Table of Contents
1. The Gun: Weatherby Vanguard in 6.5 CM/300 Wby
When the words “American Elk Hunting” come up, the only word I can think of is “Weatherby.” No other American rifle company has the track record for highly refined American lead slingers specifically geared towards hunting the country’s greatest prey.
Weatherby’s Vanguard rifles are guaranteed to shoot a 3-shot group of .99″ or less at 100 yards (SUB-MOA) from a cold barrel when used with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition. Vanguard rifles are equipped with a match quality, two-stage trigger (adjustable down to 2.5 lbs.) and a 3-position safety, with the middle position allowing the shooter to work the action while safety is still engaged.The Vanguard action incorporates a one-piece machined bolt body, fluted for reduction in weight and bearing surface area, while eliminating binding for smooth action. Three gas ports allow high-pressure gases to escape laterally in the event of an accidental case rupture, and the massive M-16-style extractor ensures reliable and positive extraction. Vanguard rifles have a one-piece machined receiver featuring an integral recoil lug for the utmost in strength and structural integrity, along with a one-piece trigger guard with a hinged floorplate for easy access to unfired cartridges in the magazine.
The Weatherby Vanguard Costs around $830.99 brand new with one magazine and a standard 26″ barrel, 3-round magazines, and weighs in at 7.5lbs unloaded. Both 6.5 CM and 300 Wby are capable of taking Elk without issue and since you can encounter elk at anywhere between 30 meters and 450 meters (in terms of ethical hunting distances) this rifle is sure to cover your bases no matter the distance because of its extreme accuracy.
Pros/Accurate and affordable rifle
Cons/Requires specific scope mounts
Bottom Line/A very competitivley priced hunting rifle made right here in the good ole’ USA.
2. The Glass: Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25x56mm M5C3 Matte FFP
The new Leupold Mark 5HD riflescope was built with the serious shooter in mind. The Mark 5 pushes the engineering limits with its input from elite military personnel and professional shooters. This is the tactical scope you’ve been waiting for. Featuring the Twilight Max HD Management System, shooters will enjoy edge-to-edge clarity, low light performance, and increased contrast.
The new M5C3 ZeroLock adjustments feature a 3 turn dial at 10 Mils per turn, providing precise tracking and return to zero. With its elite optical performance and rugged reliability, Mark 5HD riflescopes can be trusted to ensure the perfect shot. Leupold riflescopes won’t be outlasted or outperformed. Each scope has been tested to ensure durability even in the harshest conditions.
Pros/Superior Glass Quality, Wide range of magnification and backed by a Lifetime Guarantee
Cons/35mm main tube will make ring selection more limited. It also weighs 30 ounces so it’s quite heavy.
Bottom Line/Some of the best glass this country has to offer its hunters – you can’t go wrong with any of leupolds premium offerings.
3. The Ammo: Weatherby Select Plus 300 Weatherby Magnum 180gr Barnes Tipped TSX Rifle Ammo
Weatherby Select Plus 300 Weatherby Magnum 180gr Barnes Tipped TSX Rifle Ammo – 20 Rounds – Weatherby ammunition is produced using only the finest components, such as Norma brass, to assure that each load is as precise as a shooter’s favorite handload. This ammunition is new production, non-corrosive, in boxer-primed, reloadable brass cases. Weatherby Select features the best that this country has to offer in terms of American cartridge components including Norma brass, Norma Powders, and Custom made primers and is loaded by experts to very exacting and precise standards for consistent results every time.
Pros/Extremely Precise ammunition to leave no doubt about where your shot will land
Bottom Line/The finest ammunition avaible and perfectly matches with the rifle we’ve picked out.
