Young Guide, Old Guide, Talking Elk Hunting

Mustangs Rule

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Feb 4, 2021
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658
A close friend is an elk hunting guide. He is 40, only operates on private land. I am 74, decades ago I was a guide. We don’t hunt elk together. He is guiding then, but later during a long bird season, we hunt wild country for grouse.

Often there is snow. We see the tracks of game birds, lions, wolves, and some bear that have not yet hibernated. We talk about hunting, hunters, rifles and animals.

One of the first things we agree on, most hunters way overestimate how far they can shoot. Their benchmark is off a bench with a bipod, which hardly meets the needs of rough, steep terrain.

We both set range limits.

His usual max is 300 yards. If clients insist they can shoot farther, he will offer a field trial. A rare few can, so few can get into a classic siting position and properly use a Whelen sling.

Having clients be able to see big game is also a challenge, close in cover or far away.

We were hunting a long deep canyon on public land the last week of a cow elk season.

In a half hour's walk we saw, with just our naked eyes, four groups of elk way up on the canyon sides.

During that same time, four hunters came in on quads. Big riles, big scopes, camo, they all drove right past all those elk. One herd was only a ¼ mile in.
 

WNC2500

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May 28, 2018
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729
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North Carolina
I hunted with a 40'ish guide in Colorado on 3 different hunts. He could spot elk like nothing I'd ever experienced. I asked how he did it & he said, "well, I know what the trees and brush looks like when the elk aren't there."

@noharleyyet, I love that comment. That tells you someone that is intimately aware of the surroundings.
 

220yotekiller

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Oct 15, 2017
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I was guiding an old guy for cow elk who swore he was good to 300 yards. We hiked back in and got into a herd of elk, a cow stepped out at about 150 yards, I used to carry a bog pod tripod for guys like this, it seemed better than shooting sticks. He hit her and she took off and piled up after about 50 yards. He turned to me and said, "thats the longest shot I have ever made."
We always made hunters shoot before we took them out, a few times we had to loan them our rifles because theirs were so jacked up.
 

Caseknife

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Jul 1, 2012
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NE Washington
@noharleyyet, I love that comment. That tells you someone that is intimately aware of the surroundings.
Dad taught us kids, I have 4 older sisters, to look for parts of the animals, leg, ear, line of the back etc. Reason being that you would be more likely to see parts of an animal rather than the whole animal. Lodgepole thicket, look for a horizontal line between only two trees, probably that elusive buck standing there watching you, definitely not a down tree, it'd span farther than between two trees. Surprisingly easy to spot the vertical white posts that are moose legs from a distance. My elk hunting partner and I are a good combination, he still has good hearing and I can spot the animals.
 

gouch

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Jan 29, 2019
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1,009
Location
SW Oregon
I didn't hunt elk until I was in my late 20s. I had a friend I hunted deer with, and we would talk about trying elk hunting but didn't know where to start. Then one day my friend's boss at work invited him to go elk hunting on the Oregon coast. He insisted that he had been hunting elk all his life and was pretty much an expert on everything elk hunting, and he would teach him. They spent the week glassing clear cuts and saw some elk but nothing to shoot. Quite often, while glassing, they would hear a strange sound coming from the timber or down in the bottom of a canyon. My friend asked his boss if he knew what made that sound. He said he didn't know for sure but was pretty sure it was a squirrel of some kind. Turns out that noise was cow elk talking to each other. So, I guess even self-proclaimed experts can have trouble locating elk sometimes.
 

dgc1963

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Feb 17, 2019
Messages
923
I find that so many hunters just cant shoot well or even know the ballistics of the gun they carry with X ammo
Last rifle hunt I was on went to range with some of the guys I would be hunting with and the 7 inch groups they thought were good enough or some I know dont even shoot in their gun every year
I know im anal but could never carry a gun into the field without knowing how it shoots
AND DONT get me started about tuning a bow OMG
 

Hunter4Life78

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Sep 4, 2022
Messages
581
A close friend is an elk hunting guide. He is 40, only operates on private land. I am 74, decades ago I was a guide. We don’t hunt elk together. He is guiding then, but later during a long bird season, we hunt wild country for grouse.

Often there is snow. We see the tracks of game birds, lions, wolves, and some bear that have not yet hibernated. We talk about hunting, hunters, rifles and animals.

