Busy seems to be our go to word recently, but its tough to put it any other way. After Stan’s bear we headed back into the mountains for 1 & 1/2 days. Since Stan had tagged out, I had a couple days to hunt with Zack. I decided to check out a new area and that morning we found ourselves climbing up a steep ridge through the fog.
As soon as we crested the steep ridge and made our way along one of the old logging roads, I had spotted a black figure below us. A large black bear was feeding on the lush grass below. We made it to 100yards of this bear, waiting for the bruin to feed along the road to our position. The bear different plans and bumped off the road and bedded down in a thick patch of trees below.
That evening we attempted to relocate the large black bear. While waiting for the large bear Zack spotted another bear in the distance. We watch the bear settle into some dark timber and bed down. We setup our spotting scope and located the bedded bear in the trees. I decided to put in a stalk and hope the wind would hold its current direction. Zack and I snuck to 30 yards of the sleeping ball of fur. I ranged the bear, and came to full draw as the bear stood. Too small. The bear was tough to judge while sleeping, but now that the bear was standing I knew it was too young for my arrow.
That night we glassed until dark, not seeing the big boar we were after. The next morning I inhaled my granola breakfast, anxious to glass the grassy roads just over the ridge. Almost like clockwork I spotted the bear directly on the old logging road where I had stalked the smaller bear the evening before.
We were having some issues putting together a game plan on how we were going to get close to this bear. The wind was going to be blowing directly towards the bear from the only location we could get a shot at the bear. We decided to work to a better vantage point and see if the thermals would change. The bear worked behind a group of trees, and I took my eyes off the bear to close the distance. Next thing I know, I can’t find the bear anywhere! So frustrating, I sat there in disbelief. The bear had to have seen or smelled me. Blackie was gone for good and it was time to head back down the mountain to prepare for Zack’s upcoming bear hunt.
It has started, Zack’s road to redemption. He will arrow a nice bear this spring, and he has been almost too close for comfort. We will have a full blog post of Zack’s spring bear hunt, but here is a quick rundown on what we have been experiencing. We picked our location, grabbed our cameras, packed our Mystery Ranch packs and loaded our bikes. Oh wait…. My bike got stolen, lock cut off and all two days before leaving on our trip. Karma is a b*&$% and whoever took it is hopefully enjoying my Specialized mountain bike. Thankfully I have great friends that loaned me a bike for my trip.
We spotted 8 bears on the trip, 1 blonde, 4 chocolate, and 3 black. Zack got full draw on three bears, two were passed up because they were too small. One monster black bear was called into a fawn decoy at 25 yards within 3 minutes!! It was amazing seeing a black bear full on sprint to a decoy, only to not present Zack with enough time for a shot. Can’t wait for the footage to come out in 2014. We are excited and anxious to get back out there.
After experiencing a broken water filter, along with 80 degree temperatures, we decided that melting snow for our water intake was not going to be our best option to survive the backcountry. We made one last attempt to locate a mature black bear, but the temperatures had the bear activity to a minimum. We shortly thereafter received the memo that the Snowy Mountain Rifle 300WSM was finished and ready for test firing. Making our way back to town, we were anxious to check out the finished rifle.
The guys over there at Snowy Mountain did an outstanding job on the 300wsm! One of the best looking long range hunting rifles I have ever seen. The day had finally arrived. Sighting in the new long-range cannon.
The rifle blistered the targets downrange! Tight groups, sniper optics, jewel trigger, alongside the lightest kick I have ever felt from a large caliber rifle, made this one sweet rifle. We will have a full write up and permanent page with the specifics on the custom SMR 300wsm in the near future.
We will be back in the mountains soon. Zack is still looking to arrow a mature bear after four encounters at 30yards or less. Have a great Memorial weekend!
Missoula is an amazing place to live. There are very few cities where you have access to multiple fisheries within 30 miles of your home and actually would want to live. Warm sun and rising temps have been making their occasional appearance, and with this year’s early signs of spring comes amazing fishing.
Zack and I have been busier than usual, not allowing us to get many days on the water. Between school, work, and planning some big projects, we are lucky if we make it to the river once a week. Although our days have been minimal, we have managed to land more big fish than ever before. I myself am having a record book year, landing 3 of my biggest rainbows to date. Our latest day on the water took us to the frigid waters of the west, and would be our first day testing some newly acquired gear.
