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Joined: 09/26/2004
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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

First, I don't want this conversation to turn into a "my elk is bigger/smaller than yours." That is a waste of everyone's time.

My original point was that if the animal is to be carried out solo without a horse, or, frankly, with a horse and eight people, it makes more sense to skip field dressing and skin from the backbone, deboning and carrying out the least weight. I've done it with both elk and deer, and I find it a faster, slicker method. There's less mess, and any CWD concerns are minimized. Field dressing is old fashioned and unnecessary in many cases.

However, as to your 280 pound figures (4x70=280, averaging your loads), I was intrigued, because I remembered the certainty of the lady who shipped numerous elk. She seemed to know that we hunters badly overestimate the weight of trimmed meat. I looked up my notes on the converstaion, and my memory (for once!) was correct: 125 pounds to ship an entire cut and wrapped elk. She even said some went as low as 110 pounnds.

So I called another processor this morning, basically at random: I had their phone number. It was Brothers Custom Processing in Craig, Colorado, certainly a location where many elk are killed. Their phone number is 970-824-3855, if you'd like to call them.

I basically said, "Settle a bet for me. How much does cut up, wrapped elk weigh?" With no hesitation, they said, "150 pounds." They didn't mention a range, which doesn't surprise me, because when you look at a herd of elk, you don't see some animals which are 40% larger than others: they are all about the same size, within reason. And they didn't hesitate. It was a certain answer.

Now this is admittedly 25 pounds more than the other source, but it's clearly within the range of my argument. I'll agree that you'd lose a little weight when you did the final trimming, but I don't think that's the big deal. If you take all of the bones out, the resulting load is both smaller and more compact BY FAR than a quartered animal, and weighs less than most hunters believe.

I don't doubt your word on your elk: I wasn't there and:didn't see it.

But all evidence I can find says that my basic premise is basically correct.

Again, thanks for the comments! .

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Joined: 09/26/2004
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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

>>Robert, where do you hunt elk? maybe they're just a lot smaller? :

See my comments above, please. I'm not basing my observations on personal weighing, but rather on what I'm told by people who handle more elk in a week than most hunters do in a lifetime. They were both in Colorado.

I always thought they were much bigger, too. The hour I spent at a processors one day just gawking and asking questions were very instructive to me as a hunter, both from a technique and a strategy standpoint. I strongly suggest everyone take a couple of hours off and stop at an elk processing plant in high elk season.

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Location: Colorado
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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

Thanks for the input Robert. I'm from the Craig area, so our elk are all from this area. I didn't mean to imply your elk was larger or smaller, just thought maybe in different areas they were naturally larger or smaller. I know deer can vary in different geographic areas. We've also never had to pack our elk out, we've always been fortunate enough to be able to get our truck close enough to load into the truck, take home, then skin.

I am curious though, will try to get our next one weighed. Maybe we just bone ours out more thoroughly. I know I don't like to waste one bit of the elk and we bone out very close to the bone, we even save all the meat from the shanks and have it ground up.

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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

This is about the only variable I can see here: the custom processors might not keep meat that you or I would, at the fear of alienating a customer with a poorer grade of meat.

But I can't see how this can double the boned weight. . . At most, I'd think this would be no more than a 10% variance, no?

I've never weighed mine either, although I will next time. But I'm basing this on people who weigh them daily for shipping, presumably an accurate method.

Hopefully, I'll have something to weigh this fall.

Robert

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Location: Centeral Montana
Joined: 06/06/2003
Posts: 31
25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

That has got to be one of the best articals about elk hunting gear that I have read in a long time.

All you 1st time hunters or wannabe elk hunterstake this mans word and follow these steps.
Get your copies while they last.
BBJ

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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
To Bone Or Not To Bone

I remembered this was included in the hunting regulations for Alaska so I thought I would post it.. What's amazing here is that a Brown Bear can loose over 1000lb's when boned. There is a lot of throw away and burger meat when commercially processed, So the packed-out load of a boned animal will always be heavier. I have noticed while having wild game meat processed at two different locations that they were grinding all their customers game burger ( deer, elk and antelope ) mixed together in large batches. They have a guestament they use to add the burger back to each animal they processed . I am not found of this practice for many reasons but mostly due to the quality of some game meat. These were larger busier shops where this was done. I am unsure as to how wide spread this method is used. I found this in Montana and Alaska. The same shops used a plastic sleeve for their burger that was labeled Wild Game Burger instead of deer, elk or moose. Neither of the shops I used had a problem telling me of the process, so I suppose it is common? It makes me wonder where all that ground type smoked deer and elk jerky I see in the stores comes from.

~Jeff~

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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

Another thing when elk hunting you must be aggressive. Very aggressive. If you happe nto hear a bull bugle, you should be after it or you may not have a chance to shoot it. Another thing is at night. When hunting always have a fire blazing. One time we were elk hunting and a shot went off, the nanother went off, I thought someone was shooting after hours. Then a group of guys came and they said their friend was lost. Luckily the guy cam towards are fire. His eyes were glazed over, and he sure was happy to see me and my buddy.

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25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

One thing about going into thte mountains is that one way or another the mountains will steal stuff from you.

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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

Great article. Mr. Hubbell is has shared some of the better information I've read in some time.

Try these out -

- Learn to smell elk. It's not that hard. They are pretty smelly and we are smelly to them.

- Invest in a good pair of binoculars. The quality of your optics may be more important than the quality of your firearm. Seeing from a distance is often one of the few advantages you may have.

- Take advantage of a ridgeline. Taking the easy route by walking the crest guarantees you will be discovered. Invest the extra effort to cross from one side to the other every XX yards. Rarely can someone move stealthy enough to approach elk in the open, but you can get pretty close on the opposite side of a ridge. Have your rifle ready each time you cross over.

- Develop your 6th sense about elk. I know it sounds funny but if I can do it you can do it. Think about where they would be and visualize what they are doing in the given conditions. I have taken several where I didn't see, smell, hear or track them - I just knew they were there and proceeded as such.

- Be able to move quickly. Your opportunity may depend on being able to clear timber, cross a ridge, or gain a position quickly.

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Location: Montana
Joined: 02/13/2005
Posts: 409
25 Things Every Elk Hunter Should Know (Feature Article)

#1 a shoulder shot is not always a bad shot on elk,the majority of the elk i have killed i shot square in the shoulder with either a 7mag or a 30.06 and i have NEVER lost an elk,you break the shoulder on an elk and the only way the can go is down.#2there are easy elk,4 years ago I shot a 5x6 bull that was beded with my grandparents cattle after a deep snow,my dad shot the 4x4 that was with him,I will agree that they are rare but they do exist.

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