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Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:55 am    Post subject: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

I had an interesting cow elk hunt last weekend in New Mexico. It was a depredation tag on a large cattle ranch in the high plains off Mt Taylor, two hours West of ABQ. Beautiful country.



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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

The first evening, we came upon a herd of 24 elk in a livestock pond with high banks. We had to climb above them to get a shot on them. My hunting buddy shot first and missed high. The herd ran off bunched tightly together. There was always another elk behind the one I could shoot, even if I tried for a neck shot. The lead cow finally stepped out to the side and I asked the guide for a range – 350 yards. I held over with my mil-dot reticle and fired. He cried out “your shot was over the back, too”. The herd moved down a few yards further. I couldn’t believe I missed high. I pulled out my range finder and measured 515 yards with the lead cow broadside. That is my max but I wasn’t going to send another round down-range with the uncertainty of the first shot. The guide said let’s not pressure them anymore and we can find them again in the morning.

We went back to the hunting lodge and checked our zero’s as the sun set. My buddy’s rifle was 8-inches high at 100 yards. Mine was good. Turns out the guide did not have his range finder with him and estimated 350 yards.

We spent a lot of time glassing and hiking the next day.



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Last edited by slimjim on Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

We found the herd again in the morning but they were in a valley with no place to hide within 1000 yards. We moved off and found another herd moving into the mountains to bed. We hiked in a mile on the other side of a down-wind ridge. We got within 400 yards of where they bedded when a group of cattle saw us and started running – right through where the elk had bedded - busted. The guide said let’s cut back and see if the first herd had moved. On the way there, we caught a lone cow moving down a ridge. It was a 45-off angle shot but anchored her in the ribcage at 375 yards before she got over the ridge. As we approached her, I saw an exit wound in the lower chest. How could that be? The Barnes bullets usually don’t break apart or deflect like that. As we stood there, the guide looked up and said “guess you didn’t miss yesterday.” The first bullet went in just above the sternum but aft of the heart missing a direct hit on vital organs. The range on that first shot was likely 450 yards. With the wound, the cow couldn’t keep up with the herd and would have likely passed in a day or two or taken by predators.



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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

It was good fortune that I harvested the same cow I shot the day before. Lessons learned.
- If you want to be accurate, always get an accurate range for long shots.
- Trust my rifle.
- Take that second shot. I should have shot again at 515 yards.

I feel very fortunate.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

oks like nice country alright,enjoy your venison.

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English Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

heck, if i'd known you were that close, i'd have driven over to say hi - been in ABQ since the 1st bar 6 days in AL.
Now I'm sitting in the airport at ATL waiting for the flight back to Blighty.
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

English Mike, have a safe trip across the pond. Sorry our paths crossed without meeting. I forgot that you were in NM.

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

Slim,

Congrats on the cow. Weird how things work out sometimes.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:15 am    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

I think I should add one more lesson. Learn how to estimate range on an elk with my mil-dot reticle.

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DallanC
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

Two things, first congratulations on the "land carp" lol... elk hunting can be quite fun.

Second, never shoot the lead cow... never.


-DallanC
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Vince
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

Well done Slim, and a 515 yard shot is nothing to sneeze at mate.

I agree totally with your observations mate, all three of them. Knowing your knowledge and abilities with your rifle and loads, a second shot would have no doubt anchored the cow and put her down.

Another lesson comes out of this hunt mate...your Guide will know the area and where the critters are likely to be, but you should carry your own “tools of trade”. Your Guide let you down badly by under estimating the range to the animal and by not having an accurate Range Finder with him...plus he couldn’t call your shot accurately.

I don’t want it to sound like I’m bagging the Guide, but these shortcomings resulted in you questioning your “tools” and an animal that most likely suffered through the night needlessly. At least you were able to harvest her mate.

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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
Two things, first congratulations on the "land carp" lol... elk hunting can be quite fun.

Second, never shoot the lead cow... never.


-DallanC

I'm new to chasing elk.

What's the reason for not shooting the lead cow?

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
plus he couldn’t call your shot accurately.

We thought that the bullet may have been deflected up as it exited the off-side ribcage so it could have hit the dirt further away from the cow looking like it was high/over the back.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
Second, never shoot the lead cow... never.

Dallan, I'm curious for that rational also. I thought without the lead cow, the herd wouldn't know what to do and would hesitate in the area allowing another hunter to harvest an elk before they moved out of range.

( in my situation, I like a younger one for supposed more tender meat but in this situation only the lead cow presented a shot opportunity without another elk behind her)

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Fortune on a NM Cow Elk Hunt Reply with quote

Im going to take a stab at this one....... they are the boss and brains of the herd. they know where the best tucker is,how to get there safely and look after themselves... take them out in the matriarchal society and USUALLY it will be thier daughter that takes over as leader of herd... she will be good at job but not as cunning as the old girl.
back in bad old days when the cullers got onto a mob of red deer out in the open they would gut shoot the leader on purpose so the rest milled around long enough for a bomb up...... thier job/task was to kill as many as possible.

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