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#7309616 - 01/14/13 New Mexico cow elk hunt report.
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 13991
Loc: Land of loons
Well we have returned from our annual New Mexico cow elk hunt. Each year is a much anticipated adventure. One never knows how the weather, vehicles, Mother Nature and the elk will perform. We were fortunate to take 4 cows over 4 days.

We were greeted by the usual domesticated natives. Maggie was the only one willing to stand still for her photo.



Others were also waiting and hoping we were going to be successful.



These beauties were with us every day.



And the most dominant - the Golden Eagles.



The first sun-up was a very chilly -22*F.


A little shocking even for Minnesotans. Layering was important as always. Snow shoes were the order of the day as anywhere from 12" to 20" was encountered down below. We hunted in two man teams and quite a few elk were spotted the first morning. This first half day is sort of a "shake down" time to check your equipment and make certain everything is working. I was glad to have Hodgdon Extreme 4350 loaded for the pre'64 30-06 with 180gr. Partitions.
A good spotting area is usually a benefit as herd location and movement can be noted. Back at the cabin for a quick lunch, warm-up and pow-wow confirmed that the elk were there in good numbers and we just had to put some good stalking plans together.

My afternoon plan was to snow shoe up to a vantage point where I could glass the opposite southern hillside. The snow had melted there giving the elk food and quick available cover. My partner went along but stayed lower to watch another ravine. After about an hour of gaining altitude, I was getting into the area that I wanted to be.
This is the view across to the other side.



As you can see I was in the dark timber side could see various views of the sunny hillside which I hoped would attract some elk. We all know from experience that smaller groups are easier to approach - fewer eyes, ears and noses!

Now in the area, I wanted to glass and just be vigilant. But first I needed to drop the pack and exchange the two damp layers for some dry stuff. It was now about 10*F.
Well, I didn't get that far. While taking the pack off I spied some movement on the other side - a group of about 8 feeding on the hillside.

This is a close-up view from where I setup for the shot.
That large dead tree was where I snuck down to and brushed the snow off trunk.



I ranged the closest cow at 285 yards. I glassed all the others as they came into view. No spikes to worry about and they all appeared to be about the same size. The two closest cows gave me the worst angles. One with her butt to me and the other facing me. With the downward angle about 30 degrees I prepped for an aiming point of slightly above even. The rifle was sighted in to be "on" at 200 yards.
Getting into shooting position with the snow shoes on gave me a cramp in my right leg! I hope the elk wouldn't see my commotion!

Finally the closest elk turned broadside and things worked out quite well. At the shot, the others jogged uphill into the pines. My cow stood in place and slowly tried to walk uphill. Screened by the pines, she was out of sight for about 30 seconds but I heard some brush and branches break as she toppled over and slid into view.

This is what we came for.



They always seem to fall with their feet downhill. A wrestling match ensued to roll her over so I could tie off a rear leg for field dressing. The shot angle produced a double lung pass thru so no bullet pics this year.

A quick report of the other 3 hunter successes is as follows:

Two cows taken with a boat paddle Ruger 300WM using 180gr. WW Power Points. The dad got his at 335 yards and the son the next day at 300 yards. Both were pass thrus as well.

The other hunter had a hour long sneak thru a winding creek bed to get at a herd of 29 out in the middle of a field. We were about to pass them up but a thorough search with binos showed a successful stalk could be made if the wind held.
It did and he got a 145 yard opportunity. The only concern was to make sure that a pass thru wouldn't wound another cow.
I watched the entire event unfold from a half mile away. I sat under a big Ponderosa pine making a big show of my presence which I think kept the elks attention in my direction. I saw the cow drop thru my Leicas and then heard the shot. Pretty neat.

We were going to hunt this saddle. The elk did show up where we thought they would.



But we got side tracked with the "creek sneak" instead.
With a 30 year old Remington pump, 30-06 with 180gr. Silvertips. Yes a pass thru.



All told a very successful hunt, without any real problems.
The temps stayed pretty cold, with the other morning lows at -15*F, -5*F and -12*F. Thankfully the wind was minimal and the sunshine warmed things up in the afternoon.

