Last Friday we got to get back into some wolf country.
Today we went to a spot where we had heard a wolf had been killed at earlier in the week. We hiked back into some clear cuts that had no road access in hopes of hearing or seeing wolves. Unfortunately, we only found some deer and elk tracks. Later we drove some more access roads and did see some tracks. These tracks were probably 3 days old so we turned around and headed back down to the main road. On the way down Travis spotted movement in the brush. We stopped and found that a young mountain lion had been trapped. Neither of us had seen a mountain lion before so we got close and snapped some photos.
After a few photos I tried to move a few feet closer so I could get a more clear photo and the mountain lion began to try to pull free from the trap. I backed off and before we knew it the cat had managed to pull free. The cat booked in the opposite direction and we went to take a look at the trap. The trap had shut with one of the cat’s claws stuck between the metal bars. I opened the trap and took the claw. We jumped back in the truck and crossed to the drainage’s other side. Immediately we spotted fresher tracks that crossed the road. They were following a heavily used deer game trail.
With the snow being warmed and re-frozen almost daily, it was difficult to accurately tell the age of the tracks. I’d figured they were just over a day old. The area seemed promising as there were ample clear cuts to try calling in. Hopefully we can get them to respond some how to the calls or else it’s going to be a tough hunt for one very elusive animal. At the end of the day we spotted two moose.
Tomorrow we’ll be heading back out deer hunting. We have to give ourselves a couple more attempts at bagging a buck. I’m already anticipating getting back out after a wolf later this week. We’ll keep you posted as we go.
Since it was announced that Montana was going to be having an open season for wolves, I’ve been anxious to get out there and see if I can see one firsthand and hopefully put my crosshairs on one. I feel that if your passionate about hunting elk then you need to get out and try to do your part in managing the wolves. I been fortunate to get a few tips from some friends on some areas to look. Travis and I went out on Sunday and saw a fair number of tracks. They all were about 2-3 days old though and the country was steep. We didn’t have any luck but there’s snow in the forecast and were gonna be back out again soon. We’ll be keeping you posted here and on our Facebook. We’ll let you know what we did or didn’t see. This is all new to us. We’ve been keeping our ears open and have a couple areas in mind. Once I’ve heard of an area with wolves I’ve been looking over maps on ACME Mapper to get a feel for the terrain. We’ll see how it all pans out. Also, we’ve been dropping some new webisodes so if you haven’t seen them go ahead and check them out in HD!
If you’ve been liking what were producing here on Montana Wild go ahead and sign up to follow the blog so you never miss a post. There’s a button on the right side of the blog that say “Sign Up.” Click the button and you’ll get an email when we post something. Thanks for the support and we’ll be back soon with more updates on our wolf hunt.
We decided to switch things up and film some duck hunting (See video below). Good friends Stephen Anglin and Ben Morin took us out on a morning duck hunt, accompanied with the awesome bird dog Zoe.
We got out there at first light, and ended up spooking a lot of ducks out of the pond in some cattails. We set up the decoys, hoping for them to circle back and allow us to unload a wall of steel on them. Unfortunately, a majority of the birds opted for a different pond.
We did however have a couple small groups of ducks fly over, which Stephen dropped like a champ. I’m pretty sure I winged the first one, but who knows (I’m a rookie).
It was good first day. Hopefully some of the cold whether will bring some more ducks into the area and be looking for future duck and goose hunt episodes here on Montana Wild.
CHECK THE EDIT IN HD FOR THE FULL DUCK HUNT EXPERIENCE!
Check out the latest from Montana Wild. This is footage from our last trip to Havre, MT where we met up with our good friend Tyler McCann. Check out the post from that trip here. The trip didn’t go quite according to plan and we missed some pretty epic shots with the camera but overall we had a blast and got to see some coyotes drop. Be sure to check it out fullscreen in HD.
Travis and I are headed out tomorrow to go try to get on some wolves in the Western part of the state. We’ll have some more updates showing up soon so check back.
This past weekend we headed home for Thanksgiving to see the parents and do some hunting. Zack was anxious to pull the trigger on a buck as he hadn’t seen anything worth shooting throughout the season. Early Saturday morning we loaded up on the ATV and headed up the mountain. The area we were in is very thick forest and holds some nice mountain whitetails. Unfortunately there wasn’t much snow on the ground and the woods were just too loud to sneak up on anything. After a tough morning of hunting we decided to bust out the distress call and try to round up some predators. We had seen numerous fresh coyote tracks and knew they were in the area. We set up on a small frozen lake and Zack began calling. About six minutes into the stand I spotted a coyote dropping down through the timber towards our position. Before Zack could reposition the coyote was already tip toeing out onto the ice at 70 yards. Over the course of the next five minutes he slowly worked to withing 50 yards but was wary. He was starring us down so we had to remain very still.
He knew something was up but wasn’t in any hurry to leave. As soon as he turned Zack repositioned his gun. The coyote stopped and looked. Zack had to very careful to minimize his movements so he could get a shot. The coyote slowly worked back to the snowy bank. As soon as he turned his back Zack moved into a shooting position. The coyote stopped and looked back for the last time. Zack made sure I was on the coyote with the camera and let the Remington sing. The coyote dropped on the far bank and Zack had his first mountain coyote.
We were pumped up and we headed over to check him out. It was an average sized male and we were pretty excited to catch the whole thing on film. Go ahead and check out the video!
