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Old January 07, 2017, 10:19   #1
hangfire762
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Setting up for First Elk hunt next fall in AZ.

Well, deer season is about done here except for black powder. While a lot of hunters are putting their gear back in the closet, I'm going through mine...again. Plus this is when I get my freezer full of wild hog as well. I'm working towards my first Elk hunt next fall....if I'm lucky. It'll be in Arizona where I have family(that doesn't hunt). I'm trying to learn the state hunting regulations there so I don't make any stupid mistakes. At times I get caught up in the argument about which non magnum round works best on elk but, I think I should be ok with my old 7mm Mauser. It's what I hunt with here in Texas and Hornady SST has dropped everything Ive shot. I'll use a heavier bullet for elk. I don't hand load though and I probably should. The rifle is a customized Chilean Model 1895 that Sledgehammer did for me a while back.
Anyway, any tips on Arizona Elk hunting? I know hunting strategies can vary from state to state and place to place. If no Elk, I'd be happy with a nice Muley. I'm not a big trophy hunter.
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Old January 07, 2017, 10:52   #2
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7mm Mauser is to light for Elk, I've used 3006 and that's boarder line, 300 Win mag is better.
And yes, locals can get by with underpowered cartridges, but that's not the case with the out of state hunter, you will have limited days to hunt, and you can not count on getting the perfect shot, Elk are tough enough to break down as it is.

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Old January 07, 2017, 10:57   #3
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the 7mm is fine. elk are very big, like a horse, and logistical support is critical. if you do not have horses & some decent help its best to kill one close to a road so you can get your truck close to the kill. az elk tags can be hard to get. there are numerous indian tribes that offer elk tags too but some are quite pricey. the navajos are pretty good about selling tags to non-navajos even though there is a draw system used.
the time of year is important. its been pretty warm & a dead elk will be a rotten dead elk if you kill during warm weather & don't get it processed in time. what to do with the hide is another matter, most just throw it away. i had to bone out an elk that died far from the road & eventually filled 8 coleman coolers & still left some meat in the woods. backpacking all that meat out was a bitch. you need to determine if the carc will be processed or if you are going to do it yourself.
mule deer are much smaller & quite tasty.
the hunting strategies are the same for both. we generally spot & stalk. all of my kills have been 100 yards & less since i hunt in upper elevation pine forests where cover is fairly thick & terrain is rugged which means the hunter had better be in decent shape.
where do you plan to hunt? that will determine a lot.
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Old January 07, 2017, 12:23   #4
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Im going into this kind of blind. Trying to rely on what info I can get from Arizona fish and game and what info I can get from people that hunt there....which isn't many. I'm used to just hunting in my corner of Texas. As for areas I'll hunt,...I honestly dont know. Hopefully I'll find out more from friends of my in-laws as to where I can hunt with a modest chance of getting something. I guess this will be my "Recon" hunt. Even if I don't get anything meat wise, I'll at least get more info about hunting in AZ. However the more knowledge I have before hand will be of benefit. So, please,....give your .02 cents.
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Old January 07, 2017, 14:32   #5
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will you be in the apache-sitgreaves, tonto, kaibab, prescott , coconino national forests? private land? tribal?
most essterners have never been in a national forest which are huge playgrounds. the az nfs range in elevation from 1300' to 8000' with very different topo, weather, & temp zones. the weather is usually great in the fall but winter is always possible.
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Old January 07, 2017, 16:42   #6
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7x57 falls in the reasonable catagory for elk, use a good tough bullet of at least 150 grs and remember the three most important things:

1. Bullet placement.
2. Bullet placement.
3. Bullet placement.

Study anatomical drawings of elk and stick to your personal limits.

