This was a bull I took this past season, 30-06, 180 gr Nosler Partition with H4350 Powder. Winchester Model 70FWT, Pre 64. This particular area had been over hunted, and I didn't see an elk the last two seasons. An early snowfall had kept hunters out the 1st rifle season here in Colorado,so some of the elk that were left were not pushed onto public land.
The guys I usually hunted with have quit hunting and it was either stay home and go solo. Not a great choice, being 75 years old and having a full shoulder replacement in December 2017.
I don't pack in any more,but stay at a Trailhead and ride in every day about 4 miles. I arrived, Wednesday, three days before the season and the set up camp. I then scouted around Thursday and Friday. Seeing a lot of sign, I left camp Saturday morning about 4:00 AM with my saddle mule Woodrow, pack mule Roscoe and got to my hunt area about 6 AM. Tied off the mules and had to walk/climb about a mile and to just shy of 11,000 feet.
I got situated at my stand I have used in the past and waited for 1st light. As it got lighter,I saw shapes up above me about 200 yards in the brush at timberline. The lighter it got, the more they turned into about 15 elk. I could see by their the color that a few were bulls, but they all had their heads down in the brush eating.
I had to crawl out into the open about ten yards as where I was there were a lot of young aspen whips that I could not get a shot thru.Getting there,I put the binos back on them and there were three cows staring at me and bull popped it's head up. I got my rifle on my shooting sticks and with one shot the elk disappeared. The others moved off. Seeing a bull and thinking I missed, I took off, back tracked my trail, and caught them going down thru the brush. Another shot, another miss and they moved into thick timber.
I returned to where I took the first shot, thinking I had to check for blood at least. Climbing the 200yards, I came over a rise and the bull was laying there. He had dropped straight down at the shot into a little depression.
After taking a few photos, I got to work. This was a lot bigger bull than I wanted to shoot and what normally takes me an hour to skin and quarter,took me almost four hours.There were no trees to tie legs off to and I had to do one whole side with the no gut method before could even move him. I bagged the quarters and sawed off the skull plate,then went back down to the mules to get them back to the kill site to load up . I had to leave the saddle mule down the mountain a ways to tie him and then led the pack mule up and was able to tie off to a small brush.It struck me then that I barely was able to get the hind quarters into a bag,how was I going to lift them on a mule? With a lot of struggling I finally did . I loaded the antlers, cinched every thing down and headed back down the mountain to camp.
Once at the camp, two other hunters helped me lift the panniers off the mule as I could not do it myself. After a beer, I hit the sack to rest. The next morning, I returned to the kill site to pack out the front quarters and back straps. Another 6 hour round trip. The next day I headed home ending about the shortest elk hunt I ever had.
This was where I had to tie the pack mule for,loading. Edit Post
The shooting world has been trying to improve upon the '06 with a good 180 for a long time - however it remains the gold standard for a big game load with moderate recoil and decisive performance on ANY NA game animal. A classic set-up for a noble critter. Thanks for sharing your story!