The following day I sat in a tree stand we had set up. Once again I was hunting solo and the GoPro battery died as I tried to film this hunt. It was the final day of rifle season and my last chance to fill my doe tag for that region. A young buck walked by after sitting for 30 minutes. I had already filled my buck tag and let him walk. About ten minutes later I was surprised to see a doe feeding through the woods only 30 yards away. It is surprising how silent deer can be! The doe spotted me reaching for my bow, she proceeded to stomp and bark at me at 18yards. Boom! A rifle shot echoed from the nearby forest. The doe took her attention off of me, and I took that opportunity to get my release on the D-loop. The doe started to make her away from my stand. I drew as she passed behind a tree at 22yards, I held on her until she stopped perfectly broadside at 25 yards. Wham! I couldn’t see my where my arrow stuck her, but I could see she was bleeding bad. She ran 30 yards before she piled up.
I found out I had made a perfect shot, with a clean pass through. It was a great way to end the rifle season, two does in 5 days!
Well my bow hunting season has been quite the challenge this year. My season has consisted of mistake after mistake. Finally this morning I had the day to myself and went out and put a doe down after only 1 hour of hunting.
My brother and I were supposed to go out and film our hunt, but Zack had college priorities he had to tend to. This was fine with me, but for some reason I always end up filling a tag when the camera isn’t around. My morning started off at first light with a nice 1.75 mile hike in. I spooked about five deer in the dim light about 1 mile in. I slowly hiked to the spot where the deer seem to migrate and once again was spotted by a whitetail before I could even get an arrow nocked. Ten minutes later I spotted two does making their way around a ridge. I used trees as cover and crept to within 100yds. The deer positioned themselves in some small pine trees and I quickly dumped my backpack and tippy toed another 40yards. I finally made it to 47 yards of the two deer. I drew, stood up, and settled my 50 pin on the doe. BAM! My arrow knocked the whitetail off her feet! I hit a little high, and quickly put another arrow through her chest.
Well it’s been a tough last couple of weeks. Those damn deer have been giving me fits worse that the elusive wapiti. Two trips to North Central Montana left us empty handed. Blue tongue left a destructive path throughout the river bottom of the Milk River. We saw a good number of mule deer but no shooters. Fortunately we were able to drop a handful of coyotes and keep the mood light. Other than those trips east we’ve been bowhunting deer and haven’t even picked up a rifle.
The weather quickly has went from fall to full on winter. Temps have dipped as low as 5 degrees and makes slow stalks on deer quite cold and difficult. Recently Travis and I had a chance to stalk a nice 9 point. We spotted him on a ridge early in the morning and watched him lay down for the day. After a mile loop we were above his position.
As we crept to within range we spotted a doe. I had a doe tag and was about to let loose an arrow when I spotted horns. He was bedded 10 yards behind the doe next to a downfall. I put my 40 pin on him and checked with Travis to make sure the camera was on him.
As my great luck would have it he jumped straight from his bed and booked it down the ridge. I couldn’t believe he didn’t stand for even a quarter of a second. With the recent snow we were able to track him down and follow him as he circled from his original bedding location. Again we looped to get to a favorable position. We spotted the doe bedded and crept to within 80 yards. This loop took us an hour and a half and a majority of that was behind the binoculars looking for the buck. At 80 yards the doe spotted us and stood up and slowly walked to our left. All of a sudden the buck stood up from under a small evergreen. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen him, and I quickly went to hook my release to my d-loop. Again I was behind the eight ball. After crawling for hundreds of yards in the snow, my release had iced up. I frantically tried to fix the problem before he walked away. After about 5-8 seconds I was back on track, and I drew on the buck at 55 yards. We tried to stop him before he walked behind a tree but he didn’t stop until he was behind it. I let down thinking he’d stand there and inspect where the noise came from but he soon continued walking. I drew again and had to rush a shot before he dipped over a small ridge. It sailed right over his back at 65 yards. I was boiling at that point. By the time we made it back to the truck it was 3PM and we’d been running off of only a bagel we had eaten at 6AM. We were exhausted and very frustrated.
Yesterday we were back at it again with a bow but in a different location. This spot has plenty of deer and some great bucks. The terrain is very tough as a majority of it is open country with little cover. After a couple of hours of walking and spotting we saw a nice herd of mule deer. We made a wide loop to get in position. As we were creeping over the edge of a coulee we noticed an exceptionally nice whitetail bedded on the other side of the coulee.
The wind was right for a stalk but I’d have to be careful that I didn’t spook the mule deer when I came at this deer from above. After a couple hundred yards of army crawling I was close, and I hadn’t spooked the mule deer which were in plain sight across the coulee. I slowly got on my knees and looked for horns. I could barely make out the chocolate horns over the grass just 60 yards away. I kept slowly moving and closed to within 40 yards and knew this was as close as it was going to get. All I could see was his head and horns and didn’t have a shot at him bedded. My plan was to get in behind him and shoot him in his bed but without being able to see vitals I had to change plans. The wind was beginning to swirl so I knew it needed to happen quick. I drew my bow and stood. A doe was bedded with him and saw me as I stood up. She immediately booked it, and I quickly got my pins on the buck. I knew I was going to need to shoot very quickly. I lined my pins up and was just about to send an arrow when he spun and ran off. From the time he stood up to when he ran away was maybe a second at the most. I had no chance to even shoot. All I needed was a quarter second more to pull that trigger. I seriously wanted to cry. Two bucks in three days that I had gotten to 40 yards of while they were bedded. Both never stood and gave me a shot. They both booked it immediately. What happened to those tv bucks that stand there for 5 seconds staring at the hunter while he lines up his shot? I couldn’t believe it. The stalk only spooked about 4 or 5 of the mule deer so we set back up to get on them. There was a great buck in the group and we devised a plan.