I've killed elk with a 308 Win, 308 Norma and 300 Win.short mag but the bulk of my elk went down to a 280 Rem. with 160gr X bullets. Nothing magic about elk, it's all about where you hit them. Shoot them in the leg and it really doesn't matter what you did it with, they're going to run away.
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Old January 08, 2017, 00:14   #7
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probably easier to get an out of state new mexico license. ours are bigger & taste better. lots of texans come here to hunt. as is overrun with game wardens & law enforcement types. gets to be a bit tedious.
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Old January 08, 2017, 01:36   #8
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While my 25-06 has taken 2 elk its on the light side for taking elk. Shoot placement is very important. I use my 338-06 or my 300 WSM for elk most of the time, because both are sub 7 pound guns and elk hunting requires you to cover ground. If your not in the same area as the elk are setting up a blind is worthless.

I've drawn out twice in two consecutive years in CO and it's fairly easy to draw out for elk in CO. Here in UT elk tags are easy to come by, if you want to hunt for a spike. Other elk, big bulls and cows, are harder to come by. I think the last couple years there have been 6-7K of spike tags available at the start of September and elk season is the first part of October.
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Old January 08, 2017, 08:58   #9
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While my 25-06 has taken 2 elk its on the light side for taking elk. Shoot placement is very important. I use my 338-06 or my 300 WSM for elk most of the time, because both are sub 7 pound guns and elk hunting requires you to cover ground. If your not in the same area as the elk are setting up a blind is worthless.

I've drawn out twice in two consecutive years in CO and it's fairly easy to draw out for elk in CO. Here in UT elk tags are easy to come by, if you want to hunt for a spike. Other elk, big bulls and cows, are harder to come by. I think the last couple years there have been 6-7K of spike tags available at the start of September and elk season is the first part of October.
This is exactly right. I've seen .243 drop elk in their tracks and I've seen 'em shake off .300 win mag. Shot placement is everything. For what it's worth I used a 7 mag when I was elk hunting in Idaho.

Best advice I can give you is know your zeros and be able to put one in the boiler room at whatever distance you choose. I zero my guns at 200 yards so that anything out to 300 is effectively a straight hold. Beyond that I'll let it go unless I have the time to range it carefully. And get ready to walk. A small saw and some rope/tackle gear can come in handy, and be careful where you drop 'em as the real work starts once they're down.
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Old January 08, 2017, 10:36   #10
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Not sure why anyone would think that 7mm or .30-06 is too little for Elk. I know plenty taking Elk with .308. Mostly the 180g, but still a .308.

Maybe I'm missing something, but you don't just "go hunt Elk" in AZ. You buy into a raffle and if you are lucky, you get drawn for a tag. I know there are some (depredation?) special hunts in some areas for thinning a deer or Elk herd, but these are very limited in size and duration.


Non resident tag last year was $600+. Tags are per individual and cannot be resold, your your local relative woulnd't be able to get you the lower resident fee.

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/editp...352079ferrable http://huntodds.monstermuleys.com/ar...pe_and_elk.pdf
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Old January 08, 2017, 11:29   #11
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Colorado is much easier and cheaper for a out of state elk hunt.

Cow tags are a easy draw if listed as first and second choice in AZ.

