We’ve been slacking a bit on fresh content on the website, but it’s not for lack of effort. A few days of fishing haven’t stirred up much, and we decided to take a little break from the Missoula scene and head home for a few. We loaded up our growing pile of gear and headed north. We soon made it to our parents house located on the beautiful Flathead lake.
The first day ended up being the nicest of the four, and we fortunately were able to head down to the lake and enjoy the summer weather. Our German Sheppard Max, is just learning to swim and his form is beyond poor most of the time. His ambition for the water is second to none though. We were hoping to share his unique swimming technique, but the weather never allowed us to get back down to the lake with the camera. The weather quickly decided to change as it does on those hot dog days of summer and thunderstorms rolled in and out most every night.
When it pours in really pours. We got about an inch of rain during a half an hour fit of weather. Things of course cleared back up nicely as the sun set, and we got ready for the next day which would be filled with plenty of elk scouting.
The next morning we left the house bright and early and got comfortable in the truck. About ten miles into our drive off the highway we encountered a big downed log over the road. Apparently the strong winds that accompanied the rain from the previous night did some work on this tree. We were a bit bummed, but decided to head home and grab the chainsaws and come back and clear things out. On the way down we saw a forest service truck headed up the mountain, and despite my words of wisdom, Travis decided against flagging him down and seeing if he was clearing roads that day. Of course after heading back and getting the saws, we once again returned to the spot where the tree was down, and it had been conveniently cut down by the forest ranger. Zack 1 Travis 0. Soon we were at our spot, and off we went into the jungle like terrain. We had plans to set up two game cameras after last season left us with a feeling that this spot might hold a good bull or two. Sure enough there were fresh elk tracks along the game trail we planned to set the first camera on.
After searching for a tree that was small enough to accomodate my Moultrie M80, we got to work setting up the first camera of the day.
After testing a couple angles, we finally got things set up to maximize quality pictures and locked her up. The terrain in this area is extremely dense. It’s literally a battle to wander off this main game trail. The bushes are overhead, and things get tight and dense real quick. This is by far the best trail we’ve found in the area, and we hope to get a good idea of what’s hanging in this spot from just this one camera. Even though we both have Breaks tags it’s always good to keep tabs on some local hunting grounds, you never know when a big bull might show up and at the very worst it’s some quality scouting for next fall when I will be looking to tag my elk in the dark timber of western Montana.
We packed up and made a big loop into some territory we had yet to explore. We found a nice big north facing slope full of dark downfall. This area would make a great bedroom for a big bull during the fall. I’m sure we’ll be cold calling this area once or twice next time we hunt the area. We finally located another trail to set up our second camera and got to work. Some serious bush pruning was due to keep the bushes from growing in front of the camera during the following months. After about a half an hour we had camera two set up, and we were back to the trail on and on the way to the truck.
As we were walking back up the logging road Travis spotted a young blonde black bear feeding off the side of the road. He was young and stupid, and we were able to get fairly close to him and watch as he fed for over half an hour.
We kept sneaking closer and closer as he fed around a small bend in the road. After about twenty minutes we had closed the gap to 60 yards. We were in plain view on the side of the road, and I’m surprised it took him so long to finally see us. When he did he reverted to his cub like instincts and ran as fast as he could to the nearest tree and clung.
After a minute he decided to back down to the ground. We snuck up to the tree only to see him pop out on the road about a hundred yards up the road. He then decided running away was a bit better tactic and that was the last we saw of him. We weren’t done seeing bears yet. After getting in the truck we had only driven about a mile when a small black bear showed up on the road only a hundred yards in front of the truck. He went screaming off into the timber. Another half mile down the road and we again saw a chocolate phased bear feeding in the road. He decided to run down the road. Man those bears can truck, and he dipped back into the woods in the tightest spot possible. I don’t even know how he squeezed back into the woods at that speed but he did. We cruised back home and cracked open some fresh beers. The next day was again less than stellar weather.
I decided that this day would be a good day to get a whole slew of bullets made for the upcoming hunting season. I set up our .223 die and press and got about 60 rounds loaded. Next was the 6×284, and I loaded up 40 of those with a 75 grain V Max. The two main hunting rigs are sighted in and ready to rip.
As is the usual, the weather finally began to turn nice just as we headed home to work. I hope everyone had a great fourth of July and hopefully some fish will start popping up on the site soon.