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We have just returned from my wife's successful cow elk hunt. After a couple spot-and-stalks to several foot races at 6,800 elevation through juniper forest, open country and up and down canyons we finally managed to out flank a hurd of about 30 elk for a 150 yard shot on the sixth day of her hunt.

The rut was in its peak and added to the excitement of the hunt. We overheard more than a couple running fights between hurd bulls and satellite challengers. We just missed witnessing an epic battle. We saw a large dust cloud rising a few hundred yards in front of us. We could hear bulls screaming bugles at each other, trees snapping and what we thought were rifle shots from some other hunter.

We arrived on the scene as the dust was settling to find great furrows in the earth, splintered trees, up rooted stumps and big tufts of hair drifting on the breeze. What we thought were gun shots, turned out to be elk antlers shattering. I picked up the better part of a dozen broken tines off the battlefield. Of course my wife just rolled her eyes and said, "Guys collect the weirdest thing".

Arizona has had an exceptionally hot and dry year. Waterholes that have held water as far back as the 60s, have been dry for over a year. The water sources that do remain, have been hunted so heavily, game animals have learned to not be there anywhere near legal shooting times. We started out about a mile and a half from their morning drink and would have to move at least a 1/4 mile farther everyday as they would come through about a half hour earlier each day.
 

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A couple of weeks prior, I had spent a week or so, in the same area, helping a buddy on his antelope hunt and doing some archery deer hunting and knew the area somewhat. We decided to position ourselves way out ahead of them on the opposite side of a canyon between two known crossings that are about a mile apart. 15 minutes after sunrise, we heard, what could be discribed as a growl directly across the canyon from us, the heard bull was horse from weeks of constant bugaling, he could hardly make any sound.

A moment later, we heard it again a little further up the canyon and got a brief glimpse of elk moving fast for the upper crossing. I knew immediately we may not beat them to the upper crossing as we took off as fast as we could in pursuit! As we were scrambling down a side canyon, still 800 yards from the upper crossing, we could see elk beginning to pour over the rim into the bottom of the narrow canyon. I hoped if we could make it to the next ridge my wife might get a shot at some stragglers. With legs and lungs burning, we "sprinted" up the other side.

As luck would have it, the elk began to slow as they reached our side of the canyon. The wind and sun were in our favor that morning, too. We could see elk moving through the juniper across the ridge at 180 yards. We crept forward to the last juniper on our side. The lead cow stepped out less than 150 yards from us, I gave a quick whistle, freezing her broadside to us.

My wife squeezed of a round, I watched the cow's hind legs stumble a little as she looked around confused. She ran towards us, away from the ricochet of the pass through. As my wife cycled the action, I gave another whistle freezing the cow again broadside about 130 yards away and my wife fired again. The cow ran about 60 yards to the treeline, stopping behind the first juniper.
 
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
We watched the elk stand there, unable to get another shot into the cow. My wife had scoped herself on each shot and we tended to the blood dripping off her nose. After about 20 minutes some jackwagon came driving his side-by-side around off-road on the other side of the canyon, shouting at us if we were doing the shooting. This caused the elk to move deeper into the trees. I radioed for my buddy and he and his wife showed up about a half hour later.

We investigated the scene finding quite a bit of dark and light blood at the shot locations but not as much as we hoped where the elk had stood for so long. We decided to give the wounded cow a couple of hours before trailing her. The dry powdery dirt proved very difficult to fallow her tracks and dwindling bloodtrail. It took more than another hour to locate her about 250 yards from where she had stood in the juniper.

The cow elk was exceptional large. We estimated her to be near 600 lbs liveweight (we took 198 lbs of meat alone to the butcher). it was all the four of us could do to drag her 25 feet into the shade. After taking the obligatory hero shots of the huntress and her prize, we had to work quickly as temperatures we're reaching the 80s. In about an hour we started to have quarters hanging in the trees to cool.

At autopsy, we discovered her first shot from my wife's 270 Winchester was good, but the 140 grain accubond struck no ribs, in or out, and failed to expand properly. It did just barely nick a blood vessel to the heart and punch .270" holes through the lungs. Her second shot was low and through the stomach. It did strike bone but undigested vegetation plugged the exit wound.
 
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We offer our sincere gratitude for all who helped and gave constructive criticism on this forum in preparation of this successful hunt, thank you!
 

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Congrats to the huntress, and the proud hubby. Good meat for the freezer is always a huge victory.
 