Again these deer were in an open field down in a small valley. There was no cover for a stalk so we set up on a hillside where they occasionally travel up to a small ag field. After my first stalk I was wet and the wind had now picked up. It was a long and very cold couple of hours of watching these deer feeding and the bucks chasing does.
They never made a move and we had to back out and admit defeat for the day. A couple of nice bucks will live to see another day, and my search for a buck for 2011 continues.
It’s been an exciting fall for us as we’ve been able to hunt so many amazing animals and places. We’ve been far more successful than last year but things still feel like they could have went far better. I guess that’s always how hunting is going to be. There’s always room for improvement and another hunt to go on.
This last weekend we were back in North Central Montana looking to find a shooter buck. We packed up Thursday evening and left town around midnight. We rolled into Havre and left for our first hunting spot of the week.
We came up empty handed on spotting any deer to start our first morning so we decided to get on the distress call and see if we couldn’t round up a predator or two. We set up on a fence overlooking a small coulee and set up Kujo our Montana Decoy. After 3 minutes of calling Travis saw 2 coyotes out of the corner of his eye. They had run up behind us to about 15 yards. They were keyed in on the decoy, and I quickly sat up and dumped the closest one. Unfortunately, Tyler was in a spot where he couldn’t shoot without muzzle blasting me so the 2nd coyote made it down into the coulee. That coyote never stopped for a shot, but we were excited to have fur on the ground the 1st morning.
We quickly moved on from that stand and got back to scouting for deer. Nothing showed up and we headed to our last location of the day. We sat on a field edge and hoped a big buck would pop out. We never saw a shooter but stirred up a decent number of does.
Day 2 started out with a bang. We set two consecutive stands where Tyler was able to drop a coyote.
On the 1st stand I had forgot to load a shell when we set up and when I set my crosshairs on the coyote and pulled, all I got was a click. Tyler dumped him before I could load a shell and we were on the board with a coyote. The 2nd stand contained some mis-communication with the cameraman and the shot wasn’t filmed but again we had some more fur on the ground. We learned that we needed to set up with the camera in mind also so we can capture these hunts on film.
With only some does and a couple small bucks spotted we set off again to walk coulees and see if we could stumble upon a monarch mule deer buck. Well let’s just say if the deer hunting ain’t good, just turn to your buddy and say “Let’s get to calling.” We soon had a coyote pop up 200 yards to our left and trotting away. Cole got on the coyote quick and layed down the hurt.
Despite not seeing any quality bucks we were having a great day. Even though the landscape is bleak at times it also has moments that make you want to hunt everyday.
We continued on busting coulees. As we headed south we spotted some deer a half mile away climbing up to an agriculture field. Again we weren’t able to locate a good buck. We spooked up a coyote and Tyler let some lead fly. He missed low right and the coyote peeled out and dipped over the ridge. We called a stand and then continued on. As we were cresting another ridge we saw a coyote in the bottom. He spotted us and started running up the far side of the coulee. The guys scrambled to get a rest and get their guns on the coyote. Cole was the quickest and when he stopped at 250 yards he let the hammer drop. Another passenger for my truckbed.
The next day we were back at it. Again the deer were sparse and the coyotes hungry so we got to calling. Immediately we had 2 coyotes start heading our way. The 1st slowly came in and then disappeared behind a ridge. The yote seemed to be circling to catch our wind. When a second one showed up I new we needed to get a shot off. Tyler set up for 300 yarder but the coyote trotted forward. We it popped up again he was 235 yards away. Ty got his AR lined up and squeezed off a round. The coyote spun and ran off. Tyler had been shooting FMJ’s and thought he had hit the coyote. We headed up and searched but found no dog. We headed back to the truck to review the footage and see if he’d hit him.
After watching the footage we were confident he hit the coyote in the chest. Because he was shooting a full metal jacket (FMJ) the bullet passed through the coyote and hit the dirt behind him as you could see in the footage. Chances are the bullet pierced one lung and the coyote was never retrieved. We continued to hunt hard but never got a chance to pull the trigger on a big buck.
Again we had an awesome time despite things not going according to plan. We’ll be out again this weekend looking to get me a deer with a good set of headgear.
Here’s an afternoon of coyote hunting from opening weekend. The deer hunting was tough so we decided to switch things up and call some predators.
Were currently back on the Hi-Line in search of shooter. Chances are we’ll be finding more coyotes roaming the vast open terrain of Northern Montana.
We’ve been busy hunting and filming all fall. We’ve been fortunate enough to get some really great footage. Travis edited a short preview video for what’s to come after we complete the 2011 hunting season. We are excited for the upcoming episodes and videos. Check this one out in HD!
There should be no shortage of more hunting coming up so stay tuned to Montana Wild.
Even though it’s general season here in Montana we still enjoy bowhunting. This last Friday we set out to “The Ranch” to get in some spot and stalk bowhunting. We had a general idea of the deer movements from the week before when we had hunted.
We got their before sunrise and got in position on the edge of a field on a plateau. Right away we spotted approximately 25 mule deer feeding on the north side of the field. We were positioned on the opposite side so we sat and watched, waiting for them to dip over the side so we could close the gap.
