For 2012 we kicked off the hunting season with a few days of turkey hunting at the parents house. We got up bright and early to the sound of gobbling turkeys off in the distance. We made it down into a small clearing unnoticed and proceeded to get to calling. A few toms we’re headed our way but never got close enough for a quality shot with the bow, those dang turkeys! This was our first attempt at calling in a bird and we got real close. A bit of lack of experience and no decoy probably was our downfall, but we got to lay eyes on some toms and got them all fired up and strutting like champs. The second day out we were hoping our luck would swing, but the weather had other plans. Snow was falling and the birds were shut up and hunkered down in the woods. After that Travis and I spent the rest of the spring in the mountains chasing bears and never got another day of turkey hunting in. We decided to throw a short edit together from our short time spent chasing turkeys and we hope you enjoy it. Next year I can guarantee we’ll be back on the birds and this time I think we just might bag one or two. And again, for the best viewing pleasure please watch in HD with a pair of headphones.
Tomorrow were headed out to cast some line and hopefully lay into a few fish. We plan on getting some filming in and we’re crossing our fingers the fishing is good and we can have a little summer fishing edit up in the next week or two.
Spring in Montana. It brings beauty and beast to the western half of the state each and every year. Mostly it’s been beast. Since Travis killed his bear, we’ve been blasted with rain almost every day. The state of the weather flips on a dime it seems and the second you think the weather is shaping up, well think again. The conditions have been making my goal of arrowing a black bear more and more difficult. With the rain and longer days the grass is green almost everywhere, and it’s making the bears less and less reluctant to stay in the open for long. Fortunately we’ve still been getting after them and we have upped the bear count to 20 for the year with 7 seen in the last 7 days. Let’s just say seeing bears doesn’t convert into killing bears. Often they are a ways off and on the move. I could have killed at least 4 with a rifle, but the challenge of the bow makes it more intense and rewarding when it’s all said and done.
The weekend started slow as we left town and drove 30 miles into the mountains. We were able to glass one clearcut before the rain started coming down and hard. Soon we were fogged in and had to call it a day. It’s a bummer when you can’t even get out of the truck, but the mountains make the rules.
The next day we were in a spot we hadn’t hunted this year but knew held bears. We had ran into two last year doing some elk scouting and there was plenty of open landscape to glass. About 20 minutes in on our bike Travis made a crazy good spot. There was a good black bear crossing some rocks and moving up a north facing slope.
He was about 850 yards across a deep ravine. We watched him bed down right behind that tree and watched him for a while. He seemed to be staying put despite it only being 8AM. We decided we better try to locate him and try to get a shot. We backtracked on the bikes and went down into a steep ravine before climbing up onto the ridge the bear was bedded on. We had taken landmarks and knew we only had to go down this ridge about 100 yards. We slowly started creeping down the ridge. I knew we were getting close but it was thick. The wind was perfect, the only problem was we had a bunch of downfall between us and the bears position. Finally I saw black fur through the trees. He was still laying down and I could see his butt and legs. We were only 45 yards away, but there was no shot with all the branches and downed trees. There was no option of approaching him any other way and getting a clean shot so I kept sneaking forward. Every step was slow and we were being as quiet as we could be. Of course a chipmunk decided now was a good time to start screaming at us. That combined with one tiny, and I mean tiny twig breaking was enough to make this bear sleepily sit up. I could see him sitting there, groggy, and contemplating laying back down. Well his intuition had the better of him, and he slowly stood and walked back down and to our left. There was never a shot and we were only 37 yards away at that point. We slowly crept down the hill only to never see him again. It was a letdown but it felt great putting such a stalk on a mature wild animal. I truly believe this is the best way to hunt, and I hope you’ll never see us hunt from a treestand over bait. I feel that bears should be hunted fair chase, spot and stalk just like every other animal unless they become a problem or there’s zero open terrain to catch a bear in. It’s just seems like the American way to throw out your bait and sit there and pick your bear. You just learn so much more being out there, seeing new areas, learning about animal movements, and experiencing God’s country. It’s also going to be so rewarding when it comes together. We left that area and decided to explore some new roads on the other side of the highway. Well we made it way up in the mountains and decided to get some more time in with the new Razor HD spotting scope before the weather changed.
We found a few new areas that looked promising as far as bear hunting or some elk scouting but it’s still a little brown that high up and the snow is still sticking around. We both took turns on the scope but only found one lone cow elk bedded in a small cut in the timber.