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Damn good hunt. She is a good shot. Wears her scabs proudly....lol
Congrats to Her
 
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Great hunt and write-up. Congratulations to the successful hunter.
 
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Congrats to you and your wife. To bad the 140 gr bullet didn't expand like it should have, but as they say merde happens. Enjoy the meat!
 
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Congrats to the huntress, and the proud hubby. Good meat for the freezer is always a huge victory.
Thanks, Ratdog. I am very proud of the way she stayed in the hunt. We only eat wild game and she wanted to do her part. She insisted she wanted a cow to be her first elk, I think we'll be both putting in for bull hunts now.
 
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Damn good hunt. She is a good shot. Wears her scabs proudly....lol
Congrats to Her
Thanks, Tanlover. She is beating herself up a bit over her second shot being a gut shot. I remind her that if her first shot was near perfect and had the bullet done it's job there would have been little need for the second.

She is a little embarrassed that her nose is all swollen up in the pictures. However, I did overhear her bragging to her brother about her "war wound"! LOL
 

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Nice cow, nice job. I’ll be hunting Payson area next year.
Thanks JW. What unit will you be hunting? We've hunted unit 23 a lot, as well as, 22 some. I've hunted bear and lion to the north of Payson in unit 6a. This hunt was in 5b. Where ever you hunt near Payson, be sure to get a mountain lion tag. Payson is prime lion country, the tags are only $15. Lion are actually quite good eating.
 
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Congrats to you and your wife. To bad the 140 gr bullet didn't expand like it should have, but as they say merde happens. Enjoy the meat!
Thanks, Wolverine. I was disappointed with the failure of the Accubonds to expand. The second choice of bullet was the Scirocco, I can't say if they would have done anything different, tho. Elk are tough but I think bonded bullets maybe too tough for just elk hide. Standard cup and core or a 140 gr SST may have had better results? But, then again, I'm not sure how they would have worked had they stuck bone? I really wish we would have received the Cavity Back Bullets in time to work up a round, at worst the CBB would have performed as bad. Probably just a well, had the CBB failed it is likely I'd be swearing them off. I know, it's a whole lot of second guessing...
 

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Thanks JW. What unit will you be hunting? We've hunted unit 23 a lot, as well as, 22 some. I've hunted bear and lion to the north of Payson in unit 6a. This hunt was in 5b. Where ever you hunt near Payson, be sure to get a mountain lion tag. Payson is prime lion country, the tags are only $15. Lion are actually quite good eating.
I’ll be hunting 22, I live in Payson so it’s nice just getting up and heading out 20 minutes or so to deer or elk. I’ll look into the lion tag. Thanks Guts
 

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Thanks, Tanlover. She is beating herself up a bit over her second shot being a gut shot. I remind her that if her first shot was near perfect and had the bullet done it's job there would have been little need for the second.

She is a little embarrassed that her nose is all swollen up in the pictures. However, I did overhear her bragging to her brother about her "war wound"! LOL
She did great. First shot with a decent bullet would have dropped it....DRT. Her pumped up nose is proof that she is a serious hunter. That needs to keep distance...lol. Easy to get too close when the action is hot and the blood is pumping. All that running on the slopes makes it hard. Again, she did GREAT !!! She be a Mountain Hunter.
 
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Thanks JW. What unit will you be hunting? We've hunted unit 23 a lot, as well as, 22 some. I've hunted bear and lion to the north of Payson in unit 6a. This hunt was in 5b. Where ever you hunt near Payson, be sure to get a mountain lion tag. Payson is prime lion country, the tags are only $15. Lion are actually quite good eating.
My property is in 3A
 

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My property is in 3A
3a is high desert, 5,000-7,000 foot elevation, good mule deer and elk country. A couple of my good hunting buddies are in Vernon, 20 miles out of Show Low. I have archery hunted mule deer and turkey in 1, 2c, 3b and 3a. Last year I saw a really nice light cinnamon bear in 3A. I'll be going back up for the December and January hunts. Are you in Apache or Navajo County?
 

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3a is high desert, 5,000-7,000 foot elevation, good mule deer and elk country. A couple of my good hunting buddies are in Vernon, 20 miles out of Show Low. I have archery hunted mule deer and turkey in 1, 2c, 3b and 3a. Last year I saw a really nice light cinnamon bear in 3A. I'll be going back up for the December and January hunts. Are you in Apache or Navajo County?
Its in Apache, about 40 minutes north of Show Low, closer to Holbrook. I dont think your allowed to hunt on the land cause of the CC&Rs, but there is lots of state trust plots near buy
 
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