As we were watching these deer a whitetail popped up over the far side of the field and was working right towards us. We had a general idea of where he might cross so we got set up on the fence line. With only the fence as cover we waited. The buck kept coming and crossed the fence. I could only range a small bush as everyting around the fence was grass. The bush ranged at 60 yards and I though he was going to walk right behind it. I drew as he crossed the fence and then stopped him. As I was settling in to my peep I kept having to readjust as my glove was thick and prevented my face from getting into it’s normal anchor position. Right as I was hitting the release my bow was wanting to let down and my arrow went flying off into space. I was pissed and Travis had to let me hear it also. We walked up to where the buck had been and it ended up being 75 yards. I’ll just say even if I would have made a good shot I most likely would have missed low anyways. We continued on and got back on the mule deer we had spotted earlier.
Soon we had crept to the field edge and immediately had does below us. I quickly ranged a doe at 48 and ripped an arrow. Somehow I missed again. Talk about frustrating. Two shots in under an hour. That’s just how it goes I guess. We stayed put and watched the mule deer as they hadn’t been spooked by my second miss of the day. As we were sitting there a young deer showed up right below us and was making a beeline our way. We watched what we thought was a doe come bouncing right up the hill towards us. I got my bow ready and Travis dialed in the camera. Soon the deer popped up 30 yards away and I smoked her through her front shoulder with a Grim Reaper. We watched as she ran back down the hill and piled up. Well we finally connected.
We got down there and found out it was a yearling buck. We tagged him and decided with the near freezing temps we could leave him and try to put a stalk on one of the bucks that was bedded just across the valley. We had a small snack and then made a mile loop to get in position for a stalk.
Soon we had made it to withing 100 yards of where we had last seen them bedded. We snuck up and found out they had moved slightly. Another hour of trying to position ourselves better and we spotted this decent buck from the top of the ridge. I quickly backtracked and started a slow stalk from behind him. At first all I could see were his antlers just above the grass. I soon closed the gap to 70 yards and could now see his back. I slowly kept creeping up trying to be as quite as possible. The whole time it was very difficult to range him. It was hard to not range grass in front or behind him, but I finally got to close to 45 yards and was able to confidently range his rack. At that point he slowly stood. I’m pretty sure he had caught my wind, and I slowly drew back. He snapped his head my way and a short stare down ensued. I settled my 50 pin low and behind his elbow and released. I could hear my arrow hit him and he spun and ran off. I could see my arrow through his right shoulder and out his neck on the left side, and I thought for sure he was going to drop right away. He ended up running off and the group settled down across the small valley. About five minutes later they spooked themselves and began a disappointing run to the neighbors property. I just couldn’t believe this buck was getting away. How could an arrow through one shoulder and through the neck not hit something vital? It made me sick. We followed them to the property line and could still see blood from where the buck had ran. We are currently trying to get access to the property to look for this deer. We reviewed the footage and were amazed at how hard this buck had jumped the string.
The above picture is a screen shot of the footage we have of me shooting this buck. The first image is him looking at me as I’m lining up my pins. The second is my arrow initially hitting him. He dropped and spun a considerable amount as my arrow was headed his way. If this buck would not have been so quick he would have been dead very quickly. This just goes to show you that bowhunting isn’t easy and you always need to try to get as close to your quarry as possible. My bow is by no means slow and it shows these deer can really do some amazing things. I don’t regret taking the shot. It was a good stalk and shot with disappointing consequences. Times like these are inevitable in bowhunting. It just makes you focus harder to become a better hunter and shooter. We finished the day off by getting some stalks under Travis’s belt. We cut off another herd of deer moving back to this field in the evening but made a couple small mistakes and couldn’t connect on another deer. We’ll be headed back soon though so keep checking back for more hunting adventures with Montana Wild.
So far 2011 has been a successful season. With my elk still waiting for something to be done with it and Travis dropping two animals in the last week, it was time to get the elk boiler set up.
I made a few trips and finally found something big enough to accommodate an elk’s skull. The item was a 100 quart stainless pot from Big Sky Restaurant Supply here in town. Now the amount of water that this would need to boil out an elk was considerable, and I had some questions about the strength of our turkey fryer’s legs. Sure enough I got it set up and one started bending. I made a few trips and got a handful of bricks to give that big boy some better support.
I finally got my elk in there and got the process rolling. Now it had been about three weeks since I had shot my bull so it was gross to say the least when I pulled it out. Don’t leave it in a bag if it’s going to sit around for longer than a few days otherwise there might be some critters crawling around when you open it. Soon mine was done. Travis got his in there and about 10 hours later it was done also.
If you haven’t European mounted your own game give it a try. It’s very easy to do yourself if you have a free day and are ok with some interesting smells. Basically we slow boil the head with a few tablespoons of dish soap for 6-10 hours, scraping flesh every 45 minutes or so until clean. After that let it dry and whiten with you method of choice. If your on a budget it’s an easy way to save money. Just one head pays for itself. There are tons of online resources and it’s a no brainer to do it yourself. Get it? No-brainer. Ya, stupid I know. If you have questions feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help you out. Just this morning Travis threw in the last piece to the puzzle, his velvet buck.
Hopefully he can keep the moisture off the velvet. He’s got some pretty decent jimmy rigging going on here. After that we just have to whiten these bad boys up and get em on the wall. This weekend we’ll be back to the field after some more deer.
Opening morning of rifle season started at 3am and consisted of a 4 hour drive to get to our hunting spot. Zack, Tyler, Cole, and myself were all looking to score on a big mule deer. At first light we came across a group of mule deer off in the distance, but no bucks to be seen. I spotted a nice mule buck climbing an adjacent coulee. We quickly geared up, and worked around a ridge, hoping we would be able to cut-off the buck. Unfortunately we somehow misjudged how close we were and ended up bumping the buck twice over a couple more coulees. Tyler and Cole decided they had seen enough and headed back to the truck, while Zack and myself wanted to get a better look at this buck. Zack was on the camera, while I carried the 6×284 over my shoulder. After reaching the top of the ridge, I spotted the deer at 300yards. I dropped to the ground and got a good rest on my backpack. The deer was in full velvet! Unfortunately, I still couldn’t decide if the deer was a shooter, and the deer quickly made his way behind another ridge.