One of the first things we agree on, most hunters way overestimate how far they can shoot. Their benchmark is off a bench with a bipod, which hardly meets the needs of rough, steep terrain.

We both set range limits.

His usual max is 300 yards. If clients insist they can shoot farther, he will offer a field trial. A rare few can, so few can get into a classic siting position and properly use a Whelen sling.

Having clients be able to see big game is also a challenge, close in cover or far away.

We were hunting a long deep canyon on public land the last week of a cow elk season.

In a half hour's walk we saw, with just our naked eyes, four groups of elk way up on the canyon sides.

During that same time, four hunters came in on quads. Big riles, big scopes, camo, they all drove right past all those elk. On
 

RealMuddyboots

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Dec 28, 2021
Messages
311
Fun time at range, hand shooter that is shooting well off bags a set of cross sticks and have them shoot same target at 200yds. Usually no new holes but of course "went through same hole" is answer. Yeah but you shot 3 times.

I am asked all the time why am I sitting, or using cross sticks etc when I can use bench? Replicate field conditions, "why" when you have a perfectly constructed concrete bench? Hard to pack one is my normal answer.

I very rarely see anyone replicate field shooting at range. Its all bench and good to go. And they wonder what's wrong with my rifle when they miss easy shot.
 

Hopzone Freak

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Dec 19, 2000
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9,760
Location
MONTANA
One of the first things we agree on, most hunters way overestimate how far they can shoot. Their benchmark is off a bench with a bipod, which hardly meets the needs of rough, steep terrain.

We both set range limits.

His usual max is 300 yards. If clients insist they can shoot farther, he will offer a field trial. A rare few can, so few can get into a classic siting position and properly use a Whelen sling.
Not a guide, or real old, or real young. But what would you or your young guide pal do, if the client, plopped down over a backpack prone, with his lightweight hunting rifle and centerpunched a basketball sized rock at 1190 yards? How for would you let him shoot?
 

RealMuddyboots

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Dec 28, 2021
Messages
311
If you want to really realize the shooting ability of Joe Six Pack - be a range officer at sight day for general public at local gun club. 🥺
I have been and how many have you tossed for violating range rules like trying to load when people down range right after you tell everyone clear actions, actions open and step away from rifles. Mind blowing. Even simple concept do not touch a firearm nor bring one to bench? If there are 8 benches we have 8 range deputies to "guide" each shooter through range safety process and program under commands of the Range Officer. ! You really need them to control stupidity at the point of risk. Even carrying firearms from vehicles requires oversight. Rant over.
 

Redman

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Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
1,547
Location
Indiana
I find that so many hunters just cant shoot well or even know the ballistics of the gun they carry with X ammo
Last rifle hunt I was on went to range with some of the guys I would be hunting with and the 7 inch groups they thought were good enough or some I know dont even shoot in their gun every year
I know im anal but could never carry a gun into the field without knowing how it shoots
AND DONT get me started about tuning a bow OMG
When I pluck my bow string it has a good bass sound...I have been tuning by ear for years.
 

Wind Gypsy

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Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
942
Not a guide, or real old, or real young. But what would you or your young guide pal do, if the client, plopped down over a backpack prone, with his lightweight hunting rifle and centerpunched a basketball sized rock at 1190 yards? How for would you let him shoot?

Not enough info. It really depends on if he knows how to get into a classic siting position and properly use a Whelen sling.
 
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Cornbread

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Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
210
Anybody can miss. Last December I had a herd of 25-30 deer run up om me and got so flustered I missed the first shot off hand say 40 yards away. Fortunately, there was one that had a death wish and either came back or he was late to the party. He made it to my freezer.

I think most guys don't practice. I don't that much anymore, but I ususally use a Primos shooting stick for longer shots. I hate wounding an animal, and the headache of having to track it. Just part of the game though. Ive had deer that were shot in the chest at 40 yards with a 7mm Rem Mag and run 100+ yards. Am out here in Montana hunting elk for the first time. Took a long range course in March. Will see what pops up. Have tested the zero out here 2 weeks ago, have the ballistics chart taped to the butt of the stock, with a Leupold VX6 3-18x44 on a custom M77 action with a Shilen match barrell. It does 5/8" groups at 100 yards, and I did well at the long range course. Wind will be my enemy. Saw the weather reports for opening days and it should be fairly calm. My mantra is: Shoot it close to the road! LOLOLOL. Wish me luck. The people here have been great. All are true locals. Really enjoying Montana.
 

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