We had just gotten a few fine products in the mail and we’re excited to break them in right. The Yeti Tundra 50 was full of the goods; beer, sandwiches, and cookies. After a mildly sketch drive to our location we saw the river and our emotions began to rise. Today would be the first day for us to break out the new rods and reels from Orvis and see if we could show them a good time on some of Montana’s finest waters. We put together the Helios 2 rods in weights 5 and 7 and pulled out a couple sexy Mirage reels. We’re not the kind of guys to get too picky over how nice or good looking our setups are as apparent by looking at Zack’s old Echo rod and Ross reel but damn these two Orvis setups look good. Function is priority number one and we quickly waded across to the far bank so we could get to casting. I had the 5 wt. with a double nymph setup and Zack was below me in the run with the 7wt and a streamer. On my second cast I saw my indicator dip and I was hooked up with a 26 inch rainbow. Yes, you read it correctly. My first hole, second cast with the new fly rod, and I was listening to the Mirage reel scream as I got bent over by a monster rainbow. Did I mention Zack hooked into a nice brown trout seconds later on a streamer? We were doubled-up and the circus had started. Zack managed to fight his brown trout and net my monster rainbow all at the same time! Crazy is right. Below is a sequence that Stan shot of the madness that went down.
^ Click for larger sequence ^
Zack managed to net my rainbow while still fighting a spunky brown. After a quick holler, I grabbed the net and quickly scooped up his seemingly small brown trout.
It was definitely a surreal moment. We quickly snapped a few photos of the two trout and sent the brown back on his way. It was time to pull the big boy out and preserve what may be my biggest rainbow for a long time.
He was a fine specimen and I felt truly blessed to catch such an awesome fish. Again this is another reason I love Montana, you really can catch steelhead here haha. We were off to a great start, and we didn’t stop hammering fish. The following photos speak for themselves.
To summarize our March day of fishing in one word, it would be stupefying. We brought a wheel barrow full of different trout species to the Larkin Works net (rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and bull trout).
The next day we received our new HDSLR. I don’t like to talk about it, but a couple weeks ago I dropped our at the time brand spanking new camera. The body cracked, but fortunately we had insurance. The bad thing is I had to send out our camera and we won’t be seeing it for over a month. We have some badass projects in the works over the next two months, and with no choice, I had to go broke funding another camera. Oh well, the investment continues. The next morning Zack and myself headed out for an early morning fishing/photo trip. We had to test out the new Nikon and see if the mojo surrounding the new rods and reels was as good as it seemed.
The temperature read 19 degrees as we left the truck. It was frigid and freezing and we had left our gloves at home. After about a half hour it appeared that some mojo still remained as I managed to hook a fat football of a rainbow. He was chunky and spunky, and gave our new camera the test we were looking for regardless of poor lighting conditions. We packed up our frozen streamers and headed back to Missoula, to slave away at another night of work.
Overall I can say I love the new rods and reels from Orvis. I never really thought a high-end setup would be worth the money that they often cost but I can say I was wrong. The way they cast is in another league and helps you get the fly in the right spot more often and a lot more easily. We’ll continue to try to sneak out over the coming weeks so we’ll have more photos and blog posts coming at you soon! Fishing is just starting to get HOT. We have a handful of awesome projects/films planned for this year. I cannot tell you how excited I am for 2013. God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.
Once a year you have a birthday. Yes, it’s just another day, but it’s always something you have to try to take advantage of and for Travis’ 24th we decided to spend the afternoon out on the river. The weather had stayed relatively warm, and we looked forward to a solid afternoon of hammering fish. Of course the thawing temps made for a slightly tricky and muddy drive into our location, but the tougher a spot is to get to the better the fishing.
As we geared up Travis decided that throwing up some birthday gang signs was the best way to let us know he was here to ruthlessly hassle fish all day.
After a couple fishless holes we finally got on track as Travis shined in true birthday form with a nice rainbrown.
Following a short fight Travis had his first trout in the net. It was a good looking fish, but there were more to catch and we pushed upstream.
Over the course of the next hour the fishing continued to progressively get better. Multiple fish were hooked from the same hole and even a birthday double was had by Travis and Stan.
Finally we reached a big deep hole that I had discovered last spring. It’s the perfect water for fish to hold in year round and the size and depth always makes it interesting to see what you can pull out of it. After a couple minutes of discussion and a few Pop Tarts, it was decided we would have a friendly fish off. Six casts and then on to the next person. I was up first. After five casts I finally remembered where I needed my fly to be and made my last cast. Mid-drift and my bobber (man that word sucks) disappeared. With the hookset of a bass fisherman, I had a nice rainbow locked up on the end of my line.
After a short fight I landed him and made sure he got his photo taken so all his fish buddies could see him on the internet.
Up next was the birthday boy. He proceeded to crip walk into the hole and hammer an even larger fish. Damn Birthdays.
That was the last good fish of the day and fittingly Travis had begun and ended our day on the river. It was a great day to spend with friends and a birthday that will be tough to top next year. We’ll be dropping a short fly fishing film soon that we filmed back on the 7th so be checking in. If you haven’t already be sure to give us a [LIKE] over on Facebook.
