Scenario: Bull elk walking through his harem of cows
Rifle: Bergara B-14; 300 Win. Mag.
Range: 264 yards
Conditions: Cloudy, 52 degrees, variable breeze
Most elk hunts come down to seconds when you finally see your opportunity through the pines. This is your window, and if you wait too long this bull will walk right out of your riflescope reticle. Nikon rangefinding is done: 264 yards. There’s no need to use your cow call because this bull is surrounded by estrogen. So which shot option below do you think is best, A, B or C? Or would you wait for a better shot?
A. Quartering-away shots are heaven for bow and rifle hunters alike. You need to plant your Hornady ELD-X bullet right behind the shoulder to penetrate both lungs, creating a wound channel too big for a Band-Aid. Line up your reticle with the far leg and . . . wait! This bull is walking, so if you don’t lead this shot, you’re not going to like the ending.
B. That’s better. You’re aiming for the same heart/lung area as in option A, but now you have a better lead and you’re just a touch lower. Don’t take the reticle off hair, but place it out in front of the near leg to whack-a-mole right in the pump room.
C. If you appreciate the work of a hard-hitting bullet and want the bull to drop in his tracks, then the high shoulder shot is for you. You’ll need to lead into the neck, but land the shot where the top of the shoulder meets the neck, which will take the legs out from under this backcountry big boy.
Are you still indecisive? If so, wait for a better shot. That said, I’m choosing option B. Watch the video below to see how my good friend Eddie whacked this big, backcountry bull.
Images and video by Mark Kayser