1st elk hunt/I need a psychiatrist

TheZenTex

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Oct 3, 2022
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nice thread. Going next year on my first western hunt with my cousin. Pretty excited about it.
 

BenP

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Jan 15, 2022
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NC
Bummed for you that you couldn't find him. The first buck I shot I couldn't find, no blood and multiple deer out there so no clue which tracks were his. Even the dog couldn't find him. Well the buzzards led me to him a week later, still bothers me to this day but hard to find them if there is no blood and you can't see where they go.

You did a great job and have helped all of us that are still planning our first elk hunts.

CBA6EADA-5D61-422E-BDC1-81D73969AC70.jpeg
 

westbranch

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Sep 11, 2017
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ID Panhandle
That is a bummer. I also did not recover the elk I wounded in September, pretty safe to assume mine died due to being gut shot. Debated going back later to look for birds but decided against it since the meat would have soured at that point. Did not want the antlers without the meat.
 

brymoore

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May 24, 2007
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Idaho
@clharr What is your rifle situation? You mention dialing at 322 yards. I shoot the step cousin to your 7mm Rem, 280ai. My rifle would be within MBPR or MOE (minute of elk) at that range.

Ammunition?
 
L

longbow51

Guest
Don't know what to say to make you feel better. Other than maybe practice more in field conditions with sticks/pack and sling. Get off the bench. And, I too, question dialing at 323.

Anyway, don't let it haunt you. More important issues in life.
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Feb 10, 2018
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@clharr What is your rifle situation? You mention dialing at 322 yards. I shoot the step cousin to your 7mm Rem, 280ai. My rifle would be within MBPR or MOE (minute of elk) at that range.

Ammunition?
Christensen Mesa, Leupold VX Freedom and 165 Sierra game kings. My MBPR shows to be 290yds.
I was a shooter before I was a hunter and was trained to dial elevation and hold for wind so that’s what I still do if it’s past 300yds or so.
 

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HuntTalk Freak

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Don't know what to say to make you feel better. Other than maybe practice more in field conditions with sticks/pack and sling. Get off the bench. And, I too, question dialing at 323.

Anyway, don't let it haunt you. More important issues in life.
I have a private range with steel targets at various ranges out to 350 that I use for training for my western hunts. I shoot off my pack or tripod and sometimes a bipod to mimic what I’d be doing on a hunt.
In a previous life I made cold bore shots on human heads and torsos all the way out to 1150. But I’m not infallible and obviously my shots in this instance were not good enough.
This was my three shot group off a bipod and rear bag the week before I left. 780A66D0-511F-4374-B619-8EC340150278.jpeg
And this was the same with my back up rifle. 2E161609-CE2F-464F-B569-11D742AA32F4.jpeg
 

mtnrunner260

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May 26, 2015
Messages
257
Bummer on not finding the elk. It happens.
I have to say I commend you for sharing your story and caring about the whole deal. Seems that there is way to much "oh well" when this happens.
You will be enjoying elk backstrap after your next tag.
 

David58

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Oct 13, 2020
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Northern NM
I drove nineteen hours home today. Made it home safe to my girls and that’s what truly matters in the long run. The whole scenario will be playing in my head for a good while as I’ll question myself on it until the day I stop hunting and after.
Understand the need to get home, having a limited time to hunt. Bummer you ran out of time. These days if I shot one on the last day, I have the ability to afford some days without pay, have bosses that understand (they all hunt), and could stay out till I found it (or till it got ridiculous). And 19 hour drive? Glad you made it home - I'm too old for drives like that. Next time - the experience you gained on this trip will be worth a ton.

David
NM
 

woods89

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Oct 27, 2021
Messages
508
That's tough. I've been there, not on elk, but it's not a good feeling.

I'd want to re check zero on that rifle. One thing that has come out of the Rokslide scope evaluations is that a lot of scopes lose zero pretty easily. You obviously know how to shoot, I'd be a little suspicious that something mechanical is awry. On the other hand, shooting in the mountains isn't easy, either.

I hope your next hunt makes up for this one.
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Feb 10, 2018
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Bummed for you that you couldn't find him. The first buck I shot I couldn't find, no blood and multiple deer out there so no clue which tracks were his. Even the dog couldn't find him. Well the buzzards led me to him a week later, still bothers me to this day but hard to find them if there is no blood and you can't see where they go.

You did a great job and have helped all of us that are still planning our first elk hunts.

View attachment 245109
Man thats a bummer but at least you found him later. That's a nice buck too, he's got some good borwtines!
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Cliff Gray on Youtube has a great video on Altitude sickness and ways to help some.
I actually watch a lot of his videos and even watched that one before I left and twice today. But, all the advice in the world is for naught if you don't follow it. I'm the type that just thinks he can push through anything and while that may have been true twenty years ago I've had my ass handed to me a few times these past few years; reality is starting to sink in.
The caloric and sleep deprivation caused by the altitude and my inability to recognize such problems really had me jacked up mentally and physically, one of my buddies that I was in contact with called me out on it during one of our text conversations.
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Feb 10, 2018
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Understand the need to get home, having a limited time to hunt. Bummer you ran out of time. These days if I shot one on the last day, I have the ability to afford some days without pay, have bosses that understand (they all hunt), and could stay out till I found it (or till it got ridiculous). And 19 hour drive? Glad you made it home - I'm too old for drives like that. Next time - the experience you gained on this trip will be worth a ton.

David
NM
I had already planned on leaving a day before season closed to be able to take my time getting home and back to work. Had I been in a better mental state I know I would have stayed and search another full day. Unfortunately I'm on the verge or getting a "write up" for attendance at work for missing days to stay home and take care of my sick daughter. I normally wouldn't care about that but I'm working or getting a promotion and transfer.

That drive home was the dumbest decision of the whole trip.
 

HuntTalk Freak

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Feb 10, 2018
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I haven't forgotten about posting tips and lessons learned but want to do a proper write up seperate from this thread that others can contribute to. I know these type of threads have been done before but I feel there are some things to discuss on the nonhunting side of these trips that are often overlooked and even things on the hunting aspect that guys use to western hunting take for granted that us flatlanders don't consider. I'm still working out a outline and rough draft. Should have something up next week after my shifts this weekend.
 

kimbertracks

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Oct 26, 2022
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16
Location
Wyoming
Good plan, but know that elk run downhill into holes to die. Always. Unless your truck is down there. Then they run over the next ridge, and downhill to die. Always.

Lots of small loads will get'er done.

:)
Yep, they always seem to climb the highest ridge first! :ROFLMAO:
 

kimbertracks

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Joined
Oct 26, 2022
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16
Location
Wyoming
I'm so sorry to hear about you losing your elk! I know it's too late for your trip, but there are a lot of people following your thread, so hopefully it will help someone else...if you lose blood, call for a tracking dog before grid searching. Don't save using a tracking dog as the LAST resort! There are a lot of good tracking dogs in Colorado; however, if you grid search first, the chance of a dog recovering your elk/deer drops drastically, as the scent gets spread everywhere. If you DO grid search, save your track on a GPS/OnX so you can show the tracker exactly where you searched. To find a dog in Colorado, go to https://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org/find-a-tracker/ and find a tracker in your area. You can also join the Rocky Mountain Big Game Recovery Facebook group. We are a network of trackers in the Rocky Mountain region who try our best to find the hunter a tracker in their area! https://www.facebook.com/groups/344223976211356
Good luck to all you hunters!!!!
 

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