We didn’t see many deer the remainder of the morning and decided to trek back into some deep coulees, where we thought the deer would be bedding with the 30mph wind gusts we were having that day. We hiked almost 2 miles up and down through the cactus and desert brush before getting to a nice outlook where we did some glassing. Zack spotted the same buck we had been chasing earlier just over 100yds away bedded down in some shade! We quickly put a plan together and I decided he was a very unique buck and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The only problem was the deer was bedded down facing directly towards us. I was very confident with the shot at hand, but decided I needed to try and get the buck to stand in order to get a better view of his vitals. I setup in a somewhat uncomfortable position on the rock in front of me and got a steady rest. Tyler did a couple predator calls to get the buck to stand out of his bed. The buck stood directly facing me, his velvet glowing in the sun, I took my time settling the crosshairs on his chest and squeezed off the 108yd shot. Boom! The buck dumped right where he stood!
I was all pumped up and quickly made my way down the rocky hillside. It felt great to get my hands on such a nice deer and was my first time putting a tag on any animal in velvet.
It was time to do the dirty work and get the deer quartered and pack him back to the truck 2miles away. After packing out Zack’s elk just a couple weeks ago, this deer seemed like a breeze to carry out.
Big thanks to Tyler, Cole, and Zack. Zack filmed the entire hunt, and I can’t wait to show the amazing footage we captured this weekend. I’m in the process of Euro mounting the buck and will post pictures as soon as I finish. Big things to come from Montana Wild!
The weekend of rifle season was finally upon us. Our guns lead us to northeastern Montana, in search of big mule deer. Zack and I were going to meet Tyler and Cole McCann for a three day hunt, with some coyote hunting in the mix. It was bound to be an exciting weekend, for the McCann’s always seem to bring about some sort of unforgettable hunting experience.
We headed out Friday morning, giving ourselves enough time to try our luck at some fly fishing on some new waters. We stopped at a little known river that spanned across rolling meadows.
The river gave up some high energy fish right away. Zack missed the biggest fish of the day, which was about 18″. I tried my luck with some streamers and had some nice browns take a taste or two, but didn’t quite get hooked. After an hour of getting our lines wet, we hit the flat highways of central Montana once again. I happened to catch a snooze or two, which Zack had fun with by scaring the sh** out of me by swerving, emergency breaking, and yelling. Ya he’s that guy.
We arrived safely and headed out for a couple hours of scouting and tried a couple coyote stands. We managed to get one coyote to howl for literally a half hour straight, but couldn’t get him to get within eyesight.
We headed back to Tyler McCann’s house where we prepared for our opening day hunt. The next morning we had little sleep and awakened at 3am, ya I didn’t typo, 3am! We had a 3 hour drive ahead of us to some public land that was suggested by the old farmer McCann. Not to say the drive wasn’t entertaining. We got pulled over by some reservation cops, which were super unhelpful and gave us the wrong directions to our hunting spot (video to prove it). After driving 18 miles out of our way, we finally found our hunting spot. The sun was just rising over the mountains when we spotted our first set of mule does.
Shortly thereafter we spotted a nice mule buck. I’m going to make this short and sweet, but we managed to get within 108yds of the buck and I decided that the unique 4×6 mule buck in velvet was too good to pass up. (full story will be posted soon) I dumped the buck in his tracks. It was a very exciting moment for myself and a huge relief after having such a rough bow season.
We had the deer gutted, quartered, and back to the truck by 2:30pm. The rest of the day we searched for more deer, but only crossed paths with a couple does. The next day we decided to hunt some new land near the Harlem area. The morning started very slow, and it was apparent that the mule deer, whitetail, and antelope population were extremely low from winter kill along with blue tongue. That morning we didn’t see a single deer, and decided our best bet for the day was to attempt a couple coyote stands. There is no shortage of coyotes in this area and we spotted about 5-6 that morning. Tyler put the smack down on a young female coyote that we found eating on a dead cow. It was a very well placed 300yd+ shot.
The remainder of the day consisted of long range bow shooting competitions between Tyler and myself. The shots were mostly taken around 70-80yds with a 20mph crosswind/backwind. We both were surprisingly very accurate for the conditions. Around 3:30pm we took one of the McCann’s small boats up the Milk River in search of more coyotes.
We managed to put together a couple stands before the boat broke down on us. We had no choice but to bushwack back to the house. Along the way Zack managed to smoke a coyote, with an impressive headshot (video to come soon).
We attempted a couple more stands, with no success. The sunsets in eastern Montana were a sight for sore eyes, as the second day of rifle season came to closure.
Our final day of our hunt was located just south of Havre, Montana. My brother Zack and I traveled about 2.5miles into some foothills before spotting some mule bucks. We came across a bachelor herd of 5 bucks, 2 of them being sizeable animals. Zack spent a good amount of time sizing them up, before deciding they just weren’t what he was after. We ended the morning hunt after spotting 3 more bucks.
Zack is still in search of filling his deer tag this year, and is hoping that he will be able to tag a big one during the rut. On our way back, we stopped once again to get a little fly fishing under our belts. We pulled in some smaller fish that were still exciting to catch.