I've shot 2 elk in AZ with a 7mm Mauser using 140 gr and 175 gr bullets, both shot less than 160 yds away. The 140 gr Ballistic Tip worked fine for broadside elk at 160 yds, but blew up on a quarting deer at 30 yds shot with the same load. I didn't plan on using the 7mm Mauser with 140s on elk, it was just the rifle I had in the truck coming back from work that day.
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Old January 09, 2017, 01:14   #12
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Depends on section you draw but I've taken 3 inside of 100yds with a 30-06 and a 180gr pill, no problem. Now if you are out at 300+ maybe a 300WM but I don't take shots on live game at that distance anyway. As has been said shot placement is everything - but isn't it always.
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Old January 09, 2017, 15:19   #13
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Just opinion but I am for the biggest caliber you can shoot straight for elk. If you fail it should never be about too small of caliber.
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Old January 09, 2017, 15:46   #14
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If I was hunting a trophy in CO I'd probably go with a .338.
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Old January 09, 2017, 20:15   #15
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a visit to your hunt area is recommended.
how u plan to get your meat home is another issue. pack w dry ice? leave it?
how will u keep the beer cold? having a gps is nice.
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Old January 09, 2017, 23:12   #16
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My brother Bulldog21 here on the files has slaughtered dozens of elk with a 270 Win. Never lost one...ever! He is the one you need to contact. He can fill you in on the best areas depending on bull or cow hunts.
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Old January 10, 2017, 09:36   #17
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5B South and 6A are Elk killing zones - I've taken all 3 of mine in 5BS, 6A is just across the road - good luck drawing in either though, my average has been a tag every 7 years or so...
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Old January 10, 2017, 12:06   #18
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I've killed more than 35 elk mostly yearling cows and calfs, with a .270 Win. 150 gr Nosler Partition bullet.
You don't always get an indication of a killing hit.
They are tough animals. So a blood trail is a handy thing. Big bullets make big holes, fast bullets not so much. Bullet placement is the REAL KEY.

Remember, remember, remember the work begins when your standing over the dead elk looking at saying "DAMN these things are BIG". I say this every year weather I'm in the timber or the Alfalfa field driving the truck to them.

I've guided a lot of hunts on a private ranch .338 Win Mag makes a GREAT blood trail.
I always thought a .35 Whelen or a 8MM-06 would be good Elk calibers. I suppose I'm showing my age 66 years.
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Old January 11, 2017, 21:41   #19
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Been hunting elk a long time. .308, .270, and .30-06 all work fine. Most of my elk have been taken with my Winchester 70 Featherweight in .308. Light and easy to carry around at altitude compared to all the magnums I see at the trailhead. Hunt exclusively in Colorado for elk. I load 165 gr. Partitions. Put the bullet into the heart/lung area and you have meat on the ground. Then the work begins.
You can safely ignore 95% plus of the garbage you read in the hunting/shooting rags. Too many internet armchair hunting experts repeating that same garbage doesn't help.
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Old January 15, 2017, 10:19   #20
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4A and 4B are my brothers areas. He's a cow killer. Much better eating than a big stinky bull.
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Old January 15, 2017, 14:09   #21
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u should. consider new mexico. shorter drive & plenty o elk. the units in sw nm are flush with elk.

http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunt...co-draw-works/

ranchers sell elk tags too.
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Old January 15, 2017, 14:48   #22
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Stay away from "Wilderness Areas". No powered transportation allowed.
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Old January 15, 2017, 20:15   #23
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Be aware, the deadline for the elk and antelope tag application happens very early in AZ, February 14. If you dont have your application in, you are not going elk hunting.
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Old January 18, 2017, 16:54   #24
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"Stay away from "Wilderness Areas". No powered transportation allowed."
Yup, walk in on two or four legs only. I hunt the West Elk Primitive area in Gunnison or the Flat Tops Wilderness area in White National Forest. Nice to get away from all the damned ATV riding road hunters.


Colorado sells over the counter non-resident tags for most GMU's if you don't want to apply for a drawing. Bull & cow tags are readily available. Left over tags go on sale in early August if I remember right.
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Old January 18, 2017, 18:22   #25
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Stay away from "Wilderness Areas". No powered transportation allowed.
Being a wilderness hunter myself there is no advice I would rather hear than that ^. Please stay near the road with the rest of the door gunners.

