2018 Wyoming Elk Hunt

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
655
Been a bit since I have been able to get on here and type all of this up. Joel, Matt, Bill, my little brother (18 year old) Jake, and myself all converged on Wyoming for the early cow/calf elk hunt in the Big Horns near Sheridan. It was a pretty special hunt for me as my little brother was born AFTER I joined the Marine Corps so I was sort of an absentee big brother. Heck, all of my brothers and sisters were little when I left, but these were the youngest of the herd.

Anyhow, back at it. Jake drove down from Upstate NY to my house here in Northern Va. Matt flew into Dulles, and I picked him up and we all converged on the house and started packing, cooking, packing, BS'ing etc. That night we pretty much packed up the enclosed trailer so all we had to do was load the cold goods into the Yeti and place them in the trailer.. Easy day with three hands.

So, fairly early the next morning we go on the road headed general Northwest.

Here is a shot of Matt giving it an ollll stretch somewhere in Ohio!





I believe somewhere around South Dakota we found our first Taco Johns... God bless that place but my truck took on some kinda new odor after the early morning breakfast meal!



Long story short on this, we made it to the border of Wyoming without any trouble, the truck/trailer pulled excellent and we weren't even really gassed from the drive!



We got into the camp ground without issue. The ol Goat (AKA Bill) met us coming up the mountain and provided us safe and compass like pilot car skills into the camp ground. We went to work that afternoon putting the tent up and getting the woodstove burning. Jake took on the duties as the wood stove stocker upper. I believe since he is about 150lbs and get chilled at the slightest breeze he figured it was about the only chance of him surviving the week.

That night we all BS'ed and talked about what we were going to do in the morning. My trucks Anti-Lock brake light had come on during the trip which made the truck a pain in the butt to get into 4wd. I said I'd run down into Sheridan and see if they could fix my truck up and get everything back to normal. That evening as we were all heading down to bed, it was snowing pretty decent. None of us gave it much thought till about 0200L we heard an almost silent "whooooosssshhhh"... Then felt the tent kinda close to us...

Since it wasn't directly on us, and the stove area was still upright, I said to heck with it and waited till first light to crawl outta the tent and assess the damages..



What happened was I have a couple of conduit connectors that attached two 10ft lengths of pipe.. Well, when we got a bit of snow load on the tent, the connectors no longer wanted that job and just quit. The bad part is it bent a bunch of legs and a few of the roof poles under the snow load of falling..

Whatever, didn't matter, it is elk camp, stuff happens. Got the truck fired up in the morning, took a shopping list into town and Jake and I headed to Sheridan. Couldn't get the truck fixed at the Dodge dealer, but the local Firestone shop was excellent. Had us fixed up easily... Apparently some numbskull (me) attached the 5th wheel plate over one of the Antilock brake lines 4 years ago and 143,000 miles ago and it just started raising havoc. He fixed my error, paid a small bill and we headed for Home Depot for pipe. Got all of the goods, and Bill's Chocolate Chunk cookies and headed back to camp!

We got to camp and commenced to fixing the tent and getting it back up again. No big deal really, everyone pitched in and we reinforced some of the week spots and got everything back to normal. I wanna say this is a day or maybe two before the opener.. So far I haven't even had a chance to get out and really look at any of the areas we wanted to hunt.



So, the next few days were really just alot of scouting even though it was hunting time, it was all new country to all of us and this country is thickly covered. Not a real good place to sit on the side of the mountain and glass openings.. Just isn't that sorta ground and on top of that, the snow started pushing elk off the National Forest down on to the private ranch area.

Jake and I hunted together for the most part. Joel, Bill and Matt kinda tag teamed some promising ground. OnX Maps is a darned GREAT too fellas. If you hunt ground you aren't familiar with, it is really a great tool. Anyhow, we covered alot of ground. I think the first hunting day Jake and I cleared about 15 miles. I am sure that was the longest day, but we probably never had less than about an 8 mile day.

