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Do elk read magazines?

Jack O'Conner

New member
Jan 11, 2003
Black Hawk, SD
Last week, I had a chance to buy a stack of older Outdoor Life magazines. Earliest date-May 1946 ; latest date-March 1951. Great articles!

Colonel Townsend Whelen recommended 300 Savage, 35 Remington, .348 Winchester, and 30-06 for elk. My Dad(age 81)and his hunting buddies would agree. But so-called modern experts have proclaimed these cartridges weak and inadequate for hunting the mighty North American elk.

Do elk read modern magazine articles titled, Serious Elk Rifles?
Do elk know they're supposed to giggle when tickled by an impotent 300 Savage bullet?

This should start an interesting discussion but let's be friendly with each other.
Jack, the opinion offered to me about that is that elk are under a lot more hunting pressure now than they were back then, which supposedly forces hunters to take more of the less-than-ideal shots because that's the only chance they get. In other words, more off-angle shots, shoulder shots, etc. instead of clean broadside shots required by the lower-powered numbers. But then I see pictures of Greenhorn with his massive elk-of-the-day shot at a half yard with an Indian youth target bow and I have to wonder.
I would guess that it's probably more about the patience of the hunter than the necessity of taking odd shots, but then I don't hunt elk very often either.
I think that Gib probably hit the nail pretty square on the head. More hunters, fewer elk, less elk habitat all add up to a tougher hunt. Not to mention added peer pressure to prove what a great hunter you are and take the biggest bull around. Hunting and the reasons for hunting have changed since the days of Townsend Wheelan and the big four. It seems that for lots of people it's about proving something rather than putting meat on the table or just enjoying the outdoors... I know my partner is certainly an example of that. I guess I am too to some degree.

And, I think, many of the "Elk" Cartridges were introduced in the '50's and '60's. Some of this may just be progress, as we now have the Magnums that may not have been around earlier (338wm, 300wm, Weatherby, and 7mmRem Mag).
The elk I shot last year had a copy of "Better homes & gardens" on him, but I think he was just looking at the pictures.

I think two of the reasons for this shift to "Magnums" are.

A- Theres a lot of people out there hunting that can't shoot worth a darn, and they won't admit it, so they try to make up for it with a big gun.

B- People are trying to shoot at farther distances these days. They hear of somebody killing an animal at 500 or 600 yds, so they think they can do it, and they run out and buy a gun that they think will help make a kill at thoses ranges.
I doudt if more than 2% of all hunters have the skill to take a shot over 400 yds.

There's nothing wrong with a .300 Savage, I've got one in my safe, it just loses about 150 yards to a 30-06, so if you keep your shots down to about 200 yards, the elk won't know the difference.
Personaly, I like my .338, but then I'm a gun nut, just ask my wife.
I guess I was just trying to get modern hunters to realize that elk are no tougher than they were before the advent of belted magnum cases.

I've never hunted elk nor anything else with a belted magnum rifle. The .308 cartridge has worked for me so well that I can't justify trading it for a more powerful rifle. Yet a couple of my cousins in Wyoming have good results with their 7mm MAG rifles. This cartridge seems like a reasonable long range choice to me.

Please do not mis-understand me: I'm not critisizing those hunters who love their magnums. My sole point is that modern gun writers (so called experts)often overlook the obvious fact that elk and other large creatures are no tougher than they were back in the pre-magnum times.
Hey,thanks for clearing that up for me Jack..I often wondered how an Elk could withstand a .308 but not a 45-70 or a .338..since I've had no practical experience to base a decision on, I had to ask.Elkhunter cleared it up for me,as you have.I'll bring both rifles with me when I finally get to go elkhunting [.308 and .300WSM].
I'm still waiting for Dan to build a .50 BMG so he can sit on Moosie's porch and lob shots up into the foothills.
I know there are a few who hunt elk with those monsters, but I can't imagine doing it. I guess you don't have to hike much when you can make 1000-yard shots.
As for the "normal" mags, I guess it goes the same way as the change from black powder to smokeless...sure, the old stuff worked, but the new stuff works better.
Jack, I agree with you that the elk are no tougher, but finding them and getting that "good shot" may be. Elk, like any critter, learn. I'm sure they've learned that when the two legged critter is in the woods carry a stick, it's time to vamoos outta here. That makes our job tougher than it was 50 years ago. We pay more, we go farther, we work under more restrictions, and I believe that we, as people, have become more competitive than we were 50 years ago. I think that all adds up to make the elk hunting tougher as a sport, regardless of the ocndition of the elk. All the magnum does is provide a little better edge. Especially in places like Arizona where you can go 20 years without drawing a tag.

