Mangled elk survival

Pony Soldier

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Dec 31, 2021
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Elk are tough, extremely tough. In the early 80s, I shot a bull while he was sleeping. When I started to clean him, I noted that his right eye was missing. When I got down to pulling out his lungs, only one came out. When I skinned him, I found most of the other lung between the ribs and the skin.

He was a nice healthy 6x7 bull that had completely recovered.

A couple years later my partner of many years showed up at my house. He had a hind leg with him that was off of his bull that year. It was fused from the hip joint to the hoof and at one time had been shattered from top to bottom.

Of all the elk I have killed, I have only encountered these two. How about the rest of you. Have encountered one of these miraculous survivors? I'm not even counting the two we got with muzzy points stuck in the spine.
 
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Pony Soldier

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The family had done well one year and we encountered a cow and a calf above the road. We missed and I drove around to intercept them. Being young, I ran over the hill just in time to see them as they broke out of the jungle. The cow was in the lead and I only needed a calf so that was my choice. As I was cleaning it my dad showed up and I said well here's a calf. He looked at me and said I don't think so.

Under closer examination it was indeed not a calf. She was wet and had lost her calf. Her hooves were so long they turned up and nearly crossed. She had lots of teeth because the crowns were gone and only the polished roots remained including the eye teeth. We cut some chops for breakfast but struggled to have the strength to chew through them. We ground her up in hamburger and every bite was like eating a mouthful of superballs.

I glued the teeth/roots back into the skull after I cleaned it and gave it to the zoology dept. at NDSU. The best guess any is us had was she was older than 18.
 

Indian Summer

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This thread would make a good post on a “What rifle should I buy” thread. Poking a hole in an elk doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to die. And even if it does that doesn’t mean you’ll find it. If a guy is asking what gun to consider then he surely has no experience with how tough elk are and cannot imagine. A deer is tough. Times that by 100! Not to rekindle the peashooter/magnum debate but listen up people!
 

BigAntlerGetter

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Seen a cow had both front legs shot off above the knee. She hung out year round on a piece of private ground, still had a calf every year for several years, when she needed to get away she would lean back and basically run on her back 2 feet in a way. Feeding she would just drop down to her chest and push herself along.

My dad shot a cow one year with 3 legs, shoulder didn’t have Much meat on it but what was there was super tender.

Guiding one year had a Hunter make a horrible shot at a bull quartering away, ended up shooting him in the left rear ham with his 30-06 at 225 yards. We never ended up finding him. Fast forward 5 years my brother is guiding for the same outfit, they harvest a bull and are cutting the left rear ham off, the hip was all fused together and pretty wrecked. Cut through it with a saw and got to the back of the ham and sliced into the nastiest puss filled pocket they’d every seen. Working to get as much meat off as they could ended up finding a bullet in the ham… turned out to be a 30-06….

Broadheads in shoulders, spines, necks, ribs. Found a few bullets here and there, go to a processor and ask them what they’ve pulled out of animals lol. Some have a bucket full of all kinds of neat stuff


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Short Track

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My buddy shot a bull in the head, and it kept running. They just run to the next zip code. He finally finished it through the lungs.... 500 yards away.
 

RGARNER

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My buddy shot one a few years back and found a broadhead in the base of the skull, the bone had grown around it.
 

butcherboy

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Kirtland, NM
I have found a ton of stuff in animals. Bullets, broadheads, arrows, sticks, wire, .22 bullets, pellet gun pellets, lots of shattered and healed bones, etc. I’ve thrown most of it away but still have a few bags of souvenirs laying around.

The strangest was an elk killed by a rifle. It had what looked like a full length arrow and broadhead embedded lengthwise in the backstrap. I could see it as a carbon arrow. Opened it up but nothing was there! It had a perfectly round hole the size of a carbon arrow with black dust surrounding it with a broadhead at the end of the “tube”. It had been there for a while. My only guess is that the arrow was there creating a solid case of growth around it and eventually worked its way out leaving the hollow tube.
 

ScreamingPotato

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San Antonio / Cheyenne
The bull my son killed last year, doing the gutless method I just couldn't find the tenderloin so we removed the guts and went inside the cavity and found two separated little kidney looking balls on each side and nothing in the middle, looked like scar tissue on that spine as well. We figured he took a bullet and severed it in two or something. Those little tenderloin kidney balls were the toughest piece of meat we've ever eaten.
 

S-3 ranch

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This thread would make a good post on a “What rifle should I buy” thread. Poking a hole in an elk doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to die. And even if it does that doesn’t mean you’ll find it. If a guy is asking what gun to consider then he surely has no experience with how tough elk are and cannot imagine. A deer is tough. Times that by 100! Not to rekindle the peashooter/magnum debate but listen up people!
Or what bullet to make a 500-1000 meter shot
can’t ever figure out why folk want to possibly wound a animal with those odd shots
 

Larry Bartlett

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Ah dang, where to start?

