Cow Elk Hunting — Electric Pack Wheel

Sunrise Hunting Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Glassing for cow elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Cow Elk Hunters

Hunting Solo for Cow Elk with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

Hunters on Cliff with Electric Pack Wheel

Bull Elk but no Cows

Gutless boning out cow elk

With just a couple days to spare my youngest KB turned twelve during 2017. This gave him the opportunity to hunt cow elk from his birthday through the end of January. This has been my most anticipated hunt of the year. Seeing his excitement as he has hunted with me and his brothers throughout the years has really got me excited to help him on his first ever big game hunt. He has been talking about the opportunity to hunt elk for many months now and this has been weighing heavy on my mind that I really wanted him to fill his tag.

Our family was fortunate enough to have all three of my sons and myself draw late season cow elk permits and with us eating tag soup on our bull elk hunts we needed at least two cows in the freezer to keep meat on the table until next winter.

This year has been the craziest year ever to find cow elk in the public and private areas I have access to hunt. The total lack of snow this winter I’m sure has been helpful to the elk and deer herds but it also has kept the elk far away from the areas that we can get into to hunt.

Every year I have had a cow elk permit I have filled the tag. Every time I have gone out hunting cow elk I have seen some and I can only remember having to go out more than once in a season to fill my tag. This year was a lot different. I went out hunting four days before I found any cows. I did find some bulls on two of my first trips but no cows. On one trip I hiked in over four miles to the back of some public property and down the other side of the mountain and couldn’t find cow one even on the adjacent private canyons. 

This year also has been the driest I can ever remember. There isn’t any snow. Yes, we have had a couple snow storms but for the most part, it has been very warm and dry with all of the south-facing slopes devoid of snow up to over 8,000 ft in elevation. 

My first priority was to help KB get his first elk and big game animal. I had him out a couple days but couldn’t find any elk. Dallen had work off one day and I decided to just take him since we hadn't been seeing any to see if we could locate some elk. I should have taken all of my boys that day. Dallen and I found a group of cows and filled our tags. 

The next day I went back in with Landen, KB and two friends of mine. We were able to locate the cows again thanks to some cow elk calling. I had the cows responding to my calls but they were located in the heavy oak brush where we couldn’t see them. With KB on my left and Landen on my right both setup on shooting sticks, I was able to call one out of the brush and it stopped at 95 yards looking right at us. All we could see was it’s head so I told KB to shoot it in the head. After what seemed like several seconds, boom went the rifle and down went the elk. I totally thought KB shot the cow but it actually was Landen. Landen waited as long as he thought he could for KB to shoot and made the right call in shooting before it ran off. Nice work Landen! On the other hand, KB was a little upset but a trooper about it. He had it in his scope he just hesitated with it being his first time hunting elk but KB was a good sport and supportive of his older brother. We had gone over bullet placement a lot but never in our discussions had we talked about head shots. This threw him off a bit.

With the cow down and plenty of daylight, it was a great opportunity for the boys to learn more about boning out elk. They both jumped in and were helping. It was a great memory for me to be there teaching them about the antimony of an elk.

KB and I went out one last time and hiked a bunch looking for some cows. We did find some but they were on the private ground we couldn’t hunt. We couldn’t even find any elk tracks at all on the ground we were hunting on. What a crazy cow elk hunting year.

Other than spending time with my boys the greatest pleasure I had while hunting with them for cow elk this winter was using the Electric Pack Wheel I have been perfecting. It worked amazing! We hauled our cows out so easily with it. KB was even using it hauling both his and my day pack around as we were hunting. I’m particularly tickled to death about how well this electric powered system has come together. I’ve spent many thousands of hours over the past decade perfecting the Pack Wheel and in particular a lot of time this past year tweaking an electric system by testing motors, batteries and frame design adjustments. The Electric Pack Wheel makes packing heavy loads just about anywhere a total dream.

As I write this I can’t help but feel really bad that I let KB down by not getting him an elk. I like taking care of my kids and him not getting an elk hurts, probably the most distasteful tag soup I have ever had... no, my 2012 LE Archery elk hunt really stunk. On the bright side, he is really young and will have plenty of opportunities in the future.