I think around the 3-4th day, Joel and Matt got into some elk and they put a beaut of a cow down. Jake and I had scouted the area the day before and were planning to go back there, but we got a load of snow that night, caught a cow elk in the open near camp, so we shifted gears and decided to see if we could find where the cow went to. Joel and Matt go into the area and zapped the cow.. Alright, so we have some elk on the ground. They are SCARCE though. Jake and I never saw an elk until the last day we hunted and Jake took his elk.

Bill was hunting around the mountain, fairly close by the camp. I think he saw more bull elk than anything. We all saw alot of moose. Even some large bear tracks.



A few pictures of Jake and I adventuring or taking our rifles for a walk... However you wanna say it! HA!







And Bill found himself a 4 legged animal up on the mountain doing some hunting himself.. He said his 300 was barely enough for the task, so I told him he could use my 270 just to make himself comfortable :mrgreen:





Of course I had to take a few pictures of the rifles...

375 Ackley





Mashburn Super





Anyhow, after the fellas got back to camp and gave us the download, Jake and I decided to give it a go in the same area that day. We still hunted in all morning and spent a bunch of time around the hill Matt and Joel took their cow, then we started circling the timber in order to find a spot to lay up in the afternoon and hunt the evening.



We made a few miles and found a beautiful looking area, and found a great place to glass from but by about 1600 or so, I just wasn't feeling it and looking at the maps, decided to still hunt towards the trail and see if we could hunt some of the meadows around that area. SOOOOOO, we packed up, and started hiking towards the trail. About the time we broke out of the timber and started climbing up into the first meadow, I just caught a glimpse of an elk butt... Immediately I dropped back down out of sight to the elk that were 200 yards or so away and told Jake to ditch his pack, there are elk in front of to kill..

So, we slowly got up the hill hunched over, then we started low crawling up onto the crest of the hill. The grass was light colored and was about 18" tall or so, so we had to get up pretty high to get enough of an observation through our scopes. Well, here we are at the top, 17-20 elk in the open. First off, I have to admit, as soon as I had a killable elk in view, I stopped, firmed up my elbows with my sling and got ready to kill one.... I stopped and asked Jake how he was doing.. He was a little taken about by all of the sudden he could see tons of elk in the open. I told him to pick any elk on the side hill and when he shoots, I will pick up seconds..... Cause we all know elk don't just run away like whitetails, they kinda wander about when one is shot and generally move outta the danger area, right? :lol:

Well, about this time, I am talking to Jake, he is being cautious as to not shoot an elk that has another right behind it. I am also pushing him just a little cause a couple on the edges of the herd are feeling a little uneasy and starting to walk back into the herds main area. I also had a thought to tell Jake not to shoot the LIGHT colored elk in the center as it was a bull, but his head was behind a small Christmas tree..

Anyhow, Jake levels up on the elk, squeezing the trigger on his little Ruger 270 Winchester, custom fed by him, with 140 grain Tipped Trophy Bonded Bear Claws and H4831SC... BAM! Down goes his cow in a heap, 240 yards away. Immediately these danged elk are Whitetails, RUNNING like the darned Boogeyman is after them, straight down the hill into the Timber. I get up and run as fast as I can, trying to catch one standing on the timber or near it. One cow stands at the edge after a 200 yard run by me and what happens, that danged bull valiantly runs right in front of her, as if he knows I can't shoot him! Ah well, they all jetted into the timber, I turn around and Jake is standing near me.. Anyhow, hugs commence. I am so danged happy, I could have shot a danged 350 bull and never been as happy as I was. My little brother toughed out a solid 6 days in the mountains, never seeing an elk till we found these, and kept his bearing and hammered the elk just like he had practiced all Summer.

This all happened around 1815L, so it was getting dark pretty quick. We made it up to his elk, took some pictures and then the skinning, quartering, meat prep began.

Here is where Jake shot from



At the site of the memory





Trying to get a selfie with your lil brother and an elk isn't easy!



Anyhow, we skinned her out full as Jake wanted to get the hide tanned, quartered her, hid the quarters in the timber and of course tagged her. Then we took a full load out to the truck. Luckily, it wasn't too bad, we were about 1.5 miles from the truck, with only a couple steep inclines to the truck..

We got back into camp about 2300L that evening. Bill actually was coming to look for us about the time we were rolling near the camp..

