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Elk hunt

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  • Elk hunt

    Well my elk hunt is over and done with so here are the sordid details. I got to Raton New Mexico on 12/26/17 and checked into the motel, called the outfitter and let him know which motel and room I stayed in. Next day was spent at the NRA's Whittington Center checking sights and having fun busting a few silhouettes at various ranges. Up at 4:30 the next morning having a cup of coffee and waiting for the guide to come pick me up at 5:15. He's a young guy and has probably one of the best game eyes I've seen in some time. he didn't have very good news to be quite frank. The Raton area had been running roughly 10*F for over a week and cow elk were scarce.

    Day one: We rode around and saw quite a few bull elk that were spooky as hell. Normally I've never seen deer on the ranch nor antelope for that matter but this year I saw dozens of big Mule Deer many in the top trophy class. Guess they knew they were safe as they were not too disturbed when we stopped to look. The antelope always took off at a dead run the minute they spotted the truck. Man can those things run. Come nightfall, not one cow elk did we see. This is the sixth year I've hunted this ranch and usually I see at least one shootable cow even if a stalk is not possible. Casey, my guide was pretty glum by nightfall.

    Day two: Just really a repeat of day one, just seeing more game other than what we sere looking for. Saw several large flocks of turkeys as well as the others earlier mentioned. There was a bit more game movement that the first day.

    Day Three: This was officially the last day of the hunt and things looked no better. Temps were still well above normal and just slightly below freezing in the early AM. High and low temps for the last day were 67 and 27. Normally IIRC, it's low 40's to high 30's for the high and mid to upper teens for the lows. About 7:45 or so we spotted a mixed herd of young bulls spikes and a few cows. I was able to get off a shot as they ran off but DAMMIT! I missed clean. They ran around a small hill and ran out in front of us crossing the road, jumped a fence and kept going. I used a fence post for a rest and broke her neck right at the base of the skull. Frankly, more good luck than skill on my part. But that .35 Whelen Mauser has always been my lucky elk rifle.

    We dropped the elk off at the processor's for cutting and wrapping and went to the motel for rest. Didn't have to get up at Oh dark thirty the next morning.
    The next AM I checked out and drove back to Albuquerque where my wife was staying with our daughter and to celebrate the New Year with them. My elk would not be ready until 1/3/18 and I din't want to stay that long in a motel. Drove up on the 3rd paid for my meat and back to ABQ. Left on the 4th to come home, got the meat in the freezer and crashed. Talked to Joy, the woman who owns the meat processing place and she said no one else has brought in any elk since I brought mine in. Not good.

    For the technically minded, I took two rifle, my custom Mauser .35 Whelen and a custom Mauser in 30-06. The Whelen pushes the 225 gr. Barnes TSX at 2710 FPS at the muzzle. The 30-06 ran the 165 gr. Nosler Accubond at 2880 FPS.

  • #2
    Congrats on getting one of those elusive critters.
    The Whelen sounds like a good shooter.


    • #3
      Yep, this year was a rough one here in Colorado. We had 8 tags and only filled one, and that was opening day of 1st season. We got no snow and 4th season totally sucked. Had high hopes for late season which ended the second weekend of December but still no snow and no elk, except for a couple bulls, but we had only cow tags. Normally we see several hundred elk in late season and are really picky until we find one in just the right place to shoot. Not the story this year. Of course, non of us drew deer this year, that made it no surprise I saw 2 nice 180"+ mule deer. O' and I forgot to mention that bow season was the worst I've had in 20 seasons. I don't know what has happened but no matter where you go there are tons of archery hunters. I guess all those ranch hunt videos make it look so easy, and the weather is nice.


      • #4
        Well done Paul, glad everything worked out well and you got home safely.
        NRA Endowment member
        NRA Range Technical Team Advisor
        TSRA member
        NRA certified pistol coach-Retired
        NRA classified Master, F-Class mid-range
        Velocity is like a new car, always losing value
        BC is like diamonds, maintaining value forever


        • #5
          glad to hear you put meat in the freezer , didnt sound like a great hunt , but it didn't sound like a bad hunt either . well done sir !!


          • #6
            Congrats Paul!

            Glad to hear Joy is still processing Elk too. I know when we were all there 2 years ago, there was word she might be shutting it down.
            Not as Lean, Not as Mean, but still a Marine!

            If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -- Thomas Paine


            • #7
              Good going Paul! Sure miss going there with you.
              Is "Mrs Paul" doing OK?
              Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui

              He who knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool.
              He who knows not and knows he knows not, is wise.