Another bright note is that our family was very blessed with filling the freezer with elk meat. When I dropped off the meat to the butcher he said something along the lines that the previous year they butcher 250 cow elk in January and this year only 10 so that made feel really fortunate that we were able to fill three out of the four tags.

You can bet I’ll be helping KB extra hard this coming fall on his first bull elk and mule deer hunts.

Hell's Canyon Speed Rifle with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel Cow Elk Hunting

Landen's Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Dallen's Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

The DIY Hunter's Cow Elk With Electric Pack Wheel

Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

Glassing for cow elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Dallen Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

Landen Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Rifle — Setup Lightweight and Long Range Ready

Lightweight Hunting Rifle - X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed 300 WSM

I often get asked what my favorite scopes are for my rifles. For my long range hunting rifles, my favorite scope has been the Vortex Optics HS-LR 4-16x50 with the generous 24 MOA per rotation elevation turret and a capped windage turret. In my 28 Nosler X-Bolt I can dial up shots waaaaay out there with this combination. So why did I break from Vortex and go with this Leupold scope for my Browning Hell's Canyon Speed X-Bolt?

I wanted to keep this rifle really lightweight. To do so I needed a short windage cap to make sure that the fat WSM shells cleared the turret on ejection. I also wanted to have the ability to dial up most of my shots and have a capped windage turret.  So here is my solution. I have went with a 4.5-14x40 VX-3i with 30mm tube (had to get 30mm tube to get an adjustable objective) and I had the Leupold custom shop place an Impact 32 MOA reticle in it. 

I really like the setup for keeping my rifle lightweight. If I had a Vortex, Nikon, Burris and many other brands of scopes I would have to put the scope up on a rail or use really high rings. With a scope up so high I would then have to build comb height adjustment into the buttstock.

What I have now is a lightweight long range hunting rifle that shoots Hornady 200 Gr ELD-X bullets sub 1/2 MOA. I have an awesome tree of 32 MOA of holdovers in the reticle, I can dial up 14 MOA on the turret (700+ yards) and I have a sticker on the top of the turret marked with yardages to dial set currently at 6,500 ft of elevation. I can always place another sticker on the cap and mark it for a different elevation and bullet combo.

This rifle as shown with a full magazine and a Clincher sling has a total carry weight of 8 lbs 1 oz.

 

 

My Vortex Viper HS Scope Is Not Tracking Correct — Solved

Vortex Viper HS Scope - Burris Signature Zee Rings

Burris Signature Zee Rings pinching a Vortex rifle scope tube.

I purchased a 2.5-10x44 rifle scope for my CVA Accura V2 muzzleloader this year. I had my favorite scope (4-16x50 Viper HS LR) on the muzzleloader last year but I moved that scope over to my 28 Nosler X-Bolt. After many trips to the range, I had just found that 300 yards was the extended range my muzzleloader, bullets and my abilities to ethically shoot were. With that knowledge, I felt a smaller scope was in order so I went with this 2.5-10x44 HS scope.

My only hunt with a muzzleloader this year was for elk here in Utah. After a number of trips to the range in preparation for the hunt, I kept getting poor accuracy with 300 Gr Aerolite bullets that have always shot really accurately for me in the past. I also noticed that vertically an adjustment of 2.5 inches up would change the point of impact by 5-6 inches at 100 yards. What was up with that? Then on two occasions, I noticed that when I went back to the range my zero had been lost and I would have to adjust the scope again. What the heck?!? None of my other Vortex scopes had ever acted this way.

After a couple phone calls and emails with Vortex. They very nicely let me know that they felt I had over torqued my rings and I was convinced that this couldn't be the problem. I use a Wheeler torque driver and originally torqued the screws to 18 inch pounds. After talking with Vortex I cleaned the loctite off the screws and torqued them to 16 inch pounds and back to the range I went. And once again the scope was changing the point of impact by double the amount I was adjusting. Ha, I was right or was I???

So back I went to Vortex convinced as ever that there had to be a problem with the scope. I had lost all confidence in the scope and wanted another one. It was at this point that I was just about ready to send it in when I had a great conversation with Adam at Vortex. Adam explained how the scope worked and why overly tightened rings could cause issues exactly like I was experiencing. Thank you Adam! Being a DIY kind of guy I wanted to figure out what was going on myself to make extra sure that is was or wasn't the scope before going to the trouble of sending it back to Vortex.