We finally packed it up and head back to Missoula. After a couple hour break we were back up the mountain and glassing more open country. After about 20 minutes Travis made another solid spot. He could see a nice blond bear about a mile away. Ordinarily we would have gone after this bear right away. On this day we pulled the spotting scope out and took a closer look. Good thing because it was a sow and two cubs and it saved us a heck of a trek. We watched them until the weather began to change and we knew it was time to call it a day.
The next day we woke up at 545 only to find it raining and foggy. We’ll looks like we’re sleeping in. When I got up around 930 it was clear out and sunny. Uhhhhh ok Montana you win. Looks like you’ll let us hunt this evening. Well of course as we start heading out of town the clouds start building.
About 2 minutes into driving the dirt road it starts pouring rain. Soon it began to hail and we were surrounded by lightning. We decided to see if it would pass and reluctantly turned around as it was just too dangerous to get out of the truck. We rallied some mud puddles and made it about a mile down the road before we stopped to get a few timelapses. We’ll by the time we had finished some filming it was turning out to be pretty nice again. We figured we’d drive back up top and at least glass and see if we saw anything pop out of the timber.
We continued to glass for about an hour but only were able to spot one lone mule deer doe. The weather was shifting so much I’m sure most of the animals were seeking cover in the timber and waiting for nicer weather to really come out and feed.
Things aren’t shaping up to be too great the rest of the week. It’s raining now and the forecast is calling for 100% tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll be back at it again this weekend. It’s coming down to crunch time as this Thursday marks the one week mark until season is over and it’s officially summer fishing. I hope we can pull it together and get one more chance before it’s over. If not it’s been an amazing spring and time spent in the mountains is always a blessing.
We are extremely excited about our latest partnership with Vortex Optics! We’ve learned that quality optics is one of the biggest tools in being a successful hunter. We refuse to hunt with any of our friends if they’re not carrying at least binoculars. Yes its that important! We hunt some pretty rough country at times and we needed optics that were going to meet our needs in all conditions.
We will be testing the Viper HS Rifle scope this season. This low profile scope is going to see plenty of action on some coyotes this summer. The deadhold BDC reticle is sweet, and can’t wait to sight this long rang scope in.
Our binocular of choice is the Viper HD series from Vortex. Rugged, durable, and compact, these gems are going to be best friends of ours while hunting this year.
This is probably our favorite piece of gear at the moment. The Razor HD spotting scope! We have been hunting the past two years without one, and I can’t recall how many times this bad boy would have come in handy. Being able to size up bears, deer, and elk from a distance is very critical. You don’t want to hike 2 miles out of your way just to find out you were glassing a two year old deer.
The camera adapter for the Razor HD Digital Camera Adapter is a must if you carry a camera! We were finally able to test the camera adapter this morning on some elk we spotted bear hunting. The adapter attaches easy, and the clarity seemed spot on. We need some brighter conditions for better quality images but it looks nice so far. Keep in mind we were looking through the spotting scope in a downpour of rain at the time and the clarity is still great. Looking forward to capturing some sweet video and photos with this setup.
We’ve been out the past two mornings looking for bears, but the weather has not been very cooperative. The rain has been hitting the Missoula area hard, and there have been a ton of mountain clouds, cutting down clarity to 300 yards most of the time. We were able to spot a good sized bear yesterday morning, but by the time we got across the valley, he had disappeared. Our bear count is up to 16 and we are still trying to get Zack’s archery bear tag filled. As we test out our gear, we will be updating OUR GEAR page with reviews, photos, and specs on all the hunting products we are using this season. Vortex is coming out with a range finder (Ranger 1000) this summer, that we can’t wait to get our hands on. Be checking back for more in depth information on Vortex Optics in the near future!
Memorial Day weekend is always hit or miss in Montana. Well this year it was a big ole swing and a miss. If there was one good thing about the crappy weather though it was the fact that we were forced to stay home and glue our butts in front of the computer and do some long awaited editing. Two eight hour days and I’m glad to say were finished with our first short fishing film of the year. We should have that up here later this week so be checking back and we’ll also be releasing our 4th and final installment of hunting episodes from 2011.
Well by Monday we had the itch to get back after it and we geared up for a long day doing something in the great outdoors of Montana. We drove up into the mountains and headed off on a gated logging road in search of bears. We were in new country and sort of looking for sign and hoping the area was a good one. We ended up making it up to the snow line which probably wasn’t the best hunting strategy following a snow storm in the mountains. I think the weather had pushed everything down towards the valley but I wanted to check out a new area. We found some sign and a pretty solid area that we’ll definitely go back to as soon as the weather warms up and the bears start moving up to higher country.