The trip was a success and I couldn’t be happier with the buck I put down opening day. We filmed the entire hunt and will have it posted as soon as I have the footage edited. All I can say is the footage is A+ quality and I can’t wait to post the episode. I still have an elk tag to fill and am hoping to seal the deal on a nice bull over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned and hunt hard!
Well it’s about to be another rifle season and hopefully it’s a darn good one. 2009 was my first season hunting and Travis and I happened to take a very respectable mule deer on our first two days with our good friend Tyler McCann. Tomorrow we head back to Eastern Montana in search of big muley and maybe a few coyotes along the way. Stay tuned!
Its coming down to the final days of archery season here in Montana. Our good friend Tyler McCann made the roadtrip over to join us in one last archery elk attempt.
The location we were hunting is the same area that Zack shot his bull just 2 weeks ago. The bulls have been very vocal for the past couple weeks, but we didn’t hear a bugle until mid morning. We quickly tried getting close to some bulls that were responding to Zack’s bugle. We spotted a raghorn 5X4 about a quarter mile away and started cow calling. The bull responded immediately and started heading our direction. I setup on the leftside of this bulls path, while Tyler setup to my right and behind me 60 yards. The bull fed to within 30 yards of me. I drew back…… my bow once again had a malfunction and my arrow came unocked. Blown opportunity! That has been my story this year. Bow malfunctions and stupid mistakes. Below is a screenshot of the video Zack capture during the hunt.
It was getting close to mid-day and the elk activity quickly diminished. We took a nap until the evening hunt and we were surprised with how uncomfortable it was to sleep when your cold and don’t have enough layers on.
We didn’t see any elk the rest of the day, but spooked something in the trees at one point. We headed down the ridge empty handed after a long day in the mountains.
The next day we decided to try one of our elk hunting spots from last year. We arrived to the sound of zero elk and just a bunch of hunters. Due to road closures, our spot has become overan with hunters. The highlight of our morning was bugling in a couple hunters and flinging some arrows at grouse.
The next couple of days we didn’t see much. Tyler snuck up on a nice 5X5, but the bull worked into the dark timber before he could get a shot. We did get a good look at a nice mule deer buck that we saw of the side of the road. Opening weekend of rifle season will be in Havre, Montana this year. The Montana Wild Crew will be filming a big mule deer rifle hunt this year. Look for an update in the near future!
Well it’s been about a week since I completed my #1 goal for the season, which was to arrow my first bull. This year has been amazing. Of the 21 days Travis and I have hunted this year we’ve only had 2 where we didn’t see or hear a bull. Compare that to last year and it’s night and day. We were in and around the elk constantly and unfortunately Travis has had some bow malfunctions otherwise he’d have one down long ago. We did get some great footage of it though.
My 10th day of archery season put me close to Missoula hunting with my brother. He had recently hunted one of our spots and said the elk were rutting hard so we knew we’d get into elk. After crossing a river and an hour hike which climbs 1800 vertical feet we set foot on an open ridge and started hunting.
Immediately we spooked some cows off a logging road. I was a little down after that but within ten minutes we rounded a bend and heard bugling in a small, well used basin. We slowly crept down to where the basin necked and set up. I could tell the elk were moving down towards the logging road and soon we could hear twigs breaking. Either the elk were going to come on a trail at 10 yards or scale some shale at around 40. They chose the later and two cows slowly crept down onto the logging road. They were very cautious but fortunately we had the wind in our favor and they never caught our scent on the road. Finally a raghorn 3×4 followed. I had one small gap through the branches and as soon as he stepped into it I settled my 40 pin on him and let my Easton rip. I could tell I hit him hard and within twenty seconds I heard him crash and die just a hundred yards from where we sat. I was pumped up to say the least. That rush of adrenaline is unreal.
We gave him about 30 minutes just to be safe and then set off to check out my first elk. I found the arrow minus the broadhead. I stuck him quartering away and the Montec CS buried in his opposite shoulder after penetrating both lungs.
Soon I had my hands on him and boy did it feel good.
He sure doesn’t compare to the bulls I chased this year in the Breaks but he’s still a trophy in my book. He’s got some great chocolate horns and let’s just say he’s a tasty fellar. It’s only my second year with a bow, and my second year of serious hunting so I was stoked to get it done.
Well after we got to my bull, three other bulls filtered into this same basin bugling like crazy. I told my brother he needed to use my bow and see if we could double up. Sure enough a bull was going to work right up over the logging road. Travis unfortunately tried to sneak too close as he didn’t want to take a long shot with my bow. The elk saw him and bolted but continued to linger and bugle below us. We then headed back to my elk. I went to grab my backpack and all of a sudden a nice 5×5 is chasing a cow down straight towards me. The cow saw me and turned but the bull stood at about 40 yards and bugled. He stood around for about 5 minutes and then continued chasing that cow. Travis unfortunately was below me and behind some tree so he didn’t get a chance at this guy. It was most likely a good thing because I had never packed a bull out and it was tough to say the least. One of our packs was not neccessarily built for a 80-100 pound quarter but it got the job done. Thankfully it was all downhill.
Overall it was an experience I’ll never forget. We did manage to film the hunt and got some great footage. It might be a while before we get it edited so be sure to keep checking back with us cause it should be pretty darn sweet.
Big thanks to Travis for filming and helping pack out my bull. Couldn’t have done it without him.
Well it’s been a few weeks since we’ve dropped any new posts so it’s finally time to make an update. It’s been a busy few weeks of school, work, and hunting. Two weekends ago Travis and I were back in our spot from opening weekend. We found tons of large rubs, hunters bugling their faces off constantly, but no elk. After two days of no sign or sound of elk we moved camp about 5 miles to the west.
