yards is huge, IMO it's 3x more difficult at least.
  2. TheOtherZilla


    Oct 24, 2010
    They can say that. But back in the 70-80's All the elk I killed was with a 264 winMag and 140 nosler partitions.. And I killed quite a few. But none at 700 yds. All 250 and closer..
    brians356 likes this.
  3. JSH


    Apr 17, 2005
    I also commend you for your restraint.

    I have always been of the thoughts there is a huge difference in hunting and killing.
    That is one of the major reasons I started handgun hunting, I wanted to hunt.
    We all know the further the shot the more things that can happen.
    I have yet to be on a bad hunt. There is way more to it than coming home with meat and horns. Some of my best hunts I did not draw blood on anything.
    Fellowship, dark cold nights and clean air mean a lot.
  4. K22


    Jan 24, 2011
    The first question for all hunters is can you place a shot reliably in the vitals at the distance you plan to shoot under a field shooting conditions (not off a bench unless you plan to hunt off a bench). The only way to know is to test yourself by shooting some strings to determine you're maximum effective range.

    The second question is will the bullet have enough retained energy at that distance to make a humane kill.
    MrMajestic and steve123 like this.
  5. wboggs

    wboggs Gold $$ Contributor

    Nov 29, 2007
    Try to book enough time to avoid extreme ranges. Many times time and weather constraints cloud your judgement. I have taken many elk and passed up plenty. I never tried beyond 350 and came to rely on .338 cals.
    Whitey likes this.
  6. JimT

    JimT “I don’t even own a piece of camo!”-Kenny Jarrett

    Sep 18, 2006
    I’m always curious when I hear “there was
    no way to get any closer.” After all you’re going to have to get there to recover the animal.
    linebaugh likes this.
  7. CaptJim

    CaptJim Silver $$ Contributor

    Oct 8, 2017
    What a Beautiful scene!
    Down South likes this.
  8. lb-ft


    Jul 8, 2015
    Agree with all sentiments above. Elk are magnificent creatures; use plenty of gun, know your limits, know the environmental constraints. Practice practice practice.
    Whitey, Down South and GaryL1959 like this.
  9. CaptJim

    CaptJim Silver $$ Contributor

    Oct 8, 2017
    This... Part of the hunting experience is "stalking". Getting within ethical range and better yet, where you can see and appreciate the beauty of your quarry.
    When camping in Yellowstone with my dad in the 50's(showing my age) we saw many BIG bears. I was taught to respect the wildlife that was here long before we were and never to take life unless you were hungry or threatened. And always to respect the dignity of an animal to be taken with a quick and ethical kill.

    Down South, Tim a, linebaugh and 2 others like this.
  10. kelbro


    Aug 5, 2007
    These days I think more about how far I have to track them and haul them out.
    Flouncer, Rod S, Down South and 6 others like this.
  11. vmaxpro


    Jan 27, 2011
    technically I could of got closer to get the shot, had I had rock climbing gear. Below me was a almost vertical drop. My arthritis was telling me no haha.
    Down South, MrMajestic and Mulligan like this.
  12. bigngreen


    Jun 3, 2010
    A 338 isn't a magical elk killer unless you can handle one, the 300 WSM is an excellent option IMO, handles well and not overly hard on the shooter so they tend to do a good job and easily had enough poop to roll elk as far as your talking but you'll have to acquire the same skill sets as you would with the 6.5 or 338 to be effective. I've watched a number of bulls rolled at 600+ with a 215 Berger launched from a short barreled 300 WSM, it's one of my favorites especially suppressed!!! I would encourage you to not set a hard limit but to learn what conditions you can and can't make a good hit and let that guide you, some days you may be 100 yard others 1000 yards but basing it of conditions and yourself you'll never take a shot because it's inside your hard number but outside what the conditions allow if that makes sense!
    benchracer likes this.
  13. Tommie

    Tommie Gold $$ Contributor

    Apr 12, 2007
    Hunting once meant using one’s stalking skills. Seems now that’s been replaced with expensive scopes and super magnums.

    A couple months ago I was in the local barber shop. An “old timer” was talking about his father who shot 16 elk in his lifetime. That kept the family in meat. His rifle? A Savage 99 chambered in 250-3000. Today that combination is considered way too puny for an elk but this old gent actually stalked game and didn’t pull the trigger until he was within bow hunting range.

    Times have changed. Not better, not worse. Just changed. Case in point: This photo is from a 1938 Outdoor Life magazine I own. It’s a Remington Peters ammunition advertisement. Critters have apparently become tougher to kill in recent years.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    MrMajestic, vmaxpro, WyleWD and 4 others like this.
  14. Bill K

    Bill K Silver $$ Contributor

    Oct 16, 2011
    So true, Looking back I guess us older folks that have killed and many before us, that used 30-30, 45-70, 3006, 270, 25-06, the various 257 calibers and even the old 6.5 mauser's and other like that were just under gunned, by those the toot any thing smaller than a 300 super mag or larger, plus shooting and hunting them within a average of 100-200 yrds, rather than sniping them off at over 700, just did not know what we were missing, even though thousands of freezers were filled by deer, elk and moose meat and fed families over all those years, just did not know what we were missing. Right ?
  15. jds holler

    jds holler Gold $$ Contributor

    May 3, 2015
    I always have to mention this particular aspect of long range game shooting, because I've been bit on the butt by it a few times. --- sooo

    You've spotted that buck/bull of a lifetime across the canyon from your position. You're lucky to have your rangefinder, and note that the critter is well within the range that you and your rifle are capable of. (lets say five hundred yards).