We headed back to the truck and figured we’d kill the afternoon with some fly fishing. The water is still high and off colored and even the creeks are tough fishing but soon enough there was some tug in the line and a little fishy in the net. I led things off with a solid string of whitefish and couldn’t seem to trick the old trout but Travis finally warmed up and landed a few nice browns.
We ventured back to the truck and got back into hunt mode to finish off the holiday. We once again found a gated road and headed off on the bikes. This spring weather makes for some on and off showers that come and go like a ____________ (insert your own lolz here). It made for some beautiful scenery or some very gay bears in the area.
The video below was basically how we felt about it.
After that we kept hiking for another mile and a half but didn’t see much other than a lone cow elk. We cruised back and got to the bikes and loaded up. Of course it was all downhill and when your on a bike you can cruise pretty fast. Well just our luck about two minutes into biking back down the mountain we round a bend at about 20mph and there’s a cinnamon black bear feeding up the road. He saw us and went scorching back into the woods. We tried tricking him into making a second appearance with the distress call but he was a little too smart for that trickery. Of course we had the pleasure of seeing another rainbow right afterwards.
We figured it would be pretty unreal if we were to find a bear at the end of the rainbow. Like all such dreams we didn’t find a bear at the end and had to call it a day.
Sunday May 20th was our 11th day hunting black bears. Our plan was to backpack into one of our “go-to” bear hunting locations and camp for 3 days, not coming back until we had a bear down. We left the trailhead at 8am. From there we biked in 1.5miles, ditched the bikes and continued to hike another 1.5-2 miles to reach what we like to call “bear city”. The hike was not easy since we were packing enough gear for two hunters and all our camera equipment. On the way in Zack spotted a bear about 3/4 mile off feeding up into some thick timber. We decided to leave the bear alone for the morning and focus on setting up bear camp, since the bear was already on the move into thick timber. We also had the pleasure of picking the multiple ticks off our bodies before they decided to burrow into a nice section of skin. This country is very TICK heavy. Everyday we have been out hunting this location, we come back with at least 6+ ticks each…. Uh yeah, not fun. One day we counted over 25 ticks throughout the day.
With camp set, we headed in the general direction of the bear that we had spotted earlier. We got to a location within hearing distance of the bear and proceeded to do some distress calls to see if we could lure the furry fellow to us. No luck. We decided to glass some new country and ventured another 1.5 miles deep into the backcountry. We literally saw zero sign of black bears for the next two hours. We busted back to camp to rest during the heat of the day and hopefully glass the two drainages (bear city) during the final 3 hours of daylight.
After a two hour nap on the most comfortable, packable, and lightweight air mattresses that I have ever slept on (Thermarest Neo Air), we took a short hike to our glassing position for the evening. We sat for a good hour, with nothing to look at except a lonely bull moose feeding in the clearcut across the drainage. I decided we should loop the logging road around to where this moose was feeding, so we could at least get some footage of his new velvet horns, since we weren’t seeing any bear action.
Zack had captured some decent footage of the moose, before he picked up his binos and scanned the logging road where we had just been seated an half an hour earlier. Of course, Zack spots a bear feeding out of the creek bottom towards a logging road where we were just sitting! We pack up the camera and were off running, knowing it was a race against daylight.
We finally crept to within 200 yards of this bear’s location, but the bear had disappeared. I would have tried to get closer to where the bear was last spotted, but the wind was our biggest factor at the time and we risked being winded if we were to move any further down the old logging road. I quickly laid down on the camera pack that Zack put in front of me, this bear had to be somewhere! We waited for a good 2 minutes, thinking the bear may have made its way back into the thick brush in the creek bottom. Finally I spotted the bear making his way across the adjacent hillside! It looked to be a mature bear, so I took a good rest on the pack and ranged the bear…. 235 yards. I had practiced earlier this year for a 300 yards shot and knew I was capable of the scenario at hand. I attempted to line up my crosshairs, but between me being so shaky with adrenaline, winded from running, and the bear moving every couple seconds, I wasn’t presented with a clean shot. I finally told Zack he needed to stop the bear. Zack hit the distress call and the bear instantly came to a stop. It was facing uphill, quartering away, perfect. With the camera rolling I ripped off a round, but could feel I jumped on the trigger. I missed a couple inches right of the bear, but it stood motionless, shocked by the inertia from the bullet wizzing past. I quickly chambered another custom loaded 200 grain bullet. It was GO time. I focused, settled the crosshairs on the top of its back and made a smooth trigger pull. Bam!! The bear spun a 180 and quickly dropped. A clean kill, and I was pumped! I would have loved to put my 1st bear ever down with a bow, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity at this beautiful bear. Still shaking with adrenaline we quickly hiked to the bears location, hoping there was still enough daylight to capture some footage of this gorgeous bear. Upon examining the bear, I found out it was a sow…… the same sow that had the blazed white “v” on its chest that we had failed to stalk just a couple weeks ago!! This bear had a beautiful coat, thick and lush, but of course, full of ticks.