4. The Jacket: Duckworth Men’s Woolcloud Full Zip Jacket
After a few goes in our WoolCloud Full Zip Jacket you’ll never want another traditional down or synthetic-puff jacket again. Why? Well, when down (read: plucked bird feathers) gets wet, it becomes a mushy, wet ball, and when synthetic fillers get wet and worn, they become increasingly compressed, providing less insulation and less bang for your buck. WoolCloud, however, is filled with a proprietary Montana-grown Merino Wool batting, which never loses its loft and insulation, and actually chemically becomes warmer as soon as it’s introduced to water. That’s right, the wetter it gets, the warmer. Lightweight and boasting a nylon rip-stop shell (water resistant), the WoolCloud Full Zip Jacket also features a paneled hood, two large hand pockets, two large mesh inside pockets (perfect for a phone) and a full zip front. The finished product: a versatile, warm, durable, breathable, sport-fit jacket up to any foul weather task. Toss on an extra shell for when the rain starts going sideways, and you’re guaranteed to stay warm and dry until the clouds part.
Pros/Fits true to size, lightweight, and extremely warm!
Cons/Lacking storage pockets for quick gear stowage
Bottom Line/If you’re in a particularily cold region of the united states, nothing beats the insulative properites of Merino wool.
5. The Pants: Forloh AllClima Stretch Woven Pant
Featuring articulated knees and a gusseted crotch for comfort and mobility, we double reinforced the seat, knee, side panels, and cuffs to stand up to the sharpest rocks.
Our DWR Treated water-resistant, Abrasynthetic suede bonded foam knee pads have been abrasion tested at over 150,000 cycles, keeping your knees protected. Printed to match the camo or solid color of the pants you choose, helps to further conceal them from view.
It’s the little details that matter – warm but highly breathable we still added mesh backed hip ventilation for those quick scrambles and mountain accents in the backcountry or when days get warmer and shedding heat is essential. YKK reverse coil zippers with garages for a ‘no rattle’ zipper system. Even the internal waistline has a silicone gripper to stop the pants from riding up or down while moving, crouching or crawling towards your prey, or just to keep your shirt from coming untucked.
Pros/Weather Resistant, avaiable in a wide variety of camo patterns and sizes including Tall sizes for our vertically gifted hunters
Cons/Once again, a very expensive product for its calss. Athletic fit might be uncomfortable for some.
Bottom Line/The do-it-all-pant, any weather, any terrain, anytime.
6. The Boots: Irish Setter Elk Tracker 600 Gram Insulated Hunting Boot
Constructed entirely of super premium work-grade leathers, the Elk Tracker is Irish Setter’s “Franchise Player”. These Irish Setter Elk Tracker Boots break in fast and fits great from the word go. With sturdy cleats that grab hold on any terrain, these Irish Setter insulated hunting boots make even seasoned hunters its #1 fan.
These boots came to mind specifically because of my past experience with them. Irish setter, despite their relatively low asking prices, has managed to impress me time and again with their product descriptions often exceeding expectations when tested out in the field. Best of all, every pair of boots I’ve tried from them required no break-in period to be comfortable – ready to use right out of the box.
Pros/Quite affordable despite the great workmanship, comfort, and quality materials selection..
Cons/A little on the heavy side and quite tall.
Bottom Line/A great durable pair of boots that can hang with the toughest hunts in the harshest conditions.
7. The Pack: Stone Glacier EVO 40/56 with Frame
- Small Belt: 28in x 30in, Medium: 31in – 36in, Large: 37in+
- Weight – 4lb on Medium Krux EVO Frame, bag only weighs 1lb 9oz.