In discussing how the scope operates with Adam I learned that when a scopes rings get torqued too high it creates extra tension that makes any adjustment change the point of impact by more than it is supposed to, that is until over time the scope settles back to where it was "really" adjusted too. As I thought about it this was exactly what was happening to me. Adjusting the scope would move the point of impact twice as far as it was supposed to change. When I would go back to the range another day my zero would be off by half of the distance from what I adjusted the time before. And because it was in the process of settling to the right position my groups would be less than stellar.

So what was causing the extra tension on the scope tube? I figured the first thing that I would do would be to try some different rings. Before I ordered some rings I decided to give the setup a really good inspection. Had I messed up placing the wrong corresponding MOA shims in my Burris Signature Zee rings or something else? So before I pulled the scope off I looked it all over closely and I found what I believed could be the problem.

Becuase this scope was on a slow shooting muzzleloader I wanted to tip the scope down 10 MOA in the front to keep the reticle centered closer to the center of adjustment. So, I set the front rings with a minus 10 MOA on the bottom and a plus 10 MOA plastic insert on the top and on the back ring just two "0" MOA plastic inserts. In this manner, I would tip the front of the scope down for a 10 MOA incline. What I couldn't see was because of the 10 MOA incline the self-aligning plastic insert on the bottom rear ring was sticking out from the ring just ever so slightly and it was putting pressure on the tapered incline of the rear of the scope tube. This happened because I had set the scope as far forward as possible. When mounting the scope originally I was looking down from the top and could see that I had clearance from the ring to the taper of the back of the scope tube but I didn't realize that the insert was sticking out on the bottom and was applying pressure to the taper of the scope tube scope.

So, was this the problem? Yes, it sure was. I mounted the scope an 1/8th of an inch further back giving it plenty of clearance and headed back to the range. The scope is now tracking perfectly and my accuracy has returned. Awesome! Confidence restored and I didn't have to look like a novice shooter to the Vortex team by sending it back to find nothing wrong with it. :)

Vortex, thank you for your patience, help and for making great products!

 

Solo Backcountry Mule Deer Hunting with an Electric Pack Wheel

DIY Hunter Solo Backcountry Mule Deer Hunting - The DIY Hunter Electric Pack Wheel

With Landen notching his deer tag it was time for me to get a little deeper into the backcountry to try and find a shooter buck for myself.

Tuesday morning rolled around and I was headed straight up 4,000 vertical feet with my electric powered Pack Wheel. I have been tweaking a new motorized system on the Pack Wheel this year and had a different throttle and bar ends on the Pack Wheel to try out for this trip up the mountain. The motorized Pack Wheel worked amazingly. I had somewhere around 100 pounds (I didn't weigh the load but I had an 8.5 lb mattress, 3 man tent, water for 4 days, 3-pound lithium camp battery, laptop computer etc...) loaded on the Pack Wheel and it climbed right up a very steep trail climbing 4,000 vertical feet in less than two miles. And I didn’t have to carry, pull or push any of that weight, the high torque motorized system was amazing at climbing right up the mountain. The bar ends and modified twist throttle really made the ergonomics of this climbing machine very nice.

After making it to the top of the mountain the 418 Watt-Hour 36v battery was still showing somewhere in the 25% of power was left. Just amazing. The next time I go into this area I will get a second battery unless I can figure out how to recharge a 36v battery with a solar panel. A second battery might be best anyways for quick extra power. However, from my muzzleloader deer hunting trip with Dallen I used the battery four days and went probably a combined 12 miles and still showed within the 50% level of battery after the hunt.

That evening I didn’t see any deer but the next morning I was finding plenty just nothing of any age past two. Midday I moved to watch another canyon but there wasn’t anything in it that I could find so for the evening I headed back to the area I watched the bunch of bucks that morning. Sure enough, I was finding lots of small bucks again but nothing of any size darn. Given where I was hunting and that two other guys were in the area as well when I got back to camp that night I loaded up the Pack Wheel and down the mountain, I went. I wanted to see what might have moved into the area Landen shot his buck a few day earlier.

Back at home I recharged the battery and the next morning I was heading into the area Landen and Dallen killed their bucks this year. With my 28 Nosler, I felt really confident with my longer shots and this property has some really wide open canyons where I could glass for long distances.

