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Sweet Home, Oregon
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October 17, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 17, 2012
 

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iEra - October 17, 2012 OUTDOORS Page 17 From page 16 crumple and die, This ain't right." SomeWhere around the next quffrter of a second, I remembered that bullet placement kind of mat- ters and decided to lay the next one fight at the point of his spine and smash every vertebrae out through his chest. This plan seemed to work per- fectly, because after the Mauser's fixed ejector sent the empty case into orbit (fueled by adrenaline no doubt) another cigar-sized car- tridge rammed home and aiming more precisely, this time he went down in a pile the likes of which I have never seen. His head slammed the ground, his rear half blew a rot- ten stump to pieces and then pile- drove into an unflinching heap. After more sanely ejecting the spent casing and loading a new round I let out a scream that quite embarrassingly sounded like a 13- year-old girl's. Luckily, the only other thing around to hear it was now stone dead. I wasn't 100 percent sure at the time, though, and I approached the wadded-up animal with cau- tion and not from behind. This one thing I did right. When you see an elk jump 8 to 10 feet straight up from a dead stop, it gives you a newfound appreciation for what those seemingly skinny legs can do. As an aside, when you are re- ally amped up you can't count to seven. I had to actually count hand, over-hand to convince myself that this public land bull actually had seven points on the one side that I could see. Honestly, when I shot him I thought he was just a rag- horn 5x5, which is a "herd bull" in this unit. After stating at the heap for a good 10 to 15 minutes, two more hunters found us by heading to- wards the sound they described as "boom-wumph boom-wumph." They helped me roll him over to gain a view of two surprises. One, he had a mirror image ant- ler on that side with seven amaz- ing (to me) points but the third one up was absolutely buried into a crack in a dried-out lodge pole pine windfall. That antler was torn three,quarters of the way out of his skull. The second bullet had hit high as he was coming down from jumping over another windfall just as I fired. That bullet hit him in the right side of the back of his neck and contacted enough muscle to transfer adequate energy to slam his head to the ground. I'll never know if the bullet actually killed him outfight or if it was the violent "wreck" he had. The good Samaritan hunters congratulated me on a nice bull and pointed out that I should prob- ably tag it before they decided to steal it since they had me out- gunned. Then they went back to their own search for game. One of my fondest memories of the whole day is my Dad get- ting to the site and seeing the gen- uine excitement he was brimming with. Now that I have children, I understand perfectly. I hope ev- ery one of my kids who chooses to hunt shoots an elk twice as big as mine. My Uncle Dan arrived very shortly later, grabbed me and shook me like Woody on Toy Story yelling "All right, all right!" and he had taken the biggest bull in our group up until this point. Then they jumped in and started dissecting the bull at what seemed to me to be fast forward. I'd have been at it until dark. My Uncle Barry wasn't at the kill site but later told me "you gotta have your head screwed on to put two bullets into a bull like that." I think that's the best compli- ment he's ever given me and when he shot a 7x7 too, about 10 years later I was just as happy for him. There's more to the story: - how my radio wouldn't work, which left me with no help for two hours; how the Glock I was pack- ing saved the day; the "pack" out; how Uncle Dan also killed a bull later that day further up the moun- tain, etc. Although it's hard not to en- joy telling the story about one of my best experiences I really told it to point out a bunch of mistakes I made. Some I've mentioned in the story but most I've hidden in order to tell you now. By making the rifle I wanted, I knew it was going to have sub- stantial recoil. The truth is, until I killed this bull I had no idea if I was really confident in it. I hunted with it for two full seasons and the begining of a third without knowing for sure that I could get the job done with it. That is D-U-M, dumb but hunters do it all of the time. Every hunter is much better off with an adequately powerful cartridge for the game they are hunting that they are not afraid of and are 100 percent con- fident in. As a heavy-for-caliber bullet fan, I chose to use some old 510 grain round nose soft point Win- chester bullets I'd acquired loaded to 2,100 feet per second in the rel- atively short barrel of my rifle. The first shot went fight be- hind the front shoulders, a perfect shot for a lesser cartridge. In this case I could not find the entrance or exit wound until we removed the hide. These bullets were made for thick-skinned African game and didn't expand at all on the broad- side shot. There was a half-inch hole going in and a half inch hole going out.it did remove a section of fib on the far side and seemed to have pulled it out through the exit hole. The second shot in the neck did show more damage and the hide was torn up enough to find the exit. If I had Stuck to my plan of shooting through the shoulders instead of rushing the shot, I most likely would have been rewarded with a one-shot kill. If I ever elk hunt with this rifle again it will be loaded with Homady 350 gr. RNSP bullets, which are the "tougher" version of the same bullet with a fiat point designed for standard 45/70 Gov't loads. I have seen elk take a lot of punishment and keep going, so I am still generally a heavy-bullet/ deep-penetration advocate in most calibers that commonly show up in elk camp. When I saw that bull stand- ing broadside, I should have had the safety off on the way up to my shoulder; taking your focus off of your intended target is not a wise move. That waste of time made .me rush the shot a millisecond that I would have been wiser to use to put the reticle fight on the shoul- der as I had planned to do for years before. This would have made my poor bullet choice a much smarter one as the heavy bone of the shoul- ders would have upset the bullet enough to do soft tissue damage and shattered any bones it came in contact with. My bull can never officially be scored since that right-side ant- ler was pulled from its socket in the skull, but I really don't care. In fact, it made for some interesting photo opportunities. Shirley An- drews did an excelllent job of re- installing the antler and the mount is fantastic. If you reread the first sentence of this story, this next bit will make a lot more sense. The action I built this rifle on was so old it didn't have a serial number but I issued it one late in 1998. It is 102898. Jeff Hutchins writes occasionally about firearms-related topics for The New Era. He operates Range- : master Gunworks at 29352 Hwy 34, outside Corvallis. PAID ADVERTISEHENT STOP THE DOUBLE TAX ON YOUR HOHE Oregonians already.pay property taxes to fund schools and local government, A new tax 0n the same property is nott-ing more than a double tax on your home. PROTECT YOUR INVESTHENT Families are struggling and home loans are tougher to get. A double tax on homes is especially hard on homeowners selling their home for less than they owe. This will hurt the housing market and drive your property values down further. HOMEOWNERS ALREADY PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE Oregonians pay an average property tax of $2,200 per year. A new transfer tax would place a big burden on homeowners, many of whom are already struggling. It's double tax. WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE HOHE OWNERSHIP A new transfer tax would put home ownership out of reach for many, especially first-time homebuyers who are so important to a healthy housing market. Salem Chamber of Commerce Oregon Association of REALTORS' Albany Chamber of Commerce Oregon Small Business Yes on 79 is . Benton County Farm Bureau Association Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Salem Association of REALTORS~ endorsed- Dy: ,or,on County Farm Bureau ~aX paye r Association of Oregon National Federation of Oregon Cattlemen's Association Independent Business (NFIB) Oregon Farm Bureau TO STOP ANOTHER TAX ON YOUR HOME. For more information please visit: Ye ease rn Paid for by Yes on 79 PO Box 4750 Tualatin, OR 97062 ,IF