Elk reacting to being shot with rifle???

Braveheart

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2023
Messages
81
Well as everyone knows or might not know, I am going on my first elk hunt this fall. Since my elk IQ is weak and not having any time in the field pursuing elk. I have been reading and watching elk videos for a few months now trying to absorb what I can.

I have only shot whitetail with a rifle. Often a good shot will be signaled by a mule kick and rapid running off vs a gut shot is a humped up back and slow movement.

I have seen on video now hundreds of elk shot (thanks to youtube). I have noticed that even with 10x on the kill spot shots, the elk just seem to stand there and not act hit. I have always heard that you shot and elk more than once because they are very tough animals. I just cant seem to understand why they show no reaction to fatal gunshots.

Is this mostly the case that they dont react to a fatal hit? I will be hunting by myself and notice almost all filmed hunts the shooter has a spotter that tells him if he made a hit. When you are by yourself do you just reload and rapidly fire another shot or watch the animal for signs of being hit???

I will be using a 300 win mag with a 200 grain bullet, I cant imagine an animal not acting hit from that round. I have shot maybe a dozen white tails with it and they drop on the spot. Are most these guys in videos using a 6.5 creedmoor or are elk just that damn tough that they can absorb a hit form a magnum caliber with that much kinetic energy?
 
Last edited:
Well as everyone knows or might not know, I am going on my first elk hunt this fall. Since my elk IQ is weak and not having any time in the field pursuing elk. I have been reading and watching elk videos for a few months now trying to absorb what I can.

I have only shot whitetail with a rifle. Often a good shot will be signaled by a mule kick and rapid running off vs a gut shot is a humped up back and slow movement.

I have seen on video now hundreds of elk shot (thanks to youtube). I have noticed that even with 10x on the kill spot shots, the elk just seem to stand there and not act hit. I have always heard that you shot and elk more than once because they are very tough animals. I just cant seem to understand why they show no reaction to fatal gunshots.

Is this mostly the case that they dont react to a fatal hit? I will be hunting by myself and notice almost all filmed hunts the shooter has a spotter that tells him if he made a hit. When you are by yourself do you just reload and rapidly fire another shot or watch the animal for signs of being hit???
I think you can make your best judgment there, after the shot. Lol
 
Well as everyone knows or might not know, I am going on my first elk hunt this fall. Since my elk IQ is weak and not having any time in the field pursuing elk. I have been reading and watching elk videos for a few months now trying to absorb what I can.

I have only shot whitetail with a rifle. Often a good shot will be signaled by a mule kick and rapid running off vs a gut shot is a humped up back and slow movement.

I have seen on video now hundreds of elk shot (thanks to youtube). I have noticed that even with 10x on the kill spot shots, the elk just seem to stand there and not act hit. I have always heard that you shot and elk more than once because they are very tough animals. I just cant seem to understand why they show no reaction to fatal gunshots.

Is this mostly the case that they dont react to a fatal hit? I will be hunting by myself and notice almost all filmed hunts the shooter has a spotter that tells him if he made a hit. When you are by yourself do you just reload and rapidly fire another shot or watch the animal for signs of being hit???

I will be using a 300 win mag with a 200 grain bullet, I cant imagine an animal not acting hit from that round. I have shot maybe a dozen white tails with it and they drop on the spot. Are most these guys in videos using a 6.5 creedmoor or are elk just that damn tough that they can absorb a hit form a magnum caliber with that much kinetic energy?
I watched a spike soak up 6 from a 300 weatherby at 300 yards and walk off about 50-60 yards before it stumbled down over a bank. Bull showed no sign of being hit. You do you but if it’s standing I’d shoot all I had but 1 incase you end up really close and it’s still alive
 
On a more serious note, reactions vary all over the place, generally, it seems like an elk on its feet is only going to get into a worse place to retrieve it the longer it's on its feet, I'm shooting as quickly as I can cycle the action for at least 3 before I stop and assess, it's not usually that hard to know if you are hitting, you can see it or hear it...
 
From my somewhat limited experience with shooting elk and seeing them shot, they won’t jump and run like a whitetail. They may pause a second and then run. They may just stand there going “wtf??” While you perforate their thorax with a pound of lead. Put one in the lungs and they will die, put two in the lungs and they’ll die too, possibly before getting into a 💩 hole of a spot.
 
The only ones I’ve ever shot that didn’t act hit were with bonded core bullets. Vld to the heart/lungs and they drop or are so effed up they only go a few yards.
 