We quickly captured what we could in the lighting, tagged the bear, and proceeded with skinning the hide.
We made the voyage back to our truck around 1230am. Hiking out in the dark is no fun, I had my fair share of spills down the steep rock encrusted hillsides, and a bruised backside to remind me in the morning. I packed out Zack’s bear most of the way last year, so he paid me back the favor by packing mine out this year. That’s what brothers are for right? We left our bear camp for the following day. Another amazing hunt I’ll never forget. Bears are truly amazing creatures, but they do some serious damage on the fawns and elk in this area. 10 of the 12 bears that we have seen this year were spotted in “bear city”. We have seen more bears than deer this entire spring season, kinda scary. Not to mention Zack killed his bear last spring just two ridges over from where I put down my bear. I shot my bear on May 20, 2012, and Zack shot his black bear last year on May 21, 2011, must be something about this week in May. Zack and I have learned more than we could imagine about bear hunting this spring. The footage Zack captured has us very excited for our first webisode of 2012! We’ve worked our butts off this spring, and finally it paid off. Zack is still trying to get a bear with his bow, so we will still be looking for mature black bears. Updates in the near future, and hopefully we’ll be able to do some fly fishing!
Best of luck to everyone bear hunting! Its amazing what you’ll see in the wild with just a little extra effort. You never know what might be over that next ridge.
Travis and I have been getting after it this spring, and if you check in often you’ll see that we may just have put down a bear on film. Anyways it’s been an interesting spring around here. Its felt more like summer than spring at times and it helped those hillsides green up in no time.
After spotting our first two bears of the season it seemed we couldn’t go a day without spotting one. We had started mixing things up and were hunting the mornings hoping to catch them before they went back to the timber. We had went back up to an area that we know holds bears all spring and where we had failed an earlier stalk. Sure enough we round the corner that leads us to an overlook of a whole drainage and bam, bear spotted. We start moving up the logging road, because at this point were about a mile out still. As we get further up the road we stopped to glass again. Just our luck, it was a sow and two cubs. Man those little guys are cute.
We tried to go up and get closer to the sow to get some footage and actually spooked a bear right off the logging road. We didn’t find the sow and cubs and we hunted hard the rest of the day. We knew the area was holding bears, but we thought we’d let things cool down in the area before going back. On Saturday we loaded up the truck and headed to a new area west of town about an hour. We drove way up the mountain and were glassing clear cuts hoping to make out a bear. We’ll the only thing we found was big white truck that had beat us up the mountain that morning. We weren’t sure what he was up to but we knew any bear stupid enough to stay out in the open after this truck drove by was probably already dead. We turned around and went back to the tried and true method of hunting, gate hunting.
Chances are if you find a gate and go in a mile or two your bound to find more game than cruising the dirt roads. Our friend Adam had told us this could be a good area to bike into and glass the clear cuts, and we were more than happy to check it out. We had biked only about ten minutes when we rode up on some extremely fresh scat. We figured we’ll ride the trail another 1/4 mile and if we don’t see him on the logging road we’ll sit down and see if we can call him in with the distress call. Well about twenty minutes go by and we hadn’t seen anything so we took a seat on the edge of the road and I pulled out the trusty distress call. Now I figured if I call in a bear it’s probably gonna be a big one, and to be honest I didn’t think I actually would call a bear in. Well about five minutes in I see a brown head coming up the hill and its only about 40 yards away. A very pretty, chocolate colored black bear was coming in.
So this bear is at thirty yards and what do ya know, my bow is on my back. Good one idiot. So I start trying to size up this bear. I really was shooting for getting one with a bow unless it was a real toad and then I wouldn’t mind slinging some lead. Well this was a mature bear and had a perfect coat on it. To top it off it was in the sun at thirty yards on film. I finally decided I’d use the old thunderstick. Right as I look through the scope to take a shot the bear trots off about sixty yards into some downed trees and bushes. Dang it you idiot Zack! I throw out a few more distress calls hoping it will show up again and offer me a shot. I ask Travis if he can see it and he says he’s pretty sure it’s going to come up on the logging road. I start scrambling to get the bow off the backpack and an arrow nocked. Right as I get my bow off the bear comes out on the logging road looking right at me sitting in the middle of the road. I get an arrow nocked and range him at 52 yards. He’s still there looking at us and acting goofy. I figure he’ll come a little closer and at some point he’ll present a shot. Well right then he turns and starts walking away. A few whistles and he stopped and looked back. I figure he’s at 60 at this point and settle my pin in. I shoot and it slips right over the top of his back and he’s gone. Well that was a rush.
