Common Sense overwhelmed by Greed...


Active member
Dec 25, 2000
Another hunting season where the disappointment rivals that of last years sheep hunt.
My wife and I drew Wyoming Area 55 for the late season "any" elk tag. What we had been praying for all summer happened the day of our arrival, we set up camp (5th wheel camper) in heavy snow. Wapati, WY had received about 8 inches of snow that morning, with more in the mountains of Yellowstone Park. This should start the elk migrating into our area where they will winter.
Our first day's hunt produced no fresh elk sign. Our only animal sighting was a fairly large, somewhat aggitated grizzly.
Our second day's hunt, while driving to the area where we were supposed to walk into, provided us with several elk sighting from the highway which borders the North Fork of the Shoshone River.
During the first five days of hunting we saw no elk in the mountains where elk were supposed to be! We saw all of our elk from the highway (15 mature bulls, 4 raghorns, 3-4 spikes and 30+ cows/calves). Of the 15 bulls, probably 10 were within shooting range. Three of the ten would have gone between (just guessing here) 300 to 320 points. The best one we saw was within 75 to 80 yards away in an open area feeding; however, in my "infinite wisdom" I would not let my wife take one of these bulls. With us only being 5 days into our hunt with 8 hunting days yet to go and the abundance of bulls we were seeing, I thought things could only get better. WRONG!!
I had to work Thanksgiving Day and the day after. When we arrived back in our hunting area on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it was as if we were in a different area.
With daytime high temperatures reaching the low 50's and howling Chinook winds, the snow and the elk rapidly disappeared. We spent the following six days seeing only two bulls, one of which was very good but would have required an air strike to get. You simply couldn't get THERE from where we were at.
At this point, with time slipping away and seeing very few elk and little sign, we determined it was time to put meat in the freezer.
On the morning of December 5 (with only 3 hunting days left) , we drove to an area where a friend, who only had a cow elk tag, had seen two raghorn bulls the day before. As were were arriving where we were going to park the truck we could see two raghorn bull elk feeding high in a meadow.
As we were watching them and discussing our options an older gentleman drove up and parked beside us. He also had seen the bulls and also had a bull elk tag. He was familiar with the area and told us that we could get much closer for a possible shot without having to go up the near vertical ridge to get to them.
While we were talking I "guesstamated" their range at 700 yards. The gentleman grabbed his rangefinder and told me "701". Not a bad guess!!
My wife told he and I to go and try to take the two bulls and she would wait for another opportunity so off we went, me following the older gentleman to his shooting point.
When we arrived we could only see one bull. The older gentleman told me to go ahead and take him. I "guesstamated" the range to be 400 yards. His rangefinder confirmed it at "394". Another pretty good guess!!
I figured with the near vertical ridge they were on, it would approximate a 300 yard shot. I held my .375 AI dead on, center chest behind the shoulder, as he was quartering away. When the 270 grain Barnes X arrived(a little too far left, breaking the shoulder and exiting the neck), the bull sagged on the front left (down hill side), came down diagonally into the timber piling up after about 60-70 yards. The other elk circled down into the timber right in front of us not offering a good shot and the gentleman elected not to shoot.
We went back to my truck and I asked my wife to go back to camp and get our sled while I would climb up to the elk to bring him down through the trees to the ridge bottom and field dress him.
After a little over an hour I had the elk down the ridge, had field dressed him but was concerned that my wife had not yet arrived back with the sled.
I started back toward the truck and found the sled approximately 300 yards from the truck but no wife. Not knowing why she wasn't with the sled I headed toward the truck to check on her. About this time I hear a rifle shot. My first thought was she couldn't find me and had fired to get my attention. I yelled at her to let her know where I was at and she yelled back to let me know that she had just killed an elk.
Her story goes like this:
She arrived back with the sled and saw a lone bull (raghorn) feeding within 15-20 yards of where my bull was feeding when I shot him. She started in with the sled and got to the point where the trail split (the left trail being my route to recover my elk and the right trail being where the other hunter and myself had gone to our shooting point).
At this time she could still see the elk still standing near the top of the meadow watching her. She decided to follow our tracks to where I had made my shot and she would try and take out elk #2.
She followed our tracks to the point where I had set up and made my shot. The hill was so steep her shooting sticks were not long enough to allow her to use them as her rest so she used a nearby limb jutting out from some deadfall as her rest. With no idea of the range (as she did not have the benefit of a rangefinder) she held relatively high behind the shoulder. Her .338 was zeroed at 300 yards (the same as my .375) and with her high aim point, the 225 Barnes X impact was high taking out the top of the lung and clipping the bottom of the spine. Her elk slid, tumbled and fell approximately 150 - 200 yards until it hung up in the timber.
With this latest news, as if I weren't tired enough from manhandling my elk down through the timber to the creek bottom, I could now start climbing up this steep ridge to begin the retrieval of her elk.
Being conscious of my probable fatigue from my own elk retrieval, she explained to me that she intentionally placed the bullet high to spine the elk so that he would slid down most of the way to the bottom rather than hang up into the timber as high on the ridge as mine had done "YA RIGHT"! I call BS on this BUT it "WAS" a much easier retrieval than mine so I shouldn't complain!
By 3:00 we had two raghorn bulls loaded into the back of the ol' Dodge and were preparing to head home.
They are certainly not the trophies that I had envisioned of us getting but we'll have plenty of meat in the freezer and some pretty unique memories.
How often do you and your wife (hunting partner) get two elk in two shots approximately 2 hours apart with both elk standing within yards of each other and both shooters making the shots from within a couple of feet of each other? -memtb

I usually don't take the Time to Read long stories, But your's was Great !!!! Congrats to you and your Wife. seems as though a Range finder in your Pack would only be a Weight problem. Sounds like your Guessing was Pretty close
Thanks everyone! These weren't the trophies I had envisioned, but it was a good vacation/hunting trip. And, as a plus, it's good when your best friend and hunting partner is your wife! -memtb

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 12-08-2003 21:13: Message edited by: memtb ]</font>
Way to go , you big ol monster elk killin stud muffin you.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 12-12-2003 02:44: Message edited by: OAKSTER ]</font>
Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

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