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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night I was out trying to fill my control antler less tag and decided to drive to a waterhole up high when I saw a cow off the road. I got out and fumbled for a primer and took aim and fired and she trotted off into the aspens. I spent the next two hours combing the area looking for blood or hair or anything. Nothing. I mustve shot over her back. I still decided to go through the area and keep looking. Eventually I heard some crashing up the hill and moved in to get a look. Then I heard snorting and I was hoping I had hit her afterall and her lungs were filling up. I sat and waited awhile. I caught some movement in the aspens. It was a bull. He was rubbing his antlers and snorting. Then I saw a small cow feeding towards me. I waited till she was 50 yrds out n took careful aim and shot. Several other cows I hadn't seen all took off running up hill. I went to where she had been standing and started looking for blood. No blood. I was in disbelief. Again! after a few minutes of searching I found the elk stone dead. It wasn't a cow but a button bull. I really didn't want to kill a little bull. I dressed and quartered him n got him back In two trips he was so little. The fact that he left no blood trail and didn't have an exit wound made me worry I might have hit that other cow after all. I went back and spent several hours searching the area again. I hiked uphill where she was headed and down the back side to see if she headed back down. I circled the aspens she went into several times. Crisscrosses through them following all the trails going through it. Nothing. I may head back out and look around some more. I'm happy to have filled one of my control elk tags but feel bad it was a button bull. I also feel terrible not knowing 100% if there's a dead or wounded cow out there. Even though I don't have any evidence I did hit her, the lack of blood on the one I did kill has me second guessing.
 

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So mainly out of curiosity and not to bust your balls but would a button bull be considered a calf? Or would it be something you would report to the dwr as an accidental harvest of an antlered elk?
 

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Sounds like you're doing the right thing-it's a sick feeling to think that you may have wounded an animal that you probably won't recover. It's part of hunting unfortunately, hunt long enough and you will probably find yourself in a similar situation. Congrats on your small bull though-I know it's not the fat cow you wanted but I bet it will be some great meat!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks pumpgunner. It's the not knowing one way or the other that gets me. I get pessimistic bout things like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The meat should be great. It's nice filling the freezer. My wife is a recovered vegetarian from Chicago who has finally decided she'll eat game meat and my daughter is getting bigger and eating everything in sight.
 

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Glad you filled the freezer 35. Sounds like you're a stand up guy who did the best he could with the situation at hand. Cow elk can be very tricky. They all look about the same and the tend to comingle in a very confusing fashion when the shooting starts.--------SS
 

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Hey cousin, you did the right thing, in fact you went above and beyond 90% of the hunters out there. If you searched and searched with no evidence at all of a hit or wounded animal then it's probably safe to conclude it was a miss. I believe you met all the requirements the state recommends. Besides, us Cajuns gotta stick together. :grin:
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys. Hope you're right. I think I'll experiment with muzzleloader bullets/loads too. See if I can't find something with better chances of exit wound too.
 

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This reminds me of a situation I had a couple years ago. Please don't think I'm trying to rain on your parade and make you second-guess yourself. That is not my intention at all. My friend and his wife had ML deer tags and I took them up on my family's place. He told me his wife had shot at one the night before. He said they looked and looked and could never find the buck or a speck of blood anywhere. The next night I went up with them and his wife went through the same area where she had "missed" that buck the night before. She stumbled right into her dead deer in a very obvious place. Who knows? Maybe the buck wandered around for quite awhile and came back and died right there. She shot it head-on, so maybe she only hit one lung. The deer was bloated and stinky when we found it so the meat was a loss, but we cut out the skull plate and tagged it.

It seems to me that most ML hunters (deer hunters) anyway use a 250 grain sabot or something along those lines. I hunt with a .54 caliber inline and use a bore-sized 425 grain conical. If that wont give me a blood trail, I don't know what will.
 

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Thanks for posting 35... we all need a reminder now and then about what the standard is for searching. There are some reading this that say, "I looked for 20 minutes, didn't find blood, must have missed." That doesn't cut it. A few hours, with no evidence, strikes me as ball-park.

P.S. That feeling between shooting and finding is the WORST!
 

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I shot two animals this year, both at under 50 yards that didn't loose a drop of blood anywhere. Took me a long time to find both of them, but I was confident in my shots. Both ended up being heart shots. Glad to hear you took the time to look. I've seen far too many hunters shoot then never look period! You did the right thing.
 

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I have been muzzy hunting for the past ten years. I have tried 245gr to 345gr sabots, and power belts. I have tried 80-130gr of powder. I have taken several animals from small deer, large deer, cow elk, 2-6point bull elk. Most have been within 30 yards, and the farthest being around 100. I have never had a bullet pass completely through the animal. I have never had a blood trail to the animal. I have always walked up on them while searching for blood, or they dropped withing a few feet. Every bullet was recovered in the opposite side of the entry hole, in the hide. This is why it is so important to get close, make a good shot when muzzy hunting. Im sure others have better success finding a combination that works. This is also why i am not a big fan of magnifying scopes on muzzys. JMO. Great job on connecting with a elk.
 
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