At this point I’m a little bit pissed off. I just had broke numerous rules I set for myself for the year. Number one and the biggest flaw was that I shot at an alert animal past 40-50 yards. Now depending on the animal this can fluctuate with it being the shortest for deer. After watching the footage I could see that old Yogi had dropped a solid foot before my arrow got there. Yes I’m a slow learner and no you won’t see that happen again. I am confident past 60 and just should have know that he wasn’t going to sit there and watch the arrow hit him. Second I rushed the shot. I knew the bear wasn’t going to hang around very long and I shot as my pin was rising up to my spot. I’m almost positive I shot higher than I had intended to because of this. These two factors led to a clean miss which I’m totally ok with. It’s amazing how hunting can go from nothing to an adrenaline fueled frenzy in a matter of moments. Things happen so quick it’s easy to forget the basics. If anyone has any ideas on how to practice for these situations please let me know because I can’t think of too many ways at the moment. Overall, it was an awesome day and one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Be sure to check back as there’s going to be more stories about bears and this time they’re coming home with us.
Our plan yesterday morning was to pack into one of our favorite bear spots to camp in the backcountry and hunt for 3 days. Travis dropped his very first bear during the last couple hours of daylight our first day there! We captured some amazing footage! This bear was the same blazed bear that Travis had tried to get earlier this year with his bow. The pack out went into the early hours this morning, but we’re back into the mountains today to try and put another bear down with Zack’s bow. Complete story in the near future. Our bear count is 11.
Zack and myself have spent 6 days now looking for black bears. This past Monday we headed to a new bear location Zack had pinpointed via internet maps. We passed multiple rednecks, doing who knows what, but probably attempting to shoot stuff off the road. We continued up a long dirt road until we got to a corner where we could see a couple large clearings about 1 mile away. Zack stopped the truck, we glassed…. Bam! I see a cinnamon bear with my eagle eyes. This bear was about a mile away feeding along what looked to be a logging road. It was tough to size up the bear from this far away, but we had no choice, we had to try and get a good look at our first bear of the year!
With no direct route to the bears location, we followed the road we were on currently until we hit 2-3 feet of snow. Once again there were some people drinking beer in the snow, doing apparently nothing. We unloaded our bikes, hoping we could walk our bikes over the snow until we hit the next south facing slope and continue to bike the logging road until we were within walking distance of the bear we spotted. The search started and we were sent off with some remarks from the two guys drinking beer– “you guys are crazy!”
We biked a good 400 yards after we got off the snowpack, to find out that there was more snow, and that the logging road was filled in with a bunch of 6 year old trees. Across the ravine we saw that the road looked to be in much better shape, so we continued to walk our bike until………. the road ended. Great! We could see another logging road 400 yards below us. We bushwacked down to the logging road with our bikes and continued biking around the next bend until……. the logging road ended again! Ok we were starting to walk ourselves into a miserable hike out. The snow was deep on these north facing slopes and apparently none of these longing roads connect anymore. To make a long story short, we ditched the bikes after walking them in for a 1.5 miles, hiked another 1.5 miles.
We found the cinnamon bear, but he was a little too small for our liking, but what’s hunting without an adventure? For all we knew that bear ‘could’ have been a monster of a bear (maybe next time). It was good to finally lay eyes on a bear, and we were in better physical shape then we were a day before. The hike out was not fun, specifically the part where we were carrying our bikes over our shoulders up a steep hill for 400 yards.
Our next hunting adventure was two days ago May 12th. We headed to our most popular bear hunting spot, this time with our mountain bikes. The access to the basin we hunt is limited, and the mountain bikes save us about 30 minutes of hiking for the first quarter of the trip into bear basin.
We hiked for another mile before we found some fresh bear scat that had to be no older than 24hrs. We continued walking until we got to a large clear cut. We sat down and picked the whole hillside apart. We didn’t see anything and I was ready to continue hiking, but Zack wanted to wait another 10 minutes and see if anything walked out…. Literally 1 minute later Zack spots a nice black bear! We sat and watched this mature bear for 5 minutes trying to pick out the direction it was going to move. The bear at one point stood up on its hind legs, and even at 1000 yards we could see it had a large white patch on its chest.