A couple of miles in I had in mind of a couple of good points where I wanted to set up and watch for the evening hunt. If it looked promising I would set up the tent and hunt the area in the morning as well, if not I would move further in and camp for the evening.

On the way in I watched a good number of does and one small buck out moving around in mid-day. By afternoon I had set up the spotting scope on a good vantage point to glass from, pulled out the binoculars and watched the show.

I found a number of does and then way down and across the canyon, I spotted a buck moving up to a small ridgeline. It was the first 4 point I had seen all year. His body looked pretty mature but not the size of his antlers. Hmm... I hadn’t seen anything of any size this year and I also hadn’t killed a buck since 2011 and I kind of wanted to break in the new rifle. 

I ranged the buck and he was within my zone of confidence (see shooting at 28 Nosler at Spirit Ridge). I could try to get closer but it would probably take me over a half hour to drop to the bottom of the canyon then climb up the other side to get to where I would need to be to see him. Well to do that I would have to hope that the horse hunters that were riding a trail headed in his direction didn’t continue on that trail because even though they were much further away. There would be no way that I could cross the canyon and be in position before the horse hunters passed within a couple hundred yards of this buck. Hmm... I decided to take the shot.

Oh, how I love my 28 Nosler X-Bolt. Down he went like a ton of bricks. As I was headed over to get him the horses ended up riding within 200 yards of him and easily beat me there by a half hour. I was glad I took the long shot and really glad I moved to a different mountain. 

The buck was missing one eye from what looks to be pink eye. I hate it when deer get that in their eyes, poor things. He didn’t have very big of antlers but he had one heck of a cool roman nose and should make for a great European skull mount.

After my quick photo shoot as the sun dropped behind the mountains I was cutting away getting the meat all boned out and into the Pack Wheel panniers ready for the trip off the mountain.

I was hoping to get some video of me hauling both the deer and all of my gear off the mountain on my Electric Pack Wheel but given I was hunting solo I had no way to illuminate myself in the dark with a flashlight and set up a camera to film at the same time. I debated spending the night and hiking out in the morning just so I could get some footage but decided to just pack out in the dark and take a few night photos of the load.

The trip off the mountain was nice. Even with all the hiking, I had done in the last couple days the pack out with all of my gear and a boned out mule deer was no problem. This is the kind of stuff that fuels me to continue to develop the Pack Wheel I formally started working on over eleven years ago. I may never make a dime off selling them (they are really expensive to build on a handcrafted level that I do and make a profit) but at least I continue to help myself and others extend the distance and years we are able to continue to hunt solo in the backcounty.

It was nice to get a buck on the ground after a long dry spell. And the highlight of my hunt was getting out with my two youngest boys and watching Landen get his buck. 

Next up my muzzleloader elk hunt.

2017 Mule Deer Solo Backcountry Mule Deer - Electric Pack Wheel

Solo Backcountry Mule Deer  Pack Out - Electric Pack Wheel

300 WSM Handloads and Ballistics

 

 

Below are my personal favorite loads for my 300 WSM Hell's Canyon Speed X-Bolt rifle and Dallen's X-Bolt Long Range Laminate rifle. To view the loads you will need to read the warning near the bottom of the page, then accept the warning by checking the box inside the warning.

So far the only bullet I have been playing with in our 300 WSM X-Bolt's is the 200 Gr Hornady ELD-X. I've been really liking the ELD-X bullets from Hornady and have been moving more and more of my rifles over to these bullets.

If you are needing printable targets for sighting in your rifle you can get them here.

WARNING: The load information on this page is for my personal use in my personal firearms and is posted for entertainment purposes only. If you chose to reload the 300 WSM use only data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. Incorrectly reloaded ammunition can cause serious personal injury and damage to the firearm due to excessive pressure. Reload only after proper instruction and in strict compliance with instruction and data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. If you choose to use the load data on theDIYhunter.com • 243wssm.com you are doing so at your own risk. theDIYhunter.com • 243wssm.com is not responsible for injury and/or death resulting from data posted or referred to on this Website. Improper reloading is dangerous. Users assume all risk, responsibility, and liability for any and all injuries (including death), losses or damages to persons or property (including consequential damages), arising from the use of any data posted on this site. If you have read and accept this warning check this box to view my 300 WSM load data.

Subcategories

  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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