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My son's 2023 Colorado OTC Public Land Bull!

That was a cool hunt and bull, there is , however, no excuse for being unable to track an animal afterwards, pass through or not! I am thankful for the tracking skills I learned as a kid and the immeasurable skills I was taught by the LRRP's who mentored me !
That was a cool hunt and bull, there is , however, no excuse for being unable to track an animal afterwards, pass through or not! I am thankful for the tracking skills I learned as a kid and the immeasurable skills I was taught by the LRRP's who mentored me !
I would love to have an expert such as yourself show me how to track a bull that never dripped a single drop of blood through steep rocky terrain with dense oak brush. In an area that multiple bull elk have been moving around in a feeding pattern. The occasional track that we were able to find was generally pointed in the wrong direction and more confusing than anything. I learned a lot of tracking tips and tricks from my guides in Africa last summer and they were really amazing, but there were times that even they had difficulty following a track if the terrain and the vegetation didn't cooperate. Without at least a single drop of blood every so often to help assure you that you are on the right track it gets even more difficult.

The lessons I learned from this were more on proper grid searching and working vectors. Those would have resulted in recovering the bull sooner. The shot was lethal and the bull traveled less than 250 yards. We should have been able to find it first thing in the morning for sure even without tracking it. The steep slope and the oak brush made it more difficult, but we should have been able to find it sooner if we had done a better grid search off the vector that he traveled.
The petals didn't break off, the bullet just didn't expand. The 7-08 doesn't have enough ass behind it to be using etips at that range, fact. I don't care what the box says.

I'd be switching to ballistic tips or accubonds, yesterday.

Keep shooting the combo you are and you're going to lose more elk and be recovering more rotten ones, another fact.
From this past week.

My brother killed a bull in Montana at 388 yards with my 7-08 and 140 accubonds last week.

Recovered the bullet on the point of the off shoulder just under the hide. Shot was slightly quartered, went in tight behind shoulder mid-body, broke ribs on both entry and exit, and angled forward to the point of the off shoulder.

Considering MV of 2850, 388 yards and what that bullet went through, I'd say about perfect. Helps to make a good shot and the bull went about 5 yards.

Yesterday, shot my bull with a 7RM and 140 etips, MV of 3100, distance was 336 yards. Bull went maybe 20 yards hit behind the shoulder on the on-side, bullet was under hide on the off side shoulder.



I'm calling that marginal bullet expansion, enough to get the job done, but glad I had them moving as fast as I did.

I've shot 3 elk, 1 deer, and a moose with the etips. My Dad shot 2 elk with the same rifle. They work no doubt, but not as well as the accubonds from what I've seen.

If I were to move to using them exclusively, I would drop bullet weight and make them move as quick as possible. I flat wouldn't shoot 140 e-tips out of a 7-08unless I never planned to shoot over 200 yards. Still probably wouldn't even then since there's just much better bullets available.

My first hand experience.
This is pretty close to my experience as well. I’ve had good results with Barnes TTSX pushed fast in my .300 win mag, but Barnes also open a little bit easier than Etips in my experience. The copper bullets work well when velocities are high enough, but I’d trust a good old fashioned partition, ballistic tip, or even an interlock a lot more in the 7-08 velocity range.

I finally found some 180 grain .308 Accubonds in stock the other day and I bought a pile of them for my .300. They’re about the ideal combination of penetration and terminal performance and have given me the best results of any bullet I’ve used.

I double checked and you are right. No petals broke off, just not great expansion. The box on the 7mm-08 shows that it should have been traveling 2,400 fps at 300 yards which should have resulted in better expansion. I'm guessing that it must have missed hitting any bone at all not even a rib and that would help explain the poor expansion.

Bullet on the left was recovered from the last elk he shot at 200 yards into the front shoulder. Hit bone on impact. Bullet on the right was recovered from this elk. I didn't do a close examination to know if it hit a rib or not. Where it entered it would have been about a 50/50 chance. Recovered against the hide on the opposite side.

We have kept a pretty strict 300 yard maximum range for him both from an in field accuracy perspective as well as from a velocity to expand perspective on the bullets.