The bear was moving towards the dark timber, so we had to move fast. We started running around the long loop of logging roads, hoping we would get down the mountain in time to catch him before he made it into cover. We were running down the trail when we ran into another bear at 70yds! This was a year old bear and was feeding on some grass, we hunkered down on the road. Our wind switched, he smelled us and was gone into the woods. That was fine with us, we wanted to get on the bigger bear anyways, and we continued jogging down bear scat lane. Finally we made it to the clear cut where the bear had been feeding, but there was no sign of him. We sat down and waited. I saw some movement 150 yards from us along a lower logging road. I could have just grabbed the rifle and waited for the bear to walk into one of the openings in the trees, but he was in a prime spot to get him with a bow, so the stalk was on. The only problem was that we had to cross a fairly steep gravel bar to get on that logging road. Zack was short stepping down the gravel, when a branch he was using as a support broke! He slid 30 feet on his butt down the gravel bar, camera and all….. I see the bear run off. Game over. It was my choice to try and put a stalk in on this very mature bear, and its unfortunate we didn’t take advantage of our situation, but that’s how hunting goes. On to the next one! Were off to raft the Lochsa tomorrow! Should be a heck of a good time!
We told you that ever two weeks we’d be releasing another hunting video from 2011. Well true to our word we’ll be releasing Episode 2 – The Haggard Horns Buck later this week. Look for it to drop late this week on Friday or Saturday. Head over to our Facebook and if you haven’t already go ahead and [LIKE] us. Once you’ve done that then look for the post about Episode 2. [LIKE] that post and once we get ten or more likes we’ll randomly pick two people who will receive the password to the video. Who doesn’t like a sneak peak?
This episode is an awesome one as we follow Travis on opening day in the badlands of central Montana. We were able to capture some awesome footage of this rare velvet covered buck on opening day of rifle season.
On another note Travis and I have been hitting the mountains each weekend in search of those black fuzzy critters called bears.
So far the bears have been eluding us. We went back up into the mountains where I killed my bear last spring but the area seemed devoid of life. We didn’t spot up a single animal. The area was just starting to green up and we were out about three weeks earlier than last year so I think the area just needs a little more time before it’s a go in that area.
This weekend we hit up two different areas again in search of a bear. Unfortunately, things are still a little brown for my liking and the snow still has some melting to do in those upper elevations. We covered a lot of ground and only managed to find a smaller den that had recently been abandoned.
In my opinion “most” bears are probably out of the den by now. I think there’s definitely going to be more coming out in the next week or so and with the rain and warmer weather things should green up fast. I feel that most bears are lower in elevation right now, but unfortunately these areas are fairly dense and don’t allow much as far as glassing. We’ll wait for them to move up into the clear cuts and higher elevations where we can spot and stalk them much easier. Yesterday we again spent a lot of time looking through the glass at mile upon mile of timber and clear cut. We only spotted a few deer and one moose. It’s amazing how animals just pop out of nowhere when you sit and glass. We probably sat looking over a few square miles of clear cut for 20 minutes before we spotted a moose out in the open. You really have to pick apart every little area of land meticulously if your gonna do it right. I’ll be glad when the spotting scope shows up later this month. Until then we’ll be in the mountains getting in shape so when we do find a bear it will be game on. This week might be a little slow with rain and school but we’ll be really hitting things hard starting next week.
This weekend kicked off our 2012 hunting season here in Montana. We were searching for strutting turkeys, and hoping to arrow a delicious bird. After only a couple measly hours of sleep, we headed out the door. Zack would be hunting, while I was packing the camera for opening day. We spent no time hiking before we heard our first gobbler. Zack and I closed the distance, and set up amongst some trees. This was only my second time calling turkeys, so I was hoping the practice I’ve been doing recently would pay off. I scratched off some ‘yelps’ and quickly got responses from a couple toms. I exchanged turkey talk with the toms for about 10 minutes before I could see their heads pop out of some thick brush. At about 40 yards, they decided to hang up. I think they may have caught my movement as I attempted to shift the camera and focus.
They hung out strutting around, but they would not come any closer. Zack actually had an open shooting lane at one point, but I didn’t have a clear view with the camera. I think a turkey decoy would have come in handy at this point. They started to move away from us along the tree line, and popped out another 100 yards away from us and began to strut once again as I attempted some yelps and clucks.
At one point I actually lured one of the toms back to within 50 yards, but still hid amongst the brush. Without a decoy they just weren’t tempted to leave the brush line without setting their sights on another bird. Most of the toms made their way towards some private property, while a lonely hen made her way behind us to about 80 yards. We had blown our best opportunity of the weekend, and decided to switch up locations. In the afternoon, we called four hens in, but no toms and that ended our opening day of spring turkey season.
