Well, the Montana elk season came to an end this weekend. I started the season off with a miss at a cow at 30 yards I guessed her at 40 and shot right over the top of her back on opening morning. Then a couple weeks later I went right under a small bull at 50 yards, and sliced its leg. We also had many other encounters throughout the season but never came close enough to get any more shots. Then the last day me and a friend watched two 5×5’s for 2 1/2 hours fighting below us with no chance to get to them, because they were in the bottom of a really steep coulee. This is my first year hunting elk, and I’m only 16 so hopefully I can get one next year.
Sorry to hear you mis-judged the ranges and missed out on your Elk.
Here’s a tip for next season. Get yourself a 50lb grain bag (it is about the size of an Elk’s chest) and spray paint the line of the crease of the shoulder on it and fill it with fiber; if you use straw/hay back it with a regular bag target. Practice on that grain bag for a month before Elk season. It will train your eye to mentally find the ‘kill spot’ in the shoulder crease and will mentally train your eye to better estimate the distance based on the size of the grain bag.
This is what I have done for years … now, I can hardly look at a deer or Elk without zooming in on the kill zone and not even thinking about range, even with a recurve.
Brians tip on training the eye is a great one to help get the pin on target quickly and where it needs to settle before squeezing the trigger…….
It’s one reason shooting at 3D animals is great practice. Shooting at something other than a set of bulls eye rings.
I stalk hunt elk mostly and practice my range judgment a lot. I would add that you should save and get a good range finder ASAP….if you don’t already have one…. Using one to learn distance judgment is a great tool. Also when in the setups for elk/deer it is great to range trees, brush around you so you have a pre determined yardage before the animal even gets there.