I’ve got a good buddy who is a longtime rancher in my area. Several days ago he called and asked me if I’d like to come out and shoot a cull bull or a cow off his place as the elk have been eating him out of profits lately. I readily agreed even though I was on a tight time crunch for the day he was available to hunt. Early the next morning I found myself sitting on a hill over looking a creek just south of the hay field that the 100 or so elk have been freely dining on and enjoyed watching the sunrise. As it became light enough to see we quickly spotted a big bodied fully mature 5x5 bull elk with a short and unimpressive rack, a perfect cull bull. He was wandering between us and the creek I ranged him at 335 yards. We had to wait several minutes for legal shooting light and the elk was slowly meandering towards the south boundary of the ranch. My buddy says “Get on him and get ready to shoot I’ll let you know the moment we are legal”. As I get on him I’m having a hard time focusing and getting a clear picture of the bull in the scope. Between the rising sun that we are looking into and a slight haze in the air it is really tough to get a clear picture of the elk through my scope. We were seated on a steep hill with the rifle rested on a fully extended long Harris bipod and I’ve got a slight bit of wobble, nothing horrible but I’m not rock steady. I am shooting a custom built .300 Dakota which is unbelievably accurate. It’s a gun that a good friend and gunsmith built for me several years ago and I’ve spent very little time with. I have had a desire to shoot a critter with it for some time and this morning seemed like the perfect opportunity. At exactly legal shooting time my buddy gives me the okay. I slip the safety off, get into the gun and get as steady as I can. It feels okay. The elk is still fuzzy in the scope due to the lighting conditions but I feel I can see him good enough. I let my breath half way out and squeeze the trigger. The morning solitude is shattered with the loud crack of the big .300 Dakota. I am treated to an extremely loud “Kuggelshlog”, that wet kerthump sound as the bullet hits flesh. The bull jerks, spins and goes down. I’m thinking awesome, he’s done. Just about then he gets up and slowly starts walking towards the creek I try to get another shot on him but he’s quartered hard almost straight away. I fire again when I get just a slight bit of angle and think I hit him but can’t tell for sure he goes another 15 or 20 yards then falls over and disappears into some tall chamisa brush. We wait both hoping that he’s dead but knowing he probably isn’t from the way he reacted. We continue to wait for a good 30 minutes and he hasn’t moved. I tell my buddy to wait up high where he can see him if he gets up, and I’ll go and see if he’s down. I tell him if he gets up and I don’t see him, shoot him. I wander down towards the bedded bull and between him and I there is a deep gully. Just as I’m climbing out the back side I hear a “kerboom, THWACK” and then another. The bull had gotten up and was just getting ready to drop off into the creek. My buddy shot and center punched the lungs twice with his trusty old push feed model 70 .30-06. He did so on a moving elk at well over 400 yards twice from a seated position and both rounds were within 10 inches of each other. This was some spectacular shooting on his part. There is a saying about a man who only shoots one rifle and being deadly with it and this guys is the epitome of that saying. After the shots I topped the hill and heard a loud crash then a splash. I was thinking it was the bull running off through the creek. I was wrong. The splash was the bull tumbling into the creek dead. Our morning just got a bit more interesting. Not only was he in the creek dead he was in the steepest and most brushy part of the creek. My buddy showed up at the scene and we stood pondering the situation for a while as we couldn’t a vehicle get within a couple of hundred feet of the creek. I then remembered that I had a 500 foot recovery rope at the house. My wife was groggy when I called her, but she’s always one for a little adventure. Within the hour she and my daughter happily arrived at the scene with the recovery rope in tow. My buddy and I rigged the rope. I got the honor of getting into the creek with the bull to rig up the elk. The water was brisk and the mud was deep. But with some fine finagling and few choice words we were able to extract the bull with the help of my wife, daughter, buddy, extra long snatch rope, and a pick up truck.