Shot a bull moose standing in the river one year maybe 1999. A mile or two before we floated up to him i noticed weird tracks on the shoreline. I commented we were tracking a pirate moose because you'd see a hoof print followed by a small divot like a walking stick makes. Reminded me of a peg-legged pirate. We floated around a bend and the bull was standing in water near shore. Once down we found that he had snapped his leg bone between the knee and hoof and was dragging it behind every step hoof and leg bone dangling like toilet paper stuck a boot. Fresh break maybe days old. That meat tasted like chewy leather likely due to its stress levels.

Another year 2004 I shot a 8' interior griz at close range. It had popped out onto a large tree that washed ashore at high stage. My pioneer was below that tree at the waterline. I had just shot a small bull moose minutes before and was retrieving my kill kit. Out pops this large bear above me and my dog maybe 30 feet away. It turned toward me as if to come eat my arse, so I emptied my .30-06 in that boar as fast as I could jack shells. That poor bastard had one eye gored out and was likely not a threat at all just trying to get a sure look at me with his good eye. Dang. That bear was aged at 16-17 years old.

Two seasons ago a friend shot a bull, nothing remarkable about this 58incher. Double lung one shot at close range. Noticed a small bruise on one hind qtr and figured a browtine likely poked him in a fight. Got the meat back from the processor and he asked me what caliber killed that bull. Perplexed I told him it was a .300. Surprisingly that bull had been shot in the hind quarter by a .223 likely by a native from a rural village roughly 30 air miles away sometime earlier that month.

Shot a 56" bull in 2012 that had a unicorn horn tine growing from its forehead about 4" long and sharp. After the euro boil revealed a hole in its skull likely from a browtine of another bull, and that unicorn horn regrowth grew out of that skull puncture. Cool lookin antlers

Shot a 60" bull a couple years ago with one antler. His missing antler was ripped off along with 2" of skull plate a month or so prior. The wound was stanky but healing slowly. Meat was tough and not enjoyable, likely stress related.

Last one. 2001 I believe. Shot a ram at less than 20 yards. So close I opted for a head shot as not to ruin the meat I'd have to pack 15 miles back to the strip. Pulled the trigger, ram folded in a backflip and crumbled into a ball below the buttress. I dropped my pack near him and got out my camera for an old school selfie on a 10-sec timer balanced on my pack with a rock and twig to level and stabilize...all set. Click the shutter and run into place behind and underneath this dead ram. Blood and brain matter at the base of horn so I covered the mess with my hand and tried to position for a selfie within 10 sec...that poor ram wasn't dead, just unconscious from a near miss .30-06 to the base of one horn. Holy shit did that thing wake up rapidly confused by a human gripping its horns. Meanwhile, the ******* camera slipped and took a pic of the sky so no evidence of this crazy saga.

I'll just keep it brief to say that instead of letting go of the frantic ram as it tried to regain its stance and retreat, I physically wrestled that guy as it kicked and grinded me into the shale. I managed to get one forearm through its horn and lock my giant fist closed over its mouth and nose. The other hand locked the horn and tilted its head backward as it gasped in vein for air. My legs scissor-locked around its belly to keep its hooves from shredding my shins. I was belly to back of this wild panicked ram for just under 6 minutes until I successfully suffocated it to death. Unfortunately I was eye to eye during this whole time, my watch hand exposed by accident so i could watch the seconds to turn to minutes in numerous and slow cycles...and time has NEVER ticked so slowly and exhaustively. I had to watch this animal expire by my own hands and it was some of the most raw and primal emotions I have ever felt. When it was over I sat, back bleeding and shirt shredded, shins bleeding and whelped, physically and emotionally spent. I wept in awe of the whole ordeal. I have an abrasion scar on the back of one shoulder 20 years later and still think of that animal every time i see it in the mirror.
 

Indian Summer

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Larry how have you been man! Wild stories! I’m going to bow out of even attempting to top that stuff!
 

Larry Bartlett

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HA! wasn't tryin to top those other encounters. Just to add that animals are incredibly resilient survivors. I convinced myself 20 years ago that sheep would have died from that head wound, but today I'm not as convinced. Also reminds me how fragile we humans really are. Happy exploring fellas.
 

K1United

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May 26, 2016
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HA! wasn't tryin to top those other encounters. Just to add that animals are incredibly resilient survivors. I convinced myself 20 years ago that sheep would have died from that head wound, but today I'm not as convinced. Also reminds me how fragile we humans really are. Happy exploring fellas.
Probably the best post/story I’ve ever read on rokslide…ever. My hat is off to you, Sir.
 

Bearwhisky

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Dec 7, 2019
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Seen a cow had both front legs shot off above the knee. She hung out year round on a piece of private ground, still had a calf every year for several years, when she needed to get away she would lean back and basically run on her back 2 feet in a way. Feeding she would just drop down to her chest and push herself along.


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They call that a kangaroo in Australia.


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