1st time elk hunter report


Well Known Rokslider
Feb 29, 2020
Central NY
Finished my first elk hunt and wanted to report what I did right and what I did wrong
What I did right
1. joined Rokslide best source of information and opinions out there
2. My rifle - I picked a less popular choice in brand the Browning A bolt 3 in 300 win mag - practiced a lot since the spring when I got the rifle ( two other in our party also bought the same configuration) all shoot well and all in our group shot well to 500 yards, I hit the 8" metal target several times at 700 yards so I am very happy with rifle and factory ammo
3. Boot choice - I love my Merrells and I bought some Danners - Both did exceptionally well, I hunted the Merrells more as they were uninsulated and lighter
4. Socks - Darn tough Uncle Bucks - enough said there is nothing better
5. Merino wool - I used several brands for anything that touched my skin and it worked great when I walked and sweated or sat and glassed
6. Pack - I picked the badlands creed and it worked great and will be an essential piece going forward for day or short hunts, I had to use an Alps bladder as the badlands wasn't in stock in time.
7. Shooting sticks - Primos gen 3 tripod taller version -they worked as advertised for shooting but doubled down as a walking stick as well
8. performance clothes - I bought too much but it all worked in the warm temps we had, I tried them out pheasant hunting in October when it was colder and they worked then so I think I did good on my selections
9. Going with a guide - No one in our group had hunted Elk before so using a guide was a smart choice and we got somewhat lucky in our choice. There were 6 of us and we tagged two bulls and 3 cows with my unrecovered being the 7th animal. Two of our guides were excellent the third was mediocre but we were able to compare our hunts and learn what works and what doesn't. We all saw elk every day but some where farther than an ethical shot could be taken and the guides didn't want shots to be taken that weren't within our capability

What I did wrong
1. Fitness level wasn't what it should have been, I did walk/march 12 miles in one day with the guide but I should have been in better shape, I did not enjoy that day or the next but it was my fault
2. Elk are tougher an faster than I gave them credit for - My cow was hit in the lungs first shot and front shoulder the second time and still managed to go over 5 miles to property that we did not have permission to hunt never got another chance to put her down.
3. Need a better range finder, mine works for Eastern woods but not for Western open areas, guide had the Sig 2200 which worker better
4. Gaiters - I had a set but they did not work for me, and if we had snow I would have been up the preverbal creek, will need shorter ones or ones that can accommodate xxl calves
5 Spotting scope -The two better guides had Swarovski units that were great, third had a vortex straight line that was inadequate, glassing was everything, next time I'm bringing my own - its a luxury purchase but essential

We hunted in Colorado unit 11 outside Meeker on a combination of private and BLM lands with two hunters to one guide. Everybody had a great time and made some incredible memories, we took two Bulls and three Cows which exceeded our expectations. Our ranch had a huge population of large racked Mule deer as did the local area something we are looking at in the future.