I know Morgan will be thrilled to have her photo and comments about her first-ever hunts featured in the Barnes website. We love your bullets and have had great success reloading with them over the years. I’ve included Morgan’s first deer hunt from earlier this year. She took a nice four-point buck, which was her goal.
We’d located a buck, but weren’t sure how big it was because of the thick tangle of branches he was in at the bottom of a ravine. My cousin was helping us. He knew the area well, and decided to drop down below the buck and try pushing him out of the draw so Morgan could have a chance to shoot.
Before he left to do that, he turned to Morgan and asked, “how big is it?”
Morgan grinned and said, “it’s a four-point.” At least, she hoped it was! We set up the shooting sticks for a 100- to 200-yard shot across the ravine and Morgan got ready. A few minutes later we heard the distinct thumping sounds of a deer approaching from below, where Mike had just gone. When we looked to our left, he was coming straight toward us instead of across the ravine, where we’d expected to see him.
Morgan quickly stood up, put her scope on the running buck and shot offhand. The buck was now only 35 yards away, turning broadside. Morgan did amazingly well considering her dad (me) had cranked up the scope to 9x, thinking it would be a longer shot. She picked that buck up in the scope like a pro and was on him two seconds after he emerged from cover.
I was about to say “lead him,” when she pulled the trigger. Let me tell you, that 120-grain Barnes from her 7mm-08 packs a wallop. It really rocked the buck. The deer was moving fast. He almost dropped when the bullet struck, but caught himself—then struggled only another 15 feet before collapsing. Morgan’s double-lung shot completely penetrated the buck. That’s one reason I felt confident in using a 120-grain bullet on an elk. I know Barnes bullets will hold together, and that they’ve penetrated better than other bullets I’ve used over the years.
Morgan also took her first cow elk this year. We spotted some elk feeding 1,000 yards away early in the morning. They appeared to be cows, so we started our sneak. Halfway there, we heard a bull bugle down in the trees, below where the other elk were feeding. We only had a cow tag, so we were after the elk we’d spotted earlier.
When we were within 342 yards of the animals, we ran out of cover. We set up the shooting sticks to help steady Morgan’s rifle. The wind was in our face and the rain that had sprinkled the evening before kept the fallen aspen leaves quiet as we approached. The elk had no idea we were there. The four cows were feeding very slowly, with a 50-yard gap between them.
We had Morgan switch from one elk to the other as they fed, presented a shot, then turned to offer a less-favorable shot. She didn’t let this affect her. After a few such “switches,” the cow we’d originally targeted turned broadside once more. The elk was now between 345 and 350 yards away. Morgan took her time. Squeezing the trigger, she touched off a 120-grain Barnes bullet from her 7mm-08. Velocity was around 3,000 feet per second (fps).
A solid “whop” indicated a good hit through the chest. The cow flinched and stood with her ears back, head slightly lowered. The other elk began to move off, but she stood still, took a couple steps and stopped again. We told Morgan to put another bullet in her, so she did. The cow moved a few more yards and stood still once again.
Thinking Morgan may have shot a bit low, I told her to hold slightly higher and shoot again, which she did. The elk moved a couple of steps and went down at 352 yards, where she expired. The first shot went through both lungs. The second and third shots hit a little farther back. That was amazing accuracy at that distance, considering Morgan was shaking like a leaf after the first shot while Dan and I were excitedly urging her to shoot again. I don’t think I would have hit the elk three out of three times at 350 yards, but this 14-year-old girl did just that. The elk went only about 15 yards before going down. All three bullets completely penetrated the elk—I like those Barnes bullets! It was another great time for Dad. I’m proud of Morgan, even if she shoots better than I do!
Morgan was amazing this year on her first-ever hunts with a tag in her hands. She loves the outdoors and hunting. She was as proud as could be after taking both a buck and a cow. Afterwards, she shook like a leaf in the wind and grinned from ear to ear. I’m one proud dad, for sure! Morgan laughed at me during both hunts because she said I was more excited than she was. She could be right!
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