That night was alot of backslapping and talking about Jake and the elk. And how 270's just crush things when you apply great bullets! :lol:

Anyhow, the next day, we decide to pack up camp, pack the rest of the elk out and get off the mountain. A big storm was coming and we didn't want Bill stranded up on the mountain with the camper. We got Bill packed up and on his way, Joel, Jake and myself took off and recovered the rest of the elk.





Back at the truck, we all had a big glass of water and relaxed, since all that was left was getting back, dropping the tent and rolling out!





Anyhow, the ride back for Jake and I was pretty danged easy. Matt had to fly back due to work, so Jake and I just drove till we were tired, slept a few hours in the truck. Dewey took pity on a couple smelly elk hunters in Ohio and got us some supper/breakfast (depending on how you look at it)!... It was great.

We got back to Virginia the next day, unloaded our gear and just relaxed. We talked about guns, bullets, scopes, hunting, and all the danged stuff I cannot get enough of. Jake started making plans to hunt again the following year! I was stoked, he loved elk hunting! Doesn't get any better than that when you can share hunts with great friends and family!

Jake took off the next morning for NY, and I went back to work. He sent me a shot of the elk hanging in his cooler in NY!



Doesn't get much better than that. All I can say is we hunted hard as we could, on public land we had never been on, and found elk. We were MIGHTY close to taking 4 elk, but God had a plan and said we had had enough, I was okay with that. The memory is etched in my brain.

Here are a couple of pictures Matt sent along as well.



Matt and Joel's cow



Here are a couple of happy (happy is relative in elk country) elk packers.



Matt and Bill on the mountain.



Anyhow, that's the story as I remember it, Joel and Bill might be able to clue me in and fill in any details I am leaving out! Sorry for the long post!
 

Gun nut

Handloader
Jun 8, 2016
390
14
SJB, Excellent post. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations! Invaluable experience and memories.
Duane
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,189
1,739
What a great hunt! We were there with you in every detail. Super account. Congratulations to the successful hunters. So, there are spider monkeys in SD? Well, at least after Taco John's.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
655
Thanks fellas. Was a great time. Hard hunts always make for great stories!
 

cloverleaf

Handloader
Sep 10, 2006
3,887
209
Great story! Thanks for the long post. Congrats to all, to your "little" brother and to you for the time together. Well done! CL
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,239
536
Great work Scott! Thanks for sharing.

So you actually carried a 270?
 

joelkdouglas

Handloader
Jun 5, 2011
1,310
0
Some more photos...

First elk spotted
sU9BWIv.jpg


Moose #1
ckNqxrr.jpg


moose #2
ya4zmo6.jpg


moose #3
e7Njl3c.jpg


I was tired of seeing moose and not elk.

Topography
7vsn4G5.jpg


BbtpicE.jpg


oE9y3bF.jpg


Packing
EgMWI3I.jpg


OVsWRwC.jpg


AHUY8Vl.jpg


5wctfgi.jpg
 

joelkdouglas

Handloader
Jun 5, 2011
1,310
0
I'm confident had we stayed 2 more days we could have killed 2 more elk. The last 3 days we were into elk every day, just took some days to find them!
 

AFG270

Handloader
Aug 26, 2013
835
167
Congratulations to your brother, Scotty. Nice elk and great shooting with a good ol 270. Thanks for sharing the great story and photos. Thank you as well, Joel. Very nice.
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,631
1,319
Good job Scotty & Jake & all.

Congrats.

Scotty, you did a nice job of sharing the story with words & photos.

Thanks, Guy
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,189
1,739
Joel, thank you for the additional photos. They truly allow us to be right there with you.
 

Europe

Handloader
Jun 18, 2014
1,125
94
Scotty

Excellent write up, thank you. Congratulations on a successful hunt --time with friends, brother, wildlife, and meat in the freezer, it just doesn't get any better than that.

Wish you had had a moose tag, that would have been nice.

Thanks Scotty, your story is most welcome to those of us who are not able to be there anymore
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
655
joelkdouglas":2els8e5k said:
I'm confident had we stayed 2 more days we could have killed 2 more elk. The last 3 days we were into elk every day, just took some days to find them!