So with notched tags and full freezers, we are happy and ready to go back!

[img]http://i875.photobucket.com/albums/ab311/bizypix/L1040505_zpsb6bfa3b4.jpg[/img]






Edited by bigwhoop (01/14/13)
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#7309654 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
Mark R Dobrenski Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/19/01
Posts: 28277
Loc: Bozeman, Montana
Great pics, especially love the first and last ones.

How big is the ranch you're hunting?

Thx 4 sharing, looks like good vittles.

Dober
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#7309659 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
handwerk Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 4044
Loc: n.e. Mn.
BW, congrats and thanks for the great write-up and wonderful pictures. Nice to see yet another pre 64 M70 at work. Nothing like a freezer full of fresh elk.

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#7309745 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
sidepass Online   content
Campfire Regular

Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 1369
Loc: Northern Ca
Bigwhoop.
Congrats on the sucessful hunt. What unit is this? My archery hunt was unit 2 and 90 degrees daily. Did bump a very large bull but just could not close the distance. Hoping to draw another unit 15 tag this coming year. But many are hoping the same.
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#7310232 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: sidepass]
BobinNH Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 30532
BW: Nicely done! wink
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#7310290 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: BobinNH]
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 13991
Loc: Land of loons
This is a 14,000 acre ranch in Unit 55 located in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
Don't know why the last photo is "hung up". Thanks for the comments.


Edited by bigwhoop (01/14/13)
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#7310414 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
pointer Online   content
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 9602
Loc: Indiana
Very nice! Looks like a great trip. Congrats.

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#7310746 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: pointer]
AMRA Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/07/06
Posts: 1574
Loc: Alabama
BW Nice Hunting Report !
What is the specs on the Old Pump Action 30-06?

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#7310838 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
Mark R Dobrenski Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/19/01
Posts: 28277
Loc: Bozeman, Montana
Sounds nice BW, totally love the "creek sneak" with the 30 year old 760... wink

Dober
_________________________
"True respect starts with the way you treat others, and it is earned over a lifetime of demonstrating kindness, honor and dignity"....Tony Dungy

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#7311969 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: Mark R Dobrenski]
Huntr Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 10604
Loc: New Mexico
Very nice!

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#7312595 - 01/14/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: Huntr]
JWP58 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/16/12
Posts: 560
Loc: N/A
Very awesome. You'll be eating well for the next year.

Who woulda thunk it that an old 30-06 could still get the job done. A pump '06 at that. I thought the only rifle that could kill an elk is a titanium boutique mountain rifle.

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#7313259 - 01/15/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: JWP58]
bigwhoop Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 13991
Loc: Land of loons
The wife and I just finished one of the last pot roasts from last years cow. Its going to be a great year to enjoy a freshly filled freezer.
_________________________
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#7355562 - 01/24/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: bigwhoop]
stevenautique Online   content
Campfire Regular

Registered: 03/09/12
Posts: 1037
Loc: MN
Hey BW- just found your report. Glad you finally notched an elk with your 06'. Your right- 20 below is a bit chilly. I guess even us minnesotans would need a long sleeve shirt in the mornings smile

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#7357043 - 01/24/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: stevenautique]
PJGunner Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 3140
Loc: Tucson AZ
Nice hunt. I took my NM cow elk on the Vermejo park ranch on 1/11/13 and yes, it was still damn cold. I estimate the temp at roughly 25 to 30 degrees with a storm coming in. Winds were about 25 gusting 50 and the wind chill was nasty. I'm estiating about -25 give or take. At least the winds never reached the gust to 70 MPH forecast. My pargtner used a 7MM Rem. Mag. with 160 gr. Accubonds and shot his elk as a lasered 317 yards. I got mine about an hour or so later at 325 to 350 yards estimated by our guide. My rifle was a .35 Whelen shooting the 225 gr. TSX. Elk definitely hate that bullet. We'll be booking again next yeear, God willing and the crick don't rise. grin

Paul B.


Edited by PJGunner (01/24/13)

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#7357134 - 01/24/13 Re: New Mexico cow elk hunt report. [Re: PJGunner]
Slidellkid Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/09/07
Posts: 2213
Great story and photos!

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