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Big bodied bull elk, lousy shot, long recovery.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  2. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    The bull up on the bank of the creek. That should have been my buddy posing with him but he insisted that it be me. He’s a humble man who took no credit or praise for his spectacular shooting.
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    He was a big bodied bull. He took up the whole bed with the tailgate down. It took two cowboys one wife and one daughter and one me to load him.
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    The girls getting him skinned and quartered.
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    Hes now in manageable size pieces for transport.
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    As soon as we got home I had to jump in the shower and get to work. My girls spent the rest of the day cutting and preparing the meat. I’m going to brag a bit here. I’ve got the best wife, and family a man could ask for! I wouldn’t trade them for anything or anybody. We are a blessed family and I am a lucky and blessed man.

    As a final note on the lousy shooting. That’s what it was on my part, the rifle is spectacularly accurate, the lighting was what it was, I flubbed the shot it was 100% my fault, I take full ownership of it.

    All I had to do was roll over and get prone and to get more steady. I got in a rush and screwed up the shot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  3. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    You truly are!
    Thanks for the story and the pics.:)
     
  4. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    I think almost every one of us has been there and done that!:( Congrats on a nice bull.:)
     
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  5. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    A great story and well told . :thumbup:
     
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  6. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. :)
     
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  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Sometimes animals just don't want to die, even with good hits. The deer I killed that ran the greatest distance weighed right at 100 lbs and took a double lung shot from a 30-06. He ran 100 yards, fortunately never out of sight.

    I know you'd never do anything illegal, but gotta ask. Seems a bit early for rifle elk season. Was this some sort of special tag?
     
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  8. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    The main thing is, after all is said and done, the bull was recovered in short order and didn't suffer for long. Where did your first shot end up?
     
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  9. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Colorado Eastern plains elk season. Sept 1 to January 30. It’s a C tag over the counter and you can buy as many of these either sex tags as you want and you can have them in addition to your regular A/B draw or over the counter tags.

    The trick is there is virtually no public land in the units they are valid in and extremely low elk populations in general in these units.
     
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  10. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Behind the ribs, gut shot. I’m not sure what I hit on that shot but from the blood sign in his bed he was bleeding fairly heavily from that wound.

    The second shot where he was hard quartered away hit him too. It went between shoulder and the ribs it actually broke a couple ribs and I think might have just nicked his left lung. He was bleeding pretty good from that wound too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  11. 1976B.L.Johns.

    1976B.L.Johns. Member

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    Thanks for sharing... we love stories like that.
    Blessed you are!
     
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  12. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the story.

    Been there done that, tho not with an animal that large.....well maybe, the feral bull I dumped 5 rounds from my 7stw into a few years was probably about 1000lbs, and managed to die about 300yds from the closest road.

    The shot that stopped him was to the base of his tail, dead away, broke the pelvis and crippled him. Not a nice way to do the job, but it's a functional way to stop stuff.
     
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  13. Gary Gill

    Gary Gill Member

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    Great write up. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I see it now. I thought you were in Colorado and on page 32 of the regs it shows Oct 12 as the beginning of 1st rifle season. It doesn't show the Eastern Plains dates until page 37. I'd never noticed the seasons were different in that part of the state.

    Here in GA if deer are causing too much crop damage farmers can apply for a depredation permit. They are allowed to kill a certain number of deer off their property and they can be taken at any time, no set season to take them. I was thinking Colorado may do something similar and this was the type of tag you had.
     
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  15. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

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    That dressed Bull looks awfully tasty! A blessed family is going to be eating some very blessed meals! I'm jealous!
     
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  16. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Great story and pics. Looks like the womenfolk know what they're doing! I'd love to hunt big game but I'm too poor for a guide and I don't know anyone who knows what he's doing. :D

    I wish my town allowed in-town archery tags. There were three big buck mulies in my yard last night eating my plums and pears.
     
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  17. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    Good deal H&H, and hope we have more hunting stories coming from you this year:)
     
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  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The Club President is an avid hunter and was telling me Moose hunting stories. And the word of advice I remember is: "don't shoot them in the water!". He must have had an experience like yours, but with a 800 lb Moose in a pond.
     
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  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    We already have several more waiting to be written. :)
     
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    76194BF1-2A97-41F2-8088-A230FBA704A4.jpeg Same ranch the day after I shot my bull. This is another lucky friend.
     
  21. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree on that! Kim and the girls are great people! (Don't know why you deserved them, but there you are.)

    I've been on a few tough retrievals myself. These days I limit myself to game that will fit in my vest, but I have some great memories!
     
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  22. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    You can always tell the one about the duck call bringing in a bull I missed...
     
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  23. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Great hunt,
    Story
    Friends
    Family
    Salute to all!
    Thanks for posting.
     
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  24. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    o_O
    OK, now you HAVE to tell this story. ;)
     
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  25. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s so bizarre I’m afraid you guys would think we were lying.:rofl:
     
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