SITKA Gear

Examples of elk absorbing shots and not acting hit?

colinstewart

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Aug 25, 2021
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Niwot, Colorado
You do you, my goal is to eat them. Hence, why I shoot copper for the least amount of bloodshot meat.
I’ve shot them more than once but don’t make it a habit. If it’s dead in it’s feet, blood loss and gravity will win.

Practice, good equipment, and premium bullets do wonders when we let them do their job. Hearing of 5 shots to put them down is ridiculous.
100% agree!
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Almost Arkansas…..
For a number of years I had the privilege of hunting elk on a large private ranch. The elk herds were almost always 50+, and sometimes several hundred in size.

Quite often we would intercept them as they were moving to their bedding areas and shoot cows. As one would expect, at the shot they would all bunch up ready to run. It was SOP to shoot once, and then keep eyes on the elk because of the movement that would ensue.

Out of the dozen or so elk kills I witnessed there, I don’t remember a single elk falling at the shot. I remember a number of them not really reacting at all, until they fell over about five seconds later.

I remember ONE elk dropping at that shot. I hit a little high and broke shoulders. He was still alive when I got to him and I had to put a finisher in him.
 

Cornbread

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Oct 13, 2021
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I don't think it's the bullet, as long as it isn't say a ballistic tip, just a standard good bullet such as a TSX Accubond Nosler Partition Corelokt or GameKing, I think it just gets down to the animal. You can aim for the neck, the head the spine and I believe it will drop immediately. Youve hit the central nervous system. Chests shots I believe depend on the animal. Ive hit deer in the chest with my 7mm Mag at 40 yards and think I missed cause they ran off. Then recover them and it was a good shot in the chest. This is an interesting thread to hear the various experiences of elk shots.
 

Kimbal

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Nov 27, 2022
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I had no idea elk could absorb so much. I heard they are tough but definitely didn't how tough until reading this thread.
 

bullbugle307

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Jul 19, 2018
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I’ve only killed 3 elk, so small sample size….

The first was much like the scenario JLS described. I double lunged her with 180 gr out of the 06 (pass through) and then chaos ensued. She only went about 50 yards but I never saw her drop per se. She became part of the mass of elk while I was cycling the bolt and then she was laying there dead seconds later while the rest thundered off.

The second was a big bull with my wife’s 6.5. Double lung pass through again, this time with a 143 gr eldx. He stumbled down, gained his footing, turned away like he was going to drop into the hell hole and then I spined him in the rear quarter and dropped him. The first shot was definitely fatal, but I don’t regret that follow up shot considering how steep and thick and nasty it was. If it had been flat I wouldn’t have taken the follow up as I knew the first shot was good. Since I hit him right in the spine on that second one there was surprisingly little meat loss. I was happy to hit right where I was aiming on that second shot and not screw up a bunch of meat.

My cow last year…well, I really kinda surprised myself. I set up to intercept the herd coming back to their bed. Had a LQ tag for any elk, but due to unforeseen circumstances had very little time to hunt. I was set up on tall bipods resting on a fallen log and the herd came into the timber and closed to about 40 yards before I had a shot. I could’ve shot a small rag horn, but the shot wasn’t ideal for him with the timber and I really didn’t want to shoot him anyways in that unit. A cow pegged me and was staring me down but I had the wind in my favor. The rest of the herd was bunched together but a yearling calf didn’t have any elk behind her. Thing was, I really only had a head shot at her. I still kinda can’t believe I did it, but I was so solid and it was so close I put one right between her eyes and she dropped like a stone. I was shooting SSTs out of the 3006, which is admittedly a poor bullet for elk and I’ve since switched to Hornady CX. That one didn’t exit. I was thankful for that as it probably would’ve messy if I had had a better bullet like I do now which may have passed through.

I’m in no way advocating for head shots and I seriously doubt I’ll ever take one again. But 40 yards off a solid rest with bipods is ridiculously easy when your used to shooting much further distances.

I’ve seen a lot of other elk killed, and I’ve seen a lot of elk seem to just absorb a clearly fatal shot, stand there for 5 or ten seconds, and then fall over. They’re tough animals and from what I’ve seen they rarely fold to the shot unless it’s spine or a head shot.
 

jtm307

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Apr 4, 2016
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Wyoming
A perfectly hit elk usually doesn’t react immediately. It’s very easy to accidentally shoot multiple elk if one isn’t careful, especially in a large group of cows.
 

2rocky

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Jul 23, 2010
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4,250
Elk not acting hit is the rule, not the exception. Like @JLS, the only one I had drop on the shot was hit high and required follow up and finishing.

I will state that I am prejudiced against calibers sub 7mm from my experience with my family. My Father shoots a .264 Win Mag and Uncle shoots a .270. I think those bullets require better shot angle selection than they are capable of/had opportunities.
 

88man

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Jan 31, 2011
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2,186
Location
Pa
Never had one run or live more than a few seconds all basically dropped or flopped around with 7mm Berger 180 grn VLDS 15 elk / a sheep / lopes/ deer. 200yrds to 800yrds
Watched friends killem just the same with the 168grn berger vld same results bang flop DRT
 

Cornbread

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Oct 13, 2021
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212
Elk not acting hit is the rule, not the exception. Like @JLS, the only one I had drop on the shot was hit high and required follow up and finishing.

I will state that I am prejudiced against calibers sub 7mm from my experience with my family. My Father shoots a .264 Win Mag and Uncle shoots a .270. I think those bullets require better shot angle selection than they are capable of/had opportunities.
Ive only got one elk under my belt, a satellite bull. But based on seeing him absorb 4 shots from my &mm Rem Mag, I'd agree with ya. A montana resident told e the typical caliber in Montana is a 300 Win Mag. I can believe it. You don't want to be trespassing to recover your elk. That will be a huge mistake that you may regret. Ive never seen such a tough animal. I thought my 7 mag would be perfect. I would never attempt to hunt with a 270. I'd carry my 30-06, but no shots over say 200-250 yards. Just me, based on real life limited experience.
 
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