I would agree with Joel here! I wanted to stay and get after them a little more myself, but then again, I never really wanna leave!

Thanks for all the thanks, its a blessing to be out in the country with friends in the Rockies!
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,189
1,739
SJB358":o6117nmf said:
joelkdouglas":o6117nmf said:
I'm confident had we stayed 2 more days we could have killed 2 more elk. The last 3 days we were into elk every day, just took some days to find them!

I would agree with Joel here! I wanted to stay and get after them a little more myself, but then again, I never really wanna leave!

Thanks for all the thanks, its a blessing to be out in the country with friends in the Rockies!

Well, then you may just have to move. :mrgreen:
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
655
And a quick blurb about my little brothers load. I just got him started reloading this past year. I fronted him a fairly good RCBS kit. It was two fold, I wanted to get out of having to load for him and I thought he should do it himself. I got him everything he needed, plus some brass, 140 grain Tipped TBBC's and some H4831SC. He went to work pretty quick and was pretty quick to find a load hovering around an 1" or better at a 100. As Summer came, he was shooting more and more and we got him out to 250, 400, 450 and 500 yards with the load. On a weekend I was home I stuck the Magnetospeed on it, it was clocking 2912 FPS Average.. I was more than happy with the combo. We zeroed everything to be dead on at 250 and he learned his drops at 400 and the top of the post in his 6X Weaver was a solid aiming point at 500. He sent a few pictures of sub 4" groups at 500. This was all shooting over his pack outta the back of his truck. He understood the practice had paid off when his elk was was at 240 and he had zero problems getting prone and taking a lethal shot, knowing he had already done it a 100X's. Very proud of him.

The 140 Tipped TBBC worked excellent fella's, probably no better than a Swift, Nosler or whatever, but they are EASY to make accurate loads are pretty sleek for a hunting bullet of its composition. The bullet crushed the upper scapula and pulverized the backbone in that area. I dug around doing a little post shot with my knife, but that bullet blew through there without issue. Pretty solid performance for a 270 Winchester. Plus, I made him a believer in good bullets for BG. Plus, now he is hooked on elk hunting and handloading. Right now he is working with his 243 Win using 95 grain Ballistic Tips and his 22-250 with the 50 grain TTSX's.
 

Europe

Handloader
Jun 18, 2014
1,125
94
Scotty, you are a good brother, friend, mentor. He is very fortunate to have a big brother like you

What platform is he using for the 243. A lot of folks have always laughed at my love of the 243, but I always liked it and just today ask Gil to consider it instead of the 218 Bee.

Congrats again to your brother and thanks again for the fine write up

Maybe next year you can also have moose tag in your pocket or is that not possible in the area where you hunted or at that time of year. I always wanted to be like Gil, Hodgeman and Cheyenne--I am hungry lets go harvest something LOL
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,355
655
Europe":g8nommpu said:
Scotty, you are a good brother, friend, mentor. He is very fortunate to have a big brother like you

What platform is he using for the 243. A lot of folks have always laughed at my love of the 243, but I always liked it and just today ask Gil to consider it instead of the 218 Weatherby.

Congrats again to your brother and thanks again for the fine write up

Maybe next year you can also have moose tag in your pocket or is that not possible in the area where you hunted or at that time of year. I always wanted to be like Gil, Hodgeman and Cheyenne--I am hungry lets go harvest something LOL

It is great to spend the time with him. He is going to be an awesome hunter as he grows up. he is already planning his next outting.

I think his 243 is a Mossberg 4x4. Not sure, but a 243 Winchester, where I am from is a big rifle. Alot of us have taken a slew of buck and doe with the 95 grain Ballistic Tip. It has always been very good to us.

Not sure about the moose tag, pretty sure it is a 14-15 point deal and I have 3, so I am bit away from the moose tag.

Guy Miner":g8nommpu said:
Seems that it all worked out really well Scotty.

Good stuff.

It did Guy. Was good to pass it on to him. I hope the bug bites him 1/2 as hard as it has to me.. I think it has though. We text 10X a day about rifles, trucks, bullets and whatever else.
 
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