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Old January 19, 2017, 11:00   #26
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"Please stay near the road with the rest of the door gunners"

LMAO! So true. It is amazing the difference when you hike just a few klicks inside the boundary. I'm seriously thinking about getting a couple of Llamas for pack animals. Getting too damned old to be humping a heavy pack very far at 10,000 plus feet.
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Old January 19, 2017, 16:01   #27
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.375 H&H has been my elk rifle for 30 years. I've only had to shoot twice once.
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Old January 19, 2017, 19:13   #28
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i filled 8 coleman coolers with elk meat
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Old January 20, 2017, 08:10   #29
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7mm Mauser is to light for Elk, I've used 3006 and that's boarder line, 300 Win mag is better.
And yes, locals can get by with underpowered cartridges, but that's not the case with the out of state hunter, you will have limited days to hunt, and you can not count on getting the perfect shot, Elk are tough enough to break down as it is.
I killed an elk in 2006 with my 7X57. Wife killed one in 2007, 7X57 again.

Nobody told the elk it wasn't enough gun, I suppose.
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Old January 23, 2017, 08:53   #30
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I knew about the hunting laws in AZ and the high price of being an out of state hunter if lucky enough to draw a tag. Having never hunted in AZ...or out of state for that matter, I had/have questions about it. The only reason I decided on AZ was simply having family there that could help with any logistics. I'm not a fan of guided hunts but, that may end up a better first option.
As for rifle/caliber, I figured that my old 7x57 was plenty good enough for big game in the lower 48. Some critters are a little tougher than others and it's about bullet placement. Normally on our whitetail I look for that double lung shot as I really like deer heart.
Anyway, you guys are giving me some good food for thought. Thanks a bunch.
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Old January 27, 2017, 01:56   #31
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Elk

Before the ranchers used 44/40 , 32/20 .
Swedes use the 6.5x55 all with great success.
It all comes down to shot placement .
Hit them right and they go down like a ton of bricks .
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Old January 29, 2017, 00:59   #32
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LIZ - I've been lucky, all 3 of mine were just south of Pine Mountain - in the truck and in the mobile cooler they set up where Lake Mary road intersects 87, within 2 hrs of being harvested - slick setup - field dress the animal and drop it off, they skin it, quarter it and hang it in the cooler for transport down to the Valley where they process it - but you are right - if $ was the only consideration you are way ahead to go buy the best beef you can find - dollar for dollar elk is VERY expensive meat.
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Old January 29, 2017, 03:38   #33
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I always love these "get the biggest caliber you can find" for elk.

I hunted elk for well over 40 years in Idaho, and killed many with a .308 150gr. Speer Mag Tip, and with my .54 Hawken with a 425gr. Buffalo bullet . All killed with one round.
A good friend has used a 6mm Rem for longer then I have hunted.

Hit them in the right place and they will die.

I also hunted in Namibia, Africa with my 6mm Rem.,and killed animals as big as Gemsbok (elk size). My son hunted with the same rifle in Africa. One shot kills on every animal, for me and my son.

As was mentioned before....shot placement!!!!
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Old February 02, 2017, 07:57   #34
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WDM Bell killed many elephants with the 7mm mauser, although they were solids and he brained them. But like mentioned shot placement is key and a good well made bullet.
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Old February 02, 2017, 15:21   #35
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WDM Bell killed many elephants with the 7mm mauser, although they were solids and he brained them. But like mentioned shot placement is key and a good well made bullet.
"He shot exactly 1,011 elephants; about 800 of them were shot with Rigby-made 7x57mm (.275 Rigby) rifles and round nose 173 grain military ammo.
He also shot elephants with a Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbine using the long 159 grain FMJ bullets."
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Old February 02, 2017, 18:15   #36
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"He shot exactly 1,011 elephants; about 800 of them were shot with Rigby-made 7x57mm (.275 Rigby) rifles and round nose 173 grain military ammo.
He also shot elephants with a Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbine using the long 159 grain FMJ bullets."
Yes I used to read books and magazines about him years back before computers. My shooting buddy has one of the old little Mannlicher Schoenauer carbines in the 6.5x54. It is a very early one that was brought back from Germany I believe years ago and it's a real beauty with double set triggers also. That's a great caliber as well as the 7mm mauser imo. I have some nice books on the old sporting mausers I've read a bunch. The old pre-war guns are something else, as well as a lot of the old calibers they shot that got the job done so many times before.
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Old February 02, 2017, 19:36   #37
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Very nostalgic, I have a 1903 M/S full stock double set trigger carbine in 6.5x54 built in 1926 with a period correct Carl Ziess scope in factory mounts, it came from a member here and is a sweet little rifle. I have zero interest in shooting an elephant with it or anything else but someday I will shoot a deer with it.
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Old February 03, 2017, 08:00   #38
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Very nostalgic, I have a 1903 M/S full stock double set trigger carbine in 6.5x54 built in 1926 with a period correct Carl Ziess scope in factory mounts, it came from a member here and is a sweet little rifle. I have zero interest in shooting an elephant with it or anything else but someday I will shoot a deer with it.
Awesome! I believe my buddy has one in the same but without the optic which I'm sure is very nice. Yes Bell must of had balls as big as an elephant to be shooting them like he did with that little rifle. They are nice little rifles those carbines, congrats.
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Old February 12, 2017, 11:38   #39
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2 days left to get in on the elk (and antelope) drawing in AZ. Elk applications can be done totally online.

