Please! Don't Keep Shooting when you don't see an elk go down right away!
This of course applies to all big game hunting but especially to "cow elk". Anyone that has hunted these animals knows or should know how incredible tough and strong they are. Don't make the mistake of putting these animals in the size and strength category of a "white tail" or even a nice "muley". Don't expect that cow to just drop when you pull the trigger,don't be surprised she didn't even act like she was hit. These are big animals with a lot of meat and toughness on them. Even when hit in one or more of the vital regions these animals can sometimes travel exceptional distances and in many cases run until they literally run out of blood and drop,so don't assume you didn't hit that animal because it didn't drop.
I've seen too many times when guys start shooting at one animal it doesn't go down so they start shooting at another and so on and pretty soon you have a wounded elk bleeding to death,becoming coyote and raven food,it's a shame.
Some things to keep in the back of our minds should be to focus on one animal,this can be difficult especially if there are a lot of cows in herd. Bulls are a little easier to pick out and identify because of their antlers. But cow's tend to all look the same especially if there are a lot of them.
Focus on one animal and stay with that animal,if you feel like you got off a pretty good shot,you probably did and your prize is probably awaiting you just over that knob. If you're not sure if you hit her and you have a clear shot by all means shoot again but remember just because you
think you didn't hit her doesn't mean that you didn't. Don't keep the lead flying especially at multiple animals. Yea it sound's like basic common sense right but you would be surprised how many animals are shot and not recovered.
After the shooting stops, the dust settles and the excitement dies begin to look around, mark the tree or rock where you shot from,visualize where the animal was standing when you shot,mark that area in your mind. Give it a few minutes to process everything that just happened and this will also give an animal some time to bleed out and die. Walk up to the area the animal was standing when you shoot mark this area with some bright tape, mark the area where you last saw the animal, mark any blood spots on the ground,it's good to have plenty of marking when tracking an elk, this will also be very useful getting the animal packed out of there also when you must make multiple trips back to the truck (just remember to pick that tape up later).
Always put great effort into finding a wounded animal,we owe at least that much to these great animals. Too often you see some one that has shot at an animal do a quick once over where they thought the animal should be and when it's not there they go back to hunting or head back to the truck. You people know who I am talking about, not the way to be. Put in your time looking for those animals,sometimes that animal might be just on the next rise but you were too lazy to go that extra 200-300 yards. So that animal died for nothing and your freezer went empty-it happens.