Again we little fresh sign and again week old rubs and scat but no elk were currently holding in the area. We moved again. Getting to our last spot of the weekend I spotted a cow in the bottom of a coulee. We geared up and started a stalk. After working to within 40 yards we saw they had bedded and that we would need to re-angle ourselves to get a broadside shot. Soon we had backed out and were again moving close to what we thought were 2 cows. The wind swirled at about 50 yards and one of the cows busted up and barked at us. Soon 4 other cows and a bull poped up. By the time Travis was ready and the bull stopped he was 85 yards out and his arrow sailed well left.
The next weekend we were back at the Missouri Breaks. Conditions were very poor for elk hunting as the temps rose into the low 90s the whole weekend.
We soon found out that the elk were moving to bedding areas after only about 45 minutes of shooting light. This made it very difficult to locate and set up in front of the elk. With so many coulees and ridges for these elk to work up it was highly dependent on right place at the right time. Calling to these elk often sends them running and generally only allow you to locate and then hope to cut them off so the conditions were by no means excellent. The evening hunts were all but non-existent other than at most half an hour before dark. The high temperature and moderate hunting pressure kept them clammed up and bedded down.
To make matters worse about 300 head of elk were on the refuge all weekend and a solid half mile of vehicles showed up for the nightly elk show. The only upside was we got to see a bunch of bulls and got a few decent pictures.
Nonetheless we still had some action but it was pretty limited. Our good friend Bryce had a few bulls show up on game camera but he wasn’t able to seal the deal either.
During the day we did spend some time honing our skills on some wary prairie dogs and it was a good way to kill the long wait between morning and evening hunts. I smoke this guy at 52 yards.
We soon headed out empty handed and I won’t be filling my elk tag in the Breaks this year.
This weekend we’ll head home to Bigfork and see if we can’t get on some more elk. A couple small but shootable whitetail bucks are frequenting our stands and hopefully we can get something on the ground. The elk seem to be finally really rutting but only time will tell.
This year I drew a Missouri Breaks archery tag for units 620, 621, and 622. I’d never been there and had only heard of the big bulls, insanely bad mud, and possibly lots of hunters. We headed out Friday morning and got right into our 6 hour drive east.
Basically the country drops down from the mountains into great rolling flats and eventually turns into deep coulees that run about 3-5 miles down to the Missouri River. It’s open, lightly timbered country and despite being able to see for long distances the elk disappear just as easily as in a heavily timbered forest.
We got camp set up near our good friends Bryce and Tyler’s camper and met another hunter Mike who’s quite the character and a very funny dude. Around 5 we headed out and started hunting. About 45 minutes into our hike we smelled elk and immediately spotted them feeding up a small draw.
A small group was slowly feeding uphill and we spotted this nice bull bringing up the rear. We soon worked around the draw to cut them off.
As we got closer we could see around 15 elk bedded down. The herd bull kept to his feet but they never left that area during shooting light. The terrain only let us get to within 100 yards of the bull and we had to stay put till dark. Around 8 o’clock we backed out and hoped we could get back on them in the morning.
The next morning we got back into that creek bottom at dawn and soon heard a few bugles echoing across the valley.
We soon located a herd of 20-30 elk moving north up the draw. We were on the wrong side of the valley so we moved well ahead of them and tried to cross without the elk seeing us. We were closing the last 100 yards or so with the elk only about 300 yards away when they turned and started working up the hillside. If they would have just continued on they would have walked broadside to me at about 60 yards. Again we had to stay put until every last elk had made it out of sight.
So far this year we’ve seen or been on bulls every day we’ve hunted so it’s been easy to stay on your horse and keep chasing these buggers. We headed back to camp and meet up with the boys.
That night we had a close encounter with a bull in a timbered draw and got to have a stare off with a calf at 15 yards but again no luck.
Day 3 was full of hiking and not much for elk.
We saw a few spikes that morning and for the afternoon we decided to work a new ridge which spans about 20-30 square miles to give you a feel for the size of the country.
We only saw a small bachelor group of mule deer bucks. We got back in the truck and headed back to our morning spot to see if we could see or hear anything in the area. We saw a good 6×6 cross the bottom of a marsh right and sunset and we knew we’d have elk in the area come morning.
As soon as we got down into our spot the next morning we heard a few faint bugles.
We soon worked over a couple ridges and immediately heard a lot of cow talk and a bull bugling. They were headed up the ridge towards us and we set up. I had one shooting lane and the elk started working right through it. They were 60-70 yards away and soon the bull enter my lane. After a few more steps I let an arrow fly and heard a loud thwack. I new I had hit him and he ran off about 50 yards carrying his left front leg. I thought it was a perfect shot but he didn’t topple over immediately. He soon slowly walked off and across the draw and bedded down.
We soon retrieved my arrow which had been broken off about 8 inches up from the tip. I had hit him in the front shoulder blade. Considering he had bedded down I was hoping it was a fatal shot. About 3 hours later we slowly worked towards where he had been bedded. As we crossed the bottom of the draw we saw a coyote working up towards the bulls location. Whether that was coincidence or whether he had smelled blood and was looking for a meal we’ll never know, but as soon as we got up there the bull was gone and we saw and heard elk crashing up the hill. There was no blood trail and no blood where the elk had bedded. I had not gotten a bull. He’s still out there with a very sore shoulder but he’ll live. Well be back in a few weeks to hopefully seal the deal on a Missouri Breaks bull.
