My Cow Elk Hunt, Jan. 2012 — Hunting With My Lightweight Game Cart

2012 Cow Elk taken with 270 WSM X-Bolt

Using my new wireless shutter release (in my right hand) to take a photo of the cow elk I took in January of 2012. I used my X-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 270 WSM with 140g Accubond handloads to take this elk.

Through November and December I had my fifth knee surgery and a surgery to fix my exhaust pipe (no more hemorrhoids!). My "good" left knee had been giving me a lot of trouble since this past summer. Mainly catching when I bent it past around 110 degrees. I was able to make it through the fall hunting season thanks to my DonJoy knee braces. After the fall hunting seasons I had Dr. Harrison go in and remove the offending problems behind my knee cap.

I have been having extra problems with the knees this year (could I be getting old) and Dr. Harrison let me know that jogging was off limits to prolong getting a total knee replacement for hopefully another 10 years. Anyway with jogging off limits I have been riding my bike to stay in shape... well this just seemed to complicate my hemorrhoids and I decided to have this taken care of also... not a fun surgery and recovery at all! I'll never forget that first BM... thought I'd die.

With the surgeries combined with the holidays I have put on a few pounds and am not in as good of shape as I like to be in. Well enough of me being fat and out of shape and... my hemorrhoids.

Dallen my oldest son, my brother Weston and I all drew cow elk tags for a region in Northern Utah this winter. With my surgeries and the lack of getting much, if really any snow, has prolonged me from getting out as soon as I would have liked to hunt. I normally like to hunt when there is a good cover of snow on the ground. By hunting in the snow it helps bring the elk lower on the mountain, makes them easier to find, and my modified saucer sleds work great for hauling out boned out elk meat.

270 WSM X-Bolt with Nikon Monarch 4-16x BDC Rifle Scope

I snapped this photo of my X-Bolt 270 WSM rifle just after taking the shot across the canyon to put the cow elk down.

As my permit is progressing to the last three weeks I decided to make a trip in myself to hopefully get one of our tags filled and assess the location of the elk if they had even moved into the public ground we hunt. Then I can come up with a better plan for taking Dallen and Weston back in to hunt later.

I showed up before light and slowly started working my way back into the property. I found only a little snow on the north facing slopes and the rest of the ground bare. With so little snow I knew that I would have to go in a few miles, probably near the end of the public ground to find any elk. To be prepared to get an elk out by myself, if I was fortunate to harvest one, I decided to carry a couple saucer sleds and my lightweight packable game cart that I have been working on. With the current prototype of my lightweight game cart I hauled a small four point mule deer I shot during the 2011 Utah muzzleloader season earlier this year.

At around three miles in I started watching a group of bull elk feeding in and around a ridge line above me. I started working my way in their direction hoping to find some cows somewhere in the near vicinity. As I worked my way up a canyon I spotted two cows that were moving across the canyon I was in. They were working their way through some really heavy oak brush. When they got near the 200 yard range I patiently waited for one of them to offer a good shot through the oak brush. Finally the lead cow stepped partially into a sliver of an opening right at 200 yards away. She only offered a shot at the head or neck back to the front edge of the shoulder. I centered up the crosshairs just off the edge of the tree she was behind and let a Accubond fly heading for the front edge of her shoulders. The shot was quickly answered with a loud whopping sound and after I reaquired the cow in the scope I could see the her piled up right where she was standing.

Recovered 140g Accubond from Cow Elk

The recovered 140g Nosler Accubond bullet from my cow elk. This recovered bullet surprisingly weighs 87 grains. At first glance I would not have thought it was that heavy, as there isn't much left. Even though there isn't much left of the bullet I really like the effectiveness of the 140g Accubond at putting elk and mule deer on the ground. You can read more of my thoughts on this bullet near the end of my Recovered Triple Shock page.

The bullet entered the elk just in front of the right shoulder and the bullet stopped against the ribcage directly under the left shoulder blade. The recovered 140g Accubond bullet weighs 87 grains. This 270 WSM, 140g Accubond hand load has a muzzle velocity of 3,300 fps from my Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker rifle. This bullet has been doing a great job for me at putting deer and elk on the ground.

I snapped a few photos and started to work on boning out the elk. I was able to use my new wireless JJC shutter release with my camera for the first time in the field. It was nice not to have to run back and forth with a 10 second delay on the camera to take pictures of me with the elk. What a cool accessory for my FujiFilm HS20exr camera. It will also work good at keeping the camera still when taking photos with my teleconverter attached.

I spent the next four hours boning out the elk and placing the meat into my homemade heavy duty canvas meat bags. I then took two trips hiking carrying the meat bags in hands the 200 or so yards back across the canyon to where a horse trail lead down off the mountain. I assembled my lightweight game cart and loaded all the meat onto the cart. I knew from my use of the game cart during my muzzleloader mule deer hunt that I needed to reinforce the elbow joint where the handle and frame join. Unfortunately, I had not had the time to make the additional strength enhancements I had wanted. I also didn't think I would be using it for another year as I always have snow to hunt in and use my modified saucer sleds for hauling out the boned out cow elk meat. To keep the elbow from breaking I tied some rope from one end of the cart to the other to get off the mountain. You can see in the video on this page that the handles look a little short for me. This is caused in part because I am six foot seven inches tall, I am going down hill, and because the weak elbow joint had bent some and changed the angle and height. I need to make the fixes to the handle.

Oh, how I was so glad to have that little 10 pound game cart with me. What a lifesaver! I took off down the trail and the cart worked fabulously. It is very nibble and easy to maneuver around rocks and other obstacles along the trail. It was really cool to be able to hunt where I wanted to hunt and have the cart with me at all times. Now if there had been enough snow I could have also used the saucer sleds that I had brought along to haul the meat off the mountain.

Given the right terrain, with the lightweight game cart or with snow my saucer sleds I can hunt by myself and bring an elk or deer out without making extra trips or calling for help. Just my style of hunting, no horses required, no asking for help, and no extra trips hauling the meat out on my back or extra trip to go back for a large game cart.

After this trip I have really started thinking seriously about the needed small modifications and getting the game cart manufactured. Hmm...

You can view the video I took showing a couple sections of the trail I took the cart along on this hunt. After getting home the scales showed 149 pounds for the meat and bags that the game cart carried.

Related Product Links:

Pack Wheel Backpack and Game Cart LogoPack Wheel — Lightweight Backpack and game cart

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