Deer draw deadline is June 14.

Elk is done first so you know what elk draw you won so you can try to get a deer tag that matches your elk hunt time and zone.
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Old February 12, 2017, 14:38   #40
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I have no tips specific to hunting AZ. My only experience hunting in AZ was a dove hunt with my dad and his buddy when I was 12.

I've hunted elk in Colorado for over 20 years. I hunt with a group of friends. We generally have 10-14 hunters in camp each year. I own a couple different rifles that I hunt elk with. I've hunted elk with two calibers 7Mags and 35Whelens. I started hunting with 7Mags and moved later to 35 Whelen. The Whelens weighed less than the 7Mags. My favorite rifle being a Browning Single Shot 1885 in 35Whelen. It is a joy to carry.

I hand load for my hunting rifles. My preference for hunting elk is "heavy for caliber" bullets (Ie, 160-170Gr for 7Mag, and 225-250Gr for 35Whelen). I prefer controlled expansion bullet construction. My preference in 7Mag is 160Gr Nosler Partition. For 35Whelen I prefer a 225grain BarnesXXX. The lighter BarnesX bullet gives me 2618+/- 25 fps out the barrel vs. 2485 fps with 250gr.

The other hunters in camp use .308, 270, 30-06, 7Mag, 300WinMag, 338Wetherby, and one guy uses a .378H&H (he also hunts water buffalo). All have taken game. Almost all have lost game due to poorly placed shots.

My suggestion: Make sure you have help with you while hunting. If you are lucky enough to make a kill, you're going to need help. Mature bulls are as big as a horse. Mature cows are about 65 percent that size.

Great tasting meat is all about getting a quick clean kill and then getting the animal cooled down, and clean ASAP. Doing so, when its 20degrees outside is tough enough. Doing so when its 70degrees outside is a real challenge. Particularly if you can't get your vehicle to the animal...Which most of the time you will not be able to do. I'm not a fan of quartering and hauling the quarters...Unless you have pack animals. Good Game Haulers work great as long as the weather holds. However, get some mud on the ground, and many Game Haulers become a liability.

My preference is boning the animal where it lies and packing it out immediately. Good packs are a requirement, and you have to be ready, willing, and able to bone your elk out on the spot. Boning out an animal the size of an elk is a daunting task for the first time elk hunter. So, a lot of guys leave the hide on and try to haul the 90lb quarters instead of taking the time and hauling 65lbs of boned out meat in their packs.

Four guys can haul an entire (properly boned out) mature cow on their backs. A mature bull will take a few more people or more trips.

Good luck this year. Hunting elk is one of my favorite things to do in this world.
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Last edited by Randall; February 13, 2017 at 11:08. Reason: For Corrections and Clarity
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