We woke the following morning to snow. Great, not! I wasn’t really sure what turkeys do when it snows, but we found out that they don’t talk very much apparently. We made multiple stands where we thought the turkeys had been roosting and feeding, but with no response. The snow was getting worse and the camera was begging to be dried off. We ended up calling it a day.
In my eyes the opening weekend was a success, we found turkeys and had some close opportunities. Our main focus for the remainder of the spring season is to get a couple western Montana black bears on the ground. I’m heading out tomorrow to try and locate some bears, and maybe even attempt a solo film job if a bear presents himself. Stay tuned for more bear/turkey hunting action!
Well with work, school, and trying to get the bows dialed in, we didn’t get this video out quite as soon as we would have like but better late then never. Take a look as we prep the bows for the big game season here in Montana. Tomorrow we’re headed home to chase some turkeys and after that we’ll be getting up into the mountains in search of a mature black bear. Watch the video, get stoked, and get out there!
Montana Wild is proud to announce that we have teamed up with Bear Archery and Trophy Ridge for the 2012 season! I have developed a relationship with Bear Archery for the entirety of my bowhunting career. My first bow was the Bear Assualt, which brought me my very first bow kill, and got me hooked on the sport of bow hunting. All I know is Bear, and I am very excited to continue into 2012 as part of the Bear Nation.
Our first day shooting the Anarchy was in inclement weather. We had a steady rain, wind, and colder temps, but weather is not always sunny for a bowhunter and we weren’t going to let a little weather rain on our parade. Most guys would have stayed in because they don’t want to get their new bow wet. Not us, we expect the most from our equipment because you never know what the conditions might be when you chasing that trophy of a lifetime. We have put over 150 arrows through the Anarchy over the past 3 days, and I must say I am impressed. The Anarchy was very stable, regardless of the gusting winds, and felt very dead-in-hand upon release.
We have mostly been just getting comfortable with the new bows and have been shooting mostly inside the house. We will have more feedback and info in the near future along with some pre-season videos. Make sure to check out our gear page in the next couple weeks for a complete review and specs on our hunting gear for 2012. Tomorrow we are heading back to the Five Valleys Archery range to start sighting everything in. Only 16 more days til opening day for bear/turkey season here in Montana and we are really going to be busy from now til then. One of our goals for this spring is to get a turkey on film with a bow. We also will be putting in the miles chasing black bears. We hope to get one if not two with our new Anarchy’s. The word on the street is that some are already out so we should be able to hit the ground running once April 15th rolls around. We will be filming everyday we get out and we hope to capture some amazing footage and stories. Our 2011 hunts will be showing up online sometime in mid-May so be sure to check back for those.
Big thanks to Jason over at Bear Archery. It’s great when people can respect what you do, see the potential that we have, and want to invest in us.
The fishing has been hot as of recently. February has been an amazing month here in Montana, not for skiing, but for fishing. Zack and I headed back out to the rivers on President’s Day to try and capture some more footage for a fly fishing film project we have in the works. Don’t ask about it, because we won’t tell you.
The first hole of the day started out in the ghetto (you’ll know what I mean when you see the film project). I hooked into a stunning cutbow that sent my drag humming. The fish have been spunky as of recently, which makes every hookup interesting. Zack captured everything from an eagle’s vantage point.
The rest of the morning I pulled in 4-5 more rainbows and cutthroats. Unfortunately I lost what was the biggest fish of the day, not sure what happpened. Zack was the filmer today, and I let him have a go at one hole that I couldn’t seem to catch a fish out of. Zack proceeded to land a 14in cutthroat first cast. I quickly told him to get back behind the camera, and stop making me look bad! Our goal for the day was to explore new areas that we haven’t fished, so we moved on to a new spot for the afternoon adventure in the snowy conditions.
I had about a 2hour period of no fish hookups, but I did lose a handful of nymphs and streamers. I did end on a good note though. I finally caught fire again and pulled in five more fish to finish off the day. Nothing beats a winter day fishing in Montana. I enjoy having freezing cold hands, as long as I can catch fish.
Here is the latest of our hunting edits. Zack did an amazing job filming and editing the footage. Check it out! More awesome hunting edits in the near future!
We started up the truck and finished grabbing our gear. Camo on, calls ready, and a full clip of V-max bullets. It was day one of a three day trip to North Central Montana to become the hunted. We would be calling coyotes in open coulee country in hopes of capturing some sweet winter hunting.