September 3rd would have to be one of my favorite days in my calendar. This date marks the beginning of archery season here in Montana. Zack and I headed to our hunting spot east of Missoula for a 3-day hunt in hopes of putting down a bull elk. We had plans of hunting out of our tree stands that we had previously set up. Zack and I are in the process of trying to film every hunt this year in hopes of catching some amazing HD footage of 2 college men who have a passion for the outdoors.
We arrrived at 1am September 3rd to get a nights rest and be up the following day at 5am to climb into our stand. The first day was cold for early September and stayed in the 30′s for much of the morning.
We were underdressed to say the least and spent the first morning shivering in our stands. The wallow we had been hunting was dried up and we didn’t see any action. We did however here our first bugles of the year! The bugles kept us motivated to stay in the stand throughout the day, but still no elk crossed our paths. We did have a blonde coyote creep silently to within 30yds of our stand, and we almost got a shot on him before he smelled something wasn’t right. Oh that coyote would have made a beautiful rug.
Right before sunset on opening day we heard more bugles and decided to make a last attempt at seeing some elk. We gathered our gear and headed towards the bugles. Zack decided to bugle along some dark timber and quickly had some cows respond, followed by a bull. I tried to move to go setup in case the bull was headed our way, but 5 steps later I saw a 4X4 starring right at me through some short trees. He quickly spooked and our hopes of a bull on opening day diminished.
The following morning was still very chilly and we dressed more appropriate for the conditions. I made the decision to give the treestand one last chance and we sat in the stand til noon, with nothing to show. After lunch we decided to hike through some areas we had heard bugles the night before. We quickly found some fresh scraps and hurdled over some dense log jams in some thick timber. We hiked for about 2.5 hrs without seeing or hearing an elk. Zack put out some more cow calls and with 30seconds we see a nice 5X5 cruising down a trail towards us. We setup in our only shooting lane, I range 40yds to the nearest tree and I draw back. The elk instantly stopped, only to have a large tree covering his vitals. Blown opportunity. Zack was thankful I didn’t kill the elk, for he forgot to hit record on the camera. It all happened so fast. I was kicking myself for not having my mouthcall ready to stop the elk where I had wanted him to. We hunted back to our camp without any trace of any bulls.
The morning of Day 3, we knew that we were going to get on a bull and hopefully have it down in the AM. We quickly set out to a short outcropping of trees that we had been hearing elk the previous 2 days. Right at sunrise we could hear a bull scrapping close buy. We do some cow calling, hoping the bull will come out of the dark timber. With no prevail the bull stayed in the timber, with no hopes of sneaking up on him. Time to move downhill to a bull we heard chuckle moments before. We soon made it to a logging road and heard some sticks breaking below us. We quickly made our way to a an opening and could see a large 4X4 feeding right towards us. We setup on the road, and 20minutes later the bull walks perfectly broadside 38yds away. I draw back…….
only to have my arrow drop to the ground! I didn’t seat my arrow nock deep enough! The bull ran off and so did my hopes of dropping a bull opening weekend. We were so close.. I am still sick to my stomach about the mistakes I made, only to learn and make improvements so they don’t happen again.
Here is a quick summary of our weekend and the event leading up to my arrow falling out of my rest.
Next weekend were off to the Missouri Breaks in an attempt to drop a 300 class bull for Zack. Should be exciting and action packed.
It has been almost a month since we set our game cams and its been obvious that the elk have been hitting our wallow. It was finally the day to set the stands and allow 2 weeks rest before getting in the stands for opening day.
Setting the stands took a little longer than expected, for we were setting two stands in the same tree so that we can film the hunt.
Planning where you put your pegs is a crucial part in setting stands and having easy in and out access.
Here is some of our most recent animals cruising by where our stand is set. Can’t wait til September 3rd!
Warm weather has been upon us here in western Montana. Zack and I decided to trek out and setup my game cam on a wallow we encountered last year. The road allowing close access has been washed out during runoff, so we had to manage a 4 mile hike to the money spot.
After 2.5 hours of hills, we finally made it to within 150yards of our destination, when I noticed a large 5X6 bull elk standing exactly where I planned on setting up the game camera. We were stoked after not seeing an elk all day.
Within the last 1000 yards of our hike back to the Dodge, I was excited to find the first elk shed of the year. Maybe we’ll get a chance to see that bull this year and hopefully he’s put on some growth.
Today we made it back up to our trail cameras which we had hung over a well used wallow.
Checking trail cameras is like a mini Christmas…. you just never know what your gonna get. We ended up getting pictures of 8 different bull elk, two bears, a hawk, a mule deer, and a coyote. Pretty cool for only having them up for 12 days.
After checking the cameras and doing a little more scouting we dropped by the Clark Fork and did battle with muddy water and hordes of mosquitoes. Even though it’s now August the water clarity on the Clark Fork is still poor and the water is still high. You better be wearing a mosquito net in certain areas otherwise you might not come out alive.
Overall we had a good day and we’ll be back out on the rivers soon. It’s 3 weeks till school starts and the summer’s flown by so it’s a couple weeks of fishing and then school and elk season.
Today my brother and I headed out towards our elk stomping grounds from last year. We decided to set one stand to see if we could call in a coyote and then sight in some rifles. It was good to get behind a rifle again even though a couple gophers would have felt different. After that we headed up to a wallow we discovered last year to set up a couple game cameras in hopes of getting some photos of some good bull elk. On the way we saw a nice 5×5 in velvet and already I wonder what the cameras have on them.
It was awesome to see a bull and here in a couple weeks we’ll be taking the photos off them and hopefully have some great pictures. Check out our edit from the day.