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Discussion in 'Food' started by ChuckMejia, May 16, 2018.
Do we have any people here that hunt Elk?
I have some questions if you don't mind me asking ...
I've been a couple times.. gotta use a big cal, and they're a bitch to field clean. Lol
Fogettaboutit.. You'd ruin that flawless manicure...
But I'm sure @mdwest knows what's up. Not sure who else would. Maybe Jake? @JG358
Ask away brother
I've got some land in Southern Colorado that we bought specifically for elk and mule deer hunting... We (wife and I) are pretty avid hunters, and spend several weeks a year chasing big game, both in the US and abroad..
Contrary to popular belief, you dont need a whole lot of rifle for elk.. just about any center fire rifle 27 caliber or larger is appropriate.. My wife took a really nice/large elk cow last year at about 135 yards with her .308, shooting 165gr barnes TTSX.. We're having her a custom .270 built right now.. it will likely be her deer and elk gun this season..
The #1 consideration for me in determining what rifle I am going to take on an elk hunt is WHERE I am hunting.. if its on our property in SO CO, either my 7x57, or my .308 is more than enough.. The property is pretty heavily wooded, and the longest possible shot I could possibly take is inside of 200 yards... Other places where a 200+ yard shot might be possible I'll typically reach for my 7mm WSM.. having a flat shooting magnum in hand that delivers the projectile at a higher velocity helps out a little if youre needing to cover some distance.. But even then Im typically just shooting a 150gr 7mm projectile (same projectile Im shooting in the 7x57.. Im just firing it at a higher velocity out of the WSM)...
If youre considering WHERE to elk hunt, there are lots of options.. but Colorado is where I normally recommend for someone just starting out.. you can obtain an elk tag over the counter there.. in most states you have to enter the lottery, and will likely be looking at a several year wait before you build up enough preference points to give you any chance at getting drawn.. Tags can also be ridiculously expensive in some states.. so, after you have waited a couple of years to get drawn, and then have to shell out a good chunk of change to actually get your tag, most people are inclined to hire a guide, which brings a better chance of success, but also costs another pretty substantial chunk of change..
oh... if youre not currently a hunter.. hunting elk will either kill your desire to ever hunt again, or will hook you for life.. there is no in between
they are NOT easy to hunt, and success rates are generally much, much lower than deer, hogs, and other large game.. you hunt them at altitude.. its cold.. the air is thin.. they are cautious.. etc.. its not uncommon to spend 3-4 days in a row freezing your butt off, covered in snow, plowing up and down a mountain between 9000-11000 feet above sea level.. and never see or hear a damn thing.. it takes special equipment (cold weather gear, wet weather gear, calls, etc..).. and it takes some skills that arent required on other hunts (you need to know how to call... which isnt nearly as easy as you might think...)..
but the first time you bugle, and a big 6x6 bull bugles back at you.. and then comes crashing through the woods straight at you 10 minutes later... you'll be hooked for life..
there is something particularly cool/fun/exhilarating about hunting animals that you have to talk to, and they have to talk back to you as part of the hunt..
I just spent last weekend chasing Rio Grande Turkeys in North Texas and called in a monster gobbler on the first afternoon I was out int he woods.. I never could get him to come in close enough for the shot.. but spent a full half hour "talking" to him, and had him strutting all over the field and acting like a damn fool before he finally got frustrated and moved on.. I didnt shoot a turkey last weekend.. but it was still a "successful" hunt in my book.. I managed to call one in (just couldnt get him inside 50 yards), and had a blast interacting with him and the probably 2 dozen hens I called in over the weekend... for me, pulling the trigger and filling the freezer is only 1 small component of "hunting".. being out in the woods and interacting with wildlife is a much bigger piece..
With animals like elk (and turkey) there is generally a lot more interaction than with deer, pigs, bears, etc.. where you largely set up an ambush over a food plot, water source, bedding area, etc.. and just wait for them to go where they normally go and do what they normally do... with elk you need to lure him into the ambush.. or do a "spot and stalk" which is a whole 'nother kind of hunt all together..
Had my first elk hunt last September and filled my tag. Most exhilirating thing I have ever done. Shooting was the easy part. Field dressing then walking 200+lbs of quartered meat a mile out of the dense woods was more than I had prepared for but worth every minute.
My hunting rules:
1. Don't shoot unless you have a clean, clear shot.
2. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
3. Make the best shot you can, adrenaline pumping through game meat makes it taste "gamey"
4. Get the skin off and cool the meat asap for the best tasting meat possible.