    You hunker down and take the best rest available, and squeeze off a careful and calculated shot. The recoil of your loudenboomer blows your vision off of your target, but you manage to get a glance of the animal disappearing into one of the thickets which are numerous on the distant slope.

    You excitedly scope with your rifle to try and spot any sign of a dead or dying animal, but quickly realize that it's simply too thick and far to see anything. You also quickly learn that the terrain looks very different with your 10X binocs than it does with your rifle scope. You are even starting to doubt that you are looking at the same spot where your bull was standing when you took the shot.

    You are now confronted with the prospect of humping down to the bottom of the canyon, and back up the other side - distance of who the hell knows, and trying to keep yourself oriented as to where the bull was standing when you shot. As you finally begin climbing the other side you realize that the ground is torn up with many tracks of animals that have recently been traversing this slope. It's also annoying to realize that in this steep canyon country that the day is getting short, and you don't really have that much time.

    You can see where this is going, and believe me, it gets ugly, late, and dark before it's over. I've been there and done that, and am pretty proud to say that I've never lost an animal --- I think. I've also decided to keep my shots within about 300 yards. jd
  16. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Brass Whore

    Sep 17, 2011
    One problem that the "average" hunter - the guy who only owns 1-2 rifles, and shoots a box or two of ammo a year has, is that he cannot estimate distance accurately. I've encountered many, many people who call 100 yards 300, and 300 yards 1,000. I'm sure that many of us have encountered similar situations. This makes shooting at game animals more than 100-150 yards especially troubling, regardless of what cartridge they're shooting.
  17. RegionRat


    Jun 19, 2011
    Discuss the topic of killing elk with an elk guide and you will get some interesting perspectives.

    It is more like 75% Indian, and 25% arrow... but bring enough arrow...

    It means the hunter must place the shot with enough skill to hit an imaginary basketball centered on the elk's heart. If you can't hit a basketball with about 95% probability, the shot isn't ethical. Even then, the cartridge must produce enough penetration and damage to be ethical, which is much more than just lethal. A chest hit from a pellet rifle is lethal, but how long will that take?

    For a .30-06 with a 165gr, that ethical damage level maxes out at about 500 yards, at which point the hit amounts to an arrow stick. Hit that basketball and it does the job, miss it and you are in for a long chase.

    Bullet speeds below about 2300 fps or 1500 Ft*lbs, are the point at which the damage levels no longer look like rifle hits. Some of the 6 and 6.5 cartridges make very accurate hits and with high BC hunting bullets are capable at ranges on the order of 300 to 500 yards or even more with the more powerful designs. But how about those times when the only clear shot you get isn't a perfect broadside pose?

    Just remember how much bone and muscle there is in an elk shoulder or off angle shot before you take that shot past 500 yards. If you are punching rib to rib, even that 243 will work at 500. Quartering through a shoulder is a different story. That is when you will wish for a better angle or a bigger gun. Too many rookies pull the trigger and either break a leg or gut shoot at that instant with an under-caliber gun.

    Congrats on not pulling the trigger on a bad shot. May you never have the disappointment of having a wounded escape, and may you be rewarded with many more seasons.
  18. kelbro


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slightly off-topic but all four of my elk have fallen to a 100gr Slick Trick broadhead. Shooting something the size of a cow with a rifle has never been appealing to me. I'm not against it at all and I'm not saying that I wouldn't do it. It's just not my style of hunting. Now that I've torn my rotator cuff and don't want to draw that bow back any more (physical therapy is a bitch!) I might reconsider rifle hunting for elk.
    TheOtherZilla likes this.
  19. Mr.Knowit all

    Mr.Knowit all Silver $$ Contributor

    Mar 15, 2016
    You ABSOLUTELY made the right call. VERY FEW people have the skill to make that shot, especially on a monster elk and as you stated you were under gunned at that range.... I absolutely HATE those hunters that shoot a 2-4 boxes (or less)a year and then think they have any business making a shot like that.
    You only ever hear about the hits not the misses.
    linebaugh likes this.
  20. hunter67


    Jan 10, 2019
    Boy isn't that the truth. Like people who go to Vegas only hear about the wins not the losses. If I were a guide I would use my portable steel, which are 10" circles, and when people say I shoot LR I would say what is your max distance and then put the steel out and say show me. Ninety percent wouldn't hit it. I learned that lesson shooting PRS on a stage called know your limits. Most hunters don't really know their limits as that takes a lot of time at the range learning and understanding your equipment and most importantly you.

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