October 19, 2014
Below is the journal entry I submitted to the website that I represent as a member of the pro-staff...please check it out...
Zac and Rendell Hoenes Elk Hunt
We were with Fishtail Ranch Outfitters www.fishtailranch.com they really did a good job, worked hard, our camp was 4 for 4 on bulls, my 4x4, two 5x5's and a 6x6 despite some difficult public land conditions with other hunters who walked through our hunts and pushed the elk around.
We packed into the mountain elk camp on 10/12/12. Anticipation was high as 2 inches of snow fell as we were riding up the mountain and a sighting of two shooter bulls on the trail. We began the first morning 10/13 sneaking around a mountain around 10,600 feet while my dad observed a hidden meadow. Our camp was at 10,000 feet, and a difficult morning climb on foot paid off big time when my guide Travis and I caught this bull in the timber above a huge aspen bowl. He stared at us from behind a tree but couldn't figure us out. Nervously he stepped into a small opening at 35 yards and I let the Tikka 300 Win Mag rip. Through the scope I saw the impact of the 180 grain Accubond bullet right behind the shoulder. The bull hunched up and took off up the hill. Travis and I sprinted forward and as I cleared the tree where the bull had stood I could see him tip over just a few steps away. I had my first bull and was extremely pumped up!!
The next evening 10/14 in a large meadow at 11,300 ft, my dad Rendell had stayed put in a good spot at the advice of our guide Bernie. This was a great spot to see a long way and elk had obviously been feeding in the area. A few minutes after 5pm, a spike and another small bull stepped out at 480 yards with a few cows joining them. This nice 5x5 with long tines came out shortly thereafter and was coming closer but ended up working toward the cows who were heading back into the woods at about 425 yards. This was one of those "now or never" moments we have all had while hunting. With plenty of knowledge of the ballistics of his Kimber 300 Win Mag and 180 grain Accubonds and several solid practice sessions under his belt, Dad steadied his rifle across a downed pine tree and prepared for the 437 yard shot. With every heartbeat bouncing his crosshairs he was able to settle in and made the shot count, hitting the bull mid ribcage. The first shot was enough to secure Dad's first bull but as the elk stood there hunched up, it gave Dad time to shoot a couple more at him and knock him down for good. With these tough mountain animals it's never a bad idea to make sure with a follow up shot.
Needless to say we are thrilled with our hunt. A big thanks to Grant, Travis, and Bernie at Fishtail Ranch, we will be eating elk meat for many months...even had to go buy a bigger freezer! Best of luck to all of you, the Whitetail Rut and Duck Season openers are right around the corner!!!