Hunting the Hi-Line
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.