That first morning we got to our second stand only to spook a coyote just as we were pulling up to park adjacent to a deep coulee. We called that stand but drew a blank. Over the course of the next few stands we had one hang up at 700 yards that didn’t come in and another that we spooked walking into a promising stand. A little discouraged with the conditions we headed to a spot that has produced in the past. Sure enough after about 4 minutes of calling we saw a coyote charging to our left at about 400 yards. Before we could swing the camera and shooters into position we lost sight off him.
I knew as he would get closer he would catch our wind before popping back up into sight of Tyler and Travis. Sure enough about 2 minutes later we saw him running in the other direction. Running away over numerous finger shaped ridges left us no chances at a shot. We finished that evening with no luck and looked forward to the next day.
Well all I can say about day 2 is WIND. All caps because it was so damned windy we couldn’t even think about calling. Wind speeds were around 30mph and gusts of 50mph were common. Combine that with a windchill of 15-20 below and let’s just say we bought a case of beer and watched some football to pass the time. Forecasts for the following day were ideal. They were calling for no wind and a daytime temperature of 4 degrees.
Day 3 found us up early and chomping at the bit. Conditions were ideal and we quickly got set up on our first stand. We called a long coulee full of dead cottonwoods and sage but never had any takers. Over the course of the next 6 stands we sat some beautiful spots but never saw a dog. We new something was up. Either the area had been hit hard by hunters on ATV’s or planes or the coyotes had moved down into the valley were the livestock and game was herded up. Sure enough our first stand back down in the valley was a winner. We set up to call at the end of a couple coulees that dumped into a prairie dog town. After 10 minutes and just as Tyler was about to shoot a rock, Travis made a good spot on a dog standing on a ridge at 260 yards. Travis was in search of his first coyote but couldn’t get repositioned quick enough. Tyler made a quick shot with his AR-15 and dropped our first coyote of the day.
The next stand we switched up the call after about 7 minutes. A few minutes later we stood up after not seeing anything and sure enough right behind us was a coyote. He quickly spotted us and took off. I turned the Nikon back on, switched to live view, and got focused. This took place over the course of literally a few seconds, and just as I said I was on him Travis lit off a round. The coyote dropped and Travis had his first coyote out of the way. He made a quick shot on a running coyote at around 150 yards to top it off.
After checking out the second unlucky coyote of the day we walked another 800 yards and set up again. Again, after about 7-8 minutes of calling I spotted a coyote walking up the bottom of a draw. By the time I got the guys on him he disappeared into the sage. We looked and glassed for 5 minutes but couldn’t see him. We figured he had a den there and had went into it. We had Travis stand up to see if he was still down there and would spook. We saw nothing and of course as we all stood I spotted him begin to walk off in the same spot we thought he had disappeared in. Within seconds I was on him with the camera and Travis made another great moving shot at 300 yards.
We followed this up with another stand just another 700 yards away. We had a coyote coming in at about 600 yards but he was spooked by a small herd of mule deer. We had spooked these deer on the way in and our chances at 4 in a row were gone. We headed back to the truck to relocate to a new location.
We gassed up the Ford, filled up our bellies with a hearty gas station meal, and left to finish our day off strong. After pulling off the highway we drove a half mile down into a vast open drainage spotted with sagebrush. We quickly got setup and started wailing on the distress call. Soon Travis had 3 coyotes spotted coming in from our right. As the coyotes neared us I had 2 of them in the frame on the Nikon, and I tried to communicate to both shooters which coyote to take. The coyotes wouldn’t stop running in and disappeared behind a small ridge. Soon one popped up at 150 yards and stopped. I was on him and Tyler squeezed off a round. A burst of dust and the coyote was charging away. Tyler narrowly missed him as he dodged and weaved his way out through the bottom. We all were amped up even though we were leaving empty handed.
Lets just say we were definitely heating up after a rough morning. To make a long story short, on our next stand we convinced a territorial female to come within range after 20+ minutes of calling. We used 2 distress calls, howls, barks, and pup distress. She even ate a field mouse seconds before Travis dropped her.
With 4 coyotes on the day we decided to wrap it up with one last stand. We were able to spot 2 coyotes out at 800 yards, but they just wouldn’t cooperate. We think they had spotted us walking in. We were able to coerce one into starting to circle downwind, but with light fading we couldn’t bring him in close enough. We had an awesome day though. Overall we saw 15 coyotes that day. We called 7 into range and killed 4. At the end of it all it turned into a very worthwhile trip. I was able to capture Tyler and Travis over the course of those 3 days and get all 4 kills on film so throw on the headphones, make sure it’s in HD and enjoy!!!
I hope you guys enjoyed the video and we look forward to creating more soon.