I was able to purchase an over-the-counter elk tag to hunt in Walden, so Keith, my husband, and I took Kassidi and Kelli, our twin girls with us to hunt because they like to be in the out-of-doors. We take both girls every October and generally get a bull tag and a cow tag. Keith was hunting by himself and Kassidi, Kelli and I were on the edge of an open park, waiting for that last ray of sunlight, to try and spot an elk that might come down to feed in the park. Kelli was about 60 yards from Kassidi and me because Kelli likes to hunt by herself. They had complained earlier in the day about their guns being so heavy, so they both decided to take their bipods off their rifles. I told them that carrying a heavier rifle with a bipod on it is worth having the opportunity to take a shot. Then you’ll have a really good rest and can take a long shot. You can get rock solid on the ground and have your bipod to hold the rifle up. But they went ahead and took their bipods off their rifles.
During that last bit of daylight, I spotted a bull elk on the other side of the park with my binoculars, looking right at us and seeming to think, “I’m too far from you for you to take a shot.” When I ranged the bull with my range finder, he was at 438 yards. I showed my girls the bull, and they both said “Mom, that bull is too far for us to make a shot. Why don’t you take him?” I shoot a .300 short Win. Mag. and have it topped with a Leupold 3-9X scope. Inside my scope, I have MilDots with the ranges. I had a 400-yard dot and a 500-hundred yard dot. So, I aimed between the two dots and took the shot. When I squeezed the trigger, the bull dropped! The girls couldn’t believe I’d made that shot, and they were more excited than I was. I had a bull that weighed between 800 and 900 pounds on the ground and two 12-year old girls with me. My husband Keith was hunting only two ridges over from us, and he heard the shot and started coming to us.
We were also hunting in the same area as another husband and wife and their two sons. They heard the shot too. Everyone came to where the girls and I were. In the dark, we skinned the elk, boned him and carried the meat out. We only had to go about 2 miles. My husband and I both carry packs that can be converted into meat packs. I carried a meat pack, and Keith carried a meat pack, while the girls carried our guns, binoculars and other equipment. The other couple also helped us carry out the meat. Everyone carried out either meat or guns and packs, so we were able to get the entire bull out in one trip. Because we didn’t have a saw to cut the antlers out of the skull, Keith skinned the neck out up to where it connected with the skull and carried out the skull and antlers along with his meat pack.
Having eight people to help makes skinning, boning, packing and hauling the meat out much easier, and the girls thought that was a really neat hunt. They got to see Mom take an elk at long range; they got to watch and help with the skinning, boning out and packing of the meat; and they carried our guns and other equipment out while we packed out the meat.
Tomorrow: A Doe for Kelli