- Sold in bivy-mode (without lid)
- 4,000 cubic inches in bivy-mode
- 65 L Main Bag
- 91 L Main Bag and Evo Lid
- EVO Lid compatible to create 5,600 cubic inches of capacity
- 25” side zip access
- Internal Spotting Scope Pocket capable of fitting the largest scopes
- 150+ pound load rating
- Hydration compatible (Hydro Sleeve – Sold Separately)
- 2,500+ cubic inch expandable load shelf
- Belt attachments
- Heavy duty YKK #10 zipper
- Cordura 500 and Xpac fabric
- Heavy-duty, 1″ Duraflex military approved buckles and webbing
- Made in the USA
The EVO 40/56 bag and Krux EVO Frame is the result of our founder and designer, Kurt Racicot, creating his ideal pack based specifically on his personal preferences for backcountry solo hunts. Any true minimalist and ounce-counter will appreciate the simplicity yet functionality of the EVO 40/56 design. One large side zip provides access to the main bag and also doubles as access to the internal spotting scope pocket. This design feature eliminates the unnecessary weight from an additional zipper required with a separated spotting scope pocket. The internal spotting scope pocket is also designed with a differential cut allowing the scope to ride neatly in the pocket for easy in and out access without taking up the volume of the main compartment. When we all challenged Kurt to build his ideal pack system without worrying about the demands of the masses or catering to what was “expected” in the marketplace we weren’t sure what to expect. But, we knew whatever he came up with would be badass. The EVO 40/56 coupled with the Krux EVO frame doesn’t dissappoint….it is a true load-hauler more than capable for serious backcountry hunts in a 4lb package!
Sold in bivy-mode the EVO 40/56 is a versatile multi-day pack that is 4,000 cubic inches and can be expanded to 5,600 cubic inches with the inclusion of the EVO Lid. This pack was designed for the “ounce-counter” who spends many nights on the mountain carrying his camp on his back, day-to-day.
Pros/Sturdy Frame for balancing and distributing heavy loads for back country hunters.
Bottom Line/Can handle the heaviest backpacking loads and will last a lifetime. Available in three sizes.
8. The Bino Harness: Eberlestock Recon
Designed with modularity at the forefront, the Recon Modular Bino Harness is based on a chest rig platform that can be scaled up or down depending on your needs with a suite of add-on pouches. It features a magnetic forward pull access to the bino pouch, an easy access large front zipper pocket, and stretch side pockets. Low profile MOLLE compatible wings to securely add Recon pouches and accessories.
- Large Internal Dimensions: 8.5H x 5.5W x 2.5D
- Small Internal Dimensions: 7.25H x 5.5W x 2.5D
- Weight: 13.6ozs
- Magnetic closure to keep binos secure and accessible
- EMOD compatible with six available accessories
- Easy access large front zipper pocket
- Duel side stretch pockets
- Adjustable forward-pull shoulder harness
- Low profile MOLLE compatible wings
Pros/Wide Variety of attachment options and camouflage options.
Bottom Line/This option is great because it can expand or shrink to fit your needs exactly.
How far should I be able to shoot for elk?
This will depend on your selection of weapons. For Bow hunters, no further than 40 yards with modern broadheads should be attempted. Doing so could risk the bull or cow running off with your arrow and lead to death very far away from the spot of the shot.
For rifle hunters, anywhere from 30 yards all the way out to 400 yards is quite common for engagement distances. Often times this can be curtailed to your desire via opting to either stalk your Elk by observing its routine over the weeks and months leading up to hunting season or, using Elk calls to draw them to your location.
Why are elk so hard to hunt?
This question can largely be boiled down to one factor: Range.
While Elk may seem like giant lumbering creatures, they’re actually quite athletic. Think of them like oversized deer. Elk have a much longer stride and as a result of this plus their relative muscle density, they can cover a whole lot more ground in a single day than any whitetail could. However, their ability to cover ground rapidly isn’t anything that a stalking human hasn’t overcome before.
Another reason Elk are brought home a lot less often in most parts of the country is due to their relatively low population compared to the whitetail deer we’re used to hunting, combined with their native habitat which is typically confined to the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest (Where I’m from).
Elk do exist in other parts of the country but this adds even further layers to the difficulty of the hunt even before it starts. Elk populations in other parts of the country are usually subject to a lottery and these can be tough to get access to.
What are some of the most common cartridges to hunt Elk with?
This is obviously up for debate but the most common elk hunting cartridges include 7mm Remington Magnum, 300 Winchester Magnum, 338 Win Mag, 30/06 Springfield, and of course everyone’s new favorite: 6.5 Creedmoor.
I would consider all of these cartridge offerings to be more than adequate for taking down either cows or bulls but just like any other terminal application of force – the placement of these powerful shots is going to be what makes or breaks your elk hunt.
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