Lets just call it a learning experience! It was a general rifle hunt. I packed in 2 or 3 miles i think. I saw 1 elk, a smaller 5x5, the wind was not doing what i thought it was doing and I completely misjudged it. It was so cold the bolt in my gun was sticking enough it fired 3 shots out of I dont know how many (always take your bolt apart and clean and dry lube it). I hit this bull 3 times to far back since the wild was blowing were i was but not where he was (figured this out when I was looking for blood). Couldnt get bolt warmed up enough to shoot anymore. He made it out of where i hit him at and I backed out to give him some time and some other hunters found him and claimed him. I hunted there a couple more days and went to the Gravelys the last couple days where I saw some cows and spikes but nothing exciting. Killed a deer in eastern MT before that. It was a good hunt and my first backpack hunt but i made a couple mistakes that cost me a nice bull. I guess thats how we learn.
I couldn't claim an animal that somebody else shot first if I bumped into them later. That's a tough situation MM
My experience in Montana has been similar. If you wound an animal and he runs over a ridge and another guys kills it. It's his or hers.
MM, how did you find out someone else got the elk?
Granted this thread isn't meant for this topic, but thought I would chime in and say I had a similar experience in Minnesota with a doe whitetail believe it or not. I was in stand on private land when I shot it and it crossed onto state land where I watched it drop. I watched a guy walk up to the deer and shoot it between the eyes. Now this guy shot at a deer about an hour earlier in the day so when I walked up to him he told me "I'm not sure who got it first." I shook my head and said it's yours and I walked away.
Amazing that people would claim an animal they know they didn't shoot, or know someone else wounded. I have had a bead drawn on me over ducks that I shot, so I guess anything is possible