Elk are three times bigger than a deer. They are not bulletproof, but they can absorb bullets like you would not believe. The last bull I killed was inside 50 yards and I shot him four times through the shoulders/lungs with a 30/06 with 180 grain Nosler Partitians and he never gave any indication he was hit. He just walked away and went down in a heap about 50 yards. Like Dave Petzal says "Send another slug. It shows you care."
 
to quote @Nameless Range -"Bullets fly till the spirits in the sky"

I really do adhere to this. Like many, I have shot animals, maybe fatally, maybe not, but thought they were done and dusted, and it turns out they still had gas in the tank - either going much further than I had thought they would, or, in the case of a mule deer I'll never forget, going so far as to never be found after the initial shot dropped him and I quit shooting under a false assumption.

The worst day of hunting I have ever had was the day I lost that deer, that I do think died somewhere that day, and I definitely could've put more lead into him before he was out of reach.

So.... "till the spirit's in the sky".
 
Seen an awful lot of elk shot, it just depends. A Berger just behind the shoulder, between the slats and they give up pretty quick. I almost switched to them until a saw a friendPut a Berger on the upper leg bone. We had a hell of a tracking job. Only takes one of you to wiggle and that perfectly aimed shot, not so much anymore. I’ve killed a bunch with partitions and Accubonds and favor them because stuff happens. Also guided 30 successful elk hunts, hunters used just about everything from .25/06 on up. Shoot them in the heart and lungs they will normally die. A few have been found to survive that as well.
If you can get a second shot into him take it. The only real guarantee is a CNS hit.
This is season 56 coming up for me. I hope you enjoy your hunt and have the opportunity for that many seasons as well.
I’ve been running a fast 338 for about 25 years. Shot almost that many elk with it and they’ve all been one shot stops. I do however think a 300 with 200gr. Bullets is pretty near perfect.
Good luck.
 
Unless you spine one or hit high shoulder (near spine) they often show no sign of being hit, at least at first. They can be dead on their feet but don't know it.
 
My limited experience
Cow #1 60 yards-quartering away -30 yard dash
Bull #2 65 yards- broadside -50 yard dash
Cow #3 540 yards- broadside -stood there for 20 seconds with blood pouring out- then tumbled
Cow #4- 158 yards broadside- liver shot- waited one hour before tracking- went 120 yards and bedded down.
Cow #5 - 195yards-broadside- 40 yard dash
Cow #6- 165 yards- frontal shot- DRT
All shot with 300 win mag.
First 4 with 175 lrx
Last 2 with 225 eld-x.
All one shot apeice, but I always have the mindset to keep shooting till they're down if possible. Cow #3 would've gotten second dose of lead if my rifle hadn't failed to extract. Good luck on your hunt and shoot straight.
 
Well as everyone knows or might not know, I am going on my first elk hunt this fall. Since my elk IQ is weak and not having any time in the field pursuing elk. I have been reading and watching elk videos for a few months now trying to absorb what I can.

I have only shot whitetail with a rifle. Often a good shot will be signaled by a mule kick and rapid running off vs a gut shot is a humped up back and slow movement.

I have seen on video now hundreds of elk shot (thanks to youtube). I have noticed that even with 10x on the kill spot shots, the elk just seem to stand there and not act hit. I have always heard that you shot and elk more than once because they are very tough animals. I just cant seem to understand why they show no reaction to fatal gunshots.

Is this mostly the case that they dont react to a fatal hit? I will be hunting by myself and notice almost all filmed hunts the shooter has a spotter that tells him if he made a hit. When you are by yourself do you just reload and rapidly fire another shot or watch the animal for signs of being hit???

I will be using a 300 win mag with a 200 grain bullet, I cant imagine an animal not acting hit from that round. I have shot maybe a dozen white tails with it and they drop on the spot. Are most these guys in videos using a 6.5 creedmoor or are elk just that damn tough that they can absorb a hit form a magnum caliber with that much kinetic energy?
How they react to a 180 grain partition from a .300 win mag

giphy.gif
theres-a-sharp-pain-right-here-pointing-to-chest.gif


then

IMG_3193.jpg
 
Last edited:
I shoot at the elk as long as it’s standing. Usually my third shot hits as it starts to fold. Even if it reacts to the shot, it’s getting shot at again. My average is I can rack three shots into an elk before it falls over
 

Forum statistics

Threads
110,386
Messages
1,918,038
Members
34,727
Latest member
Clifford Radcliffe
Back
Top