First Big Game Harvest
by Bill Smith
Buck Harvested During Elk Hunt
Thanks to the DIY sections of Elk-Hunting-Tips.Net for making my first ever harvest as seamless as possible, even though I forgot to put my memory card back in the camera after the previous day's hunt. Thank goodness for my hunting partner Scott (pictured) for sharing the load of hauling the buck back up to the trail. Thanks for putting up the site; it saved my tush as a noob this past three years.
Although this is not a whitetail forum, I am pleased to say I harvested a nice 4x4 using the tools, knowledge and advice of elk-hunting-tips.net DIY hunts. Nothing but reality prepares you for hauling a critter this heavy three hundred feet up a ravine to make it to your trail head. There is no way I could have hauled him out by myself unless I deboned and quartered it. Definitely would have had to spend the night in an area teaming with bears to recover the harvest.
This is my third year chasing elk, but after harvesting this buck I realize harvesting an elk is a team effort unless you have triathlete type endurance and strength. Dragging an animal weighing in around 150 pounds on snow, in a tarp for three plus miles was grueling, exhausting, muscle spasm causing, and totally worth it!
My hunting partner and I worked very hard trying to track down numerous fresh tracks, but extreme terrain and lack of physical fitness kept us from laying eyes on the elk we know are there. Maybe next year.
On a more positive note, Friday we spotted a doe on the opposite side of the canyon about 200-300 yards away. Spotting the doe across a ravine led us to believe there might be a buck in the area. The past two weeks, even the young does have at least one buck chasing them around. So we glassed the area and sure enough my hunting partner found the rump of a deer sticking out of a bush.
He couldn't tell if it was a buck but after three small head movements, I could tell the antlers from the small brush (brush didn't move). Even though my buddy spotted it he didn't have a shot so I set in and found a hole in the branches of a tree to shoot through for a clean 200 yard shot.
One shot from my 1962 Sears Roebuck model 45 in .35 Rem (Marlin 336) struck at the point of the shoulder and the buck went down instantly. Another Elk Hunting Tip, "shot placement."
I might add that my .35 Rem appears to have dropped a medium deer flawlessly, but I now have serious doubts as to its capability to take an elk. The bullet did not exit the opposite side, the heart and liver were intact but everything above it was mush along with two broken ribs. I doubt the round would have had the same effect on a large elk.
I shoot Hornady Lever Evolution 200 gr. FTX for lever action carbines. They help me achieve 1 moa at 100 yds and 3 inch groups at 200 yards on a good day. Ok, I'm done. Thanks for listening, God bless and I hope the last day of Montana's big game season is a good one for everyone.