In this particular case I'm not sure a different bullet would have had any better result though. Even with the minimal expansion the bullet didn't pass through, so 100% of the energy was delivered. The bull didn't go more than 250 yards before dying. The shot placement wasn't perfect for sure, and that had something to do with it but I'm not sure we can blame any of it on the bullet performance. As noted by vagabond above, it was our piss poor tracking skills that resulted in not finding him sooner.

On Nosler's website it shows about the same expansion as we got at 1,800 fps so for sure the bullet was going much faster than that.

I've had good luck with the E-Tips out of my .300 WSM but as mentioned it is moving them a lot faster especially since I'm shooting the 165 grain ones. I have had petals break off on them shooting out of the .300 WSM and just assumed that the same thing had occurred here. Obviously not.

His gun does like the Barnes TTSX as well as the E-Tips, maybe we will move to those, they haven't been available lately though. Easy enough to relegate these for deer and pigs.

I think shot placement might have had something to do with the expansion issue.
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The next day Eli was able to pick up the antlers from the taxidermist and it was Halloween. He dressed up as an elk hunter for our trunk or treat at church and passed out candy with the antlers strapped to his pack. Not the way I would ever expect to carry out a set of antlers but he thought they looked cool that way.
View attachment 300077View attachment 300078

After Halloween we got the antlers and did a rough score on them. I was thinking he was somewhere in the 340” to 350” range but wasn’t sure. I just wasn’t sure how long his main beams were. At the trunk or treat I had stuck a piece of paper up to his right G3 and was shocked that it was exactly 2 pieces of paper long. 22”! Putting the tape to him it seemed that everything was just a little longer or bigger than I was expecting. Gross score was 368 1/8”. He had an oddity where his inside spread was actually widest near his tips so I posted a thread asking for help on that and think I’ve got another 3 4/8” to add to him there now so that puts him at 371 5/8” gross. His left G2 is almost 5” shorter than his right G2 and he broke off about 4” on his left G3 so he doesn’t net minimum awards but I’ll see if I can stretch the tape a little.

We asked for the jawbone as well and looking at it, I feel confident that he is 8.5+ years old.

View attachment 300079

How much older I don’t know but I am 99% sure that this is the same bull that was on trail camera in 2021 and 2022 and he is smaller this year than either of the others. Not saying that he regressed because of age this year, but maybe conditions were just not as good this year compared to previous years. There is no doubt that he would have netted book last year with close to an extra 5” on each of his main beams and at least a couple inches more on his G5’s.

I think that is about it. A very long winded novel of a story but we are SUPER pumped. I’m not sure but I think I’m more excited about him getting this bull than I was when I got my big bull back in 2013. Going to be a hard one to top for sure.
Reward is worth the struggle, congrats.
great story and pics npaden. sounds like a memorable adventure. congrats to all. looks like a beautiful piece of ground too. if u ever need help hunting it let me know!;)
The taxidermist we had been using pretty much skipped town so we had to find a new one this year. They weren’t the cheapest but not the most expensive either. They asked us to bring the antlers back up there a week or so ago and I just stopped by on a whim to check on things and was surprised to see they are nearly done with him already.


Didn’t think of it when taking pictures but that left side is his bad side over 10” less than his right side but oh well.

Needs finishing but I think overall it’s looking good. It is tilted down a little more than I would have liked but they said that was as high up as he could go and still clear the wall with his beams. He only clears on the right side by about an inch now.

By far this is the fastest turn around time on taxidermy I’ve ever seen. They just opened up their Lubbock location and said they were seeing great turn around time at the tannery.

We’ve been eating him as well and everything has turned out good. Very happy that part turned out a success.

I’ll post up some more pictures when we get him home and on the wall.
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I don't think I came back around to it in the novel, but I have to get him a GPS app so that he will be able to actually track his grid search. Wandering around in the oak brush for hours is not the same as doing a grid search. If we had mapped it out and walked a true grid I think we would have found him MUCH earlier.
Congrats! that's a stud!
Me, wife and daughter use the same onX login without issue, you won't see the other tracks until they are all saved and synced with service. It definitely helps see where you have and haven't been when grid searching.
I've started my son using the gohunt maps since I already pay for it too.

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