Dooon't do it, don't use anythin short of a belted magnum. Elk are giagantic monsters, weighing five or six tons. Under their fur is a layer of kevlar, vulcanized to chainmail. They have needel sharp, stainless steel points on their antlers that are dripping with poison. The bones are like concret pillers, and the fleash is tougher than oak. A mouth full razor sharp teeth can rip a man limb from limb in seconds. I here if you shave one, you'll find a swastika tatoo. Mean honary critters
with X-ray vision and a diabolical mind !
Don't hunt em with anything less than a big magnum auto-loader with explosive bullets.
I recommend a gerbil cannnon, but thats a different story.

Please be fair to the elk and yourself.
"Most local elk hunters use .270 and the .03-06. these rifles also serve most men for deer and antelope. Hunters who are excellent shots and who know wher to locate there game and where to place the bullet can get away with the use of moderate-powered rifles. The Easterner in Wyoming for his first big-game trip should in all fairness to himself and his quarry use the most powerful rifle he can handle. The .338 Winchester Magnum is a fine modern elk caliber."

This was taken from an article titled Hunting in Wyoming. Don

Fourty-five years ago my grandfather told me stories of hunting when he was a youth and guns and bullets were among his favorite
topics. His father (my great grandfather) taught him to shoot using a 45-70. He told me that my great grandfather said there was nothing that it wouldn't kill.

My grandfather had used a Springfield 30-06 in WW1 and would have bought one for hunting but they were illegal to purchase without a special license. Too powerful and not necessary for sport hunting, the government said.

The 30-30 was the first cartridge to use modern smokeless powder. It was old technology by that time but he bought one because it was the best that he could get. He used that 30-30 to take many elk.

Later when laws changed, he just had to have the newest hottest thing so he bought a 30-40 Krag and he put a Weaver scope on it. He killed a bunch more elk with that setup but they weren't any deader than the ones he killed with the 30-30.

I've used a 30-06 since 1978, taken 24 elk since then and have never failed to kill an elk that I shot.

I don't buy the argument that hunting is harder today than it used to be. Sure there are more hunters, but most of them stay close to roads. There were a lot less elk in the first half of the 20th century because we have more game management today. There are now more elk in Colorado than ever and the whitetail population is exploding all across the country.

Manufacturers are constantly trying to develop new products resulting in new sales opportunites. That's competition and that's what capitalism is all about. That's why we have these super magnums. Not because we need them for hunting, but because the manufacturers need to sell them to us to make a profit. There's nothing wrong with that. The profit motive is what has made us prosperous. So as long as there is someone to buy these new products there will be someone developing and selling them.

I think a lot of people have the magnums, because they are there. I myself have several and I bought them because I did not have them. I also have non magnums. I was asked why I bought my Ruger #1 in 338 and I said because I wanted a #1. When I got my 375 H&H I was asked the same question and as a matter of fact it was a gift from my wife. When I got my Ruger #1 in 458 win mag Iwas asked why I bought or needed a 458 and it was because I did not have one. When I got my tag checks back from not being drawn, my wife said, "hey you have some extra money now, go ahead and get yourself a rifle if you want to".

And as far as "Do elk read magazines?"
I don't know, but I sure as hell know that they read the regs to see when the season opens.
Nothing wrong with shooting an old timer or a smaller rifle. Those old cartridges aren't as effective under a variety of conditions compared to magnums.

Sometimes guys are just fearful of getting bruises on thier shoulder when they shoot and can't shoot larger rifles well. Those guys should definately stick to the wimpier rounds.
not being an elk hunteer (yet) im going to say the animals arent any tougher to kill but the tools we have today make it quicker.a faster bow doesnt make an animal more dead it just slings the arrow faster and gives you a better chace of making a fatal shot.a magnum gives a better chance to create shock and if you just knick the lungs the animal MIGHT die faster.on the other hand some guys are recoil shy and a 30-06 might be the biggest thing they can shoot acuratley.

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