Well things have been pretty crazy and hectic around the house lately. We’ve been planning our most extensive fishing trip we’ve ever went on. We’re heading into the Wilderness of Northwest Montana for six whole days in search of wild cutthroat trout and the elusive bull trout. On top of that we’ve been setting game cameras and getting the bows dialed in for season. Throw in work, some video editing, and a whole slew of other activities and times a flying. On Friday we made it out to test a couple rods that we had set up to chase bull trout with. Dan at Grizzly Hackle was nice enough to work with us on this project and get us set up to swing some junk in front of some bull trout this next week. We decided to get on some water on the lower Blackfoot and toss a few to get used to these big rods. First cast and I had a chunky little cutt on the end of my line.
We soon picked up and moved up river a bit. Travis and I found some open water and started to find our grooves with the new setups.
I landed a few, and we missed a couple, but I feel better now about getting into the groove right away on our trip. Hopefully we can find some bullies and trick them into clobbering our big streamers.
We followed this up by hitting the hills on Saturday and picking up a couple of game cameras that we have had up for a little over a month now. We crawled up a gnarly road into our spot and began picking our way through the forest. As soon as we made it off the dirt road we were more than impressed with how well the Optifade blended into the surroundings. The Open Country pattern works amazing in a wide variety of habitats, and I was a bit skeptical at how it would blend into the darker green timber. The pattern matches the color of the trees so well that it’s actually extremely effective, and I already feel more confident as a hunter with this camo. If you want some of the best designed hunting gear be sure to check out sitkagear.com for more.
We had left this camera unlocked and when we made it to the camera the cable had been gnawed on and the camera was crooked. We found the culprit after we reviewed the photos.
We kept scrolling through and saw a lot of 1-3 year old bulls. We had a couple good ones swing through but no giants.
This bull was the largest we got on the camera in this location. Unfortunately it’s a bit blurry, but he’s a good 6×6 and a definite shooter.
Another pretty decent bull for the area showing up on the 23rd. If only his top ends would grow out a bit. With the hot weather the wallow was dry. Last year it wasn’t dry until the end of July so I’m hoping we can see some rain soon that will keep this area good and wet. We decided to pull this camera and get back and shoot the bows a bit in a real world setting. It’s always good to get out and shoot in the woods before season just to get that mental imagery in your head.
After some arrow flinging we picked things up and moved on to our second spot. After an hour drive and a stop for some ice cream we finally were parked and ready to set out for camera #2.
We found a good number of rubs on the way in and got a bunch of solid footage for a new scouting short that should be out in a few weeks. Hopefully it will get you stoked to get back into the elk woods.
After some delays to get a few shots, we finally made it to our other Moultrie which was set over a small water hole.
This was the first time we had set a camera in this area. It’s always interesting to go check a camera in a new area. You hope that your camera is going to have a good number of photos and some cool animals captured on the card. We were lucky enough to see that it had taken 290 photos in just a months time.
We pulled the card and fired up the Mac.
Soon enough we had a few good bulls showing up on the camera.
This was a cool looking bull with solid character in his left G2.
We had a couple moose drop by for a drink.
Finally we had a group of five bulls swing by. A couple of these bulls are shooters just based off the character of their headgear. Speaking of wild headgear, just two day before we checked this camera we had one of the most unique bulls we’ve seen drop by.
One things apparent, he has something wild growing off the right side of his face. It’s hard to tell if it’s part of his antler or some weird growth. Either way he’s a crazy looking bull.
Overall the day was a success. We checked two cameras, shot the bows in the woods, and filmed a short video. We have some backup bulls to chase if the Breaks don’t work out according to plan. Tomorrow we head deep into the wild and will be fishing for wild, native trout for six days. The cameras gonna be rolling and we hope we can capture some great footage for you guys.
Here’s our first summer fly fishing video. After runoff we’ve been doing a decent amount of fishing, but just haven’t really had good enough fishing to justify taking the time to try to film an edit. On Sunday I decided that summer just doesn’t last as long as you ever hope and that the camera was coming out. Travis and I headed up to a small creek in the Blackfoot Valley and got ready for an afternoon on the water. This is what we came up with. Watch in HD you fishin fools!
Here’s the link to our original write up on the afternoon – Creekside
I’m sure we’ll be filming again soon enough, and we hope to have more summer fishing up soon to keep the stoke alive.
Sun, fishing, and beer. They all go together real well. Maybe throw in a few other items of choice, and it’s hard to beat a good summer day in Montana. Recently Travis and I decided to hit up some smaller water and see if we could find a trout to snipe. No sooner had we pulled into our parking spot and there were already fish rising within sight. We tied on some tiny dries and started wading upstream. After failing to connect on a few rising fish we soon moved to the next bend and sat and waited to see the next nose break the surface. After 15 minutes of imagining rising fish, the silence was broken by a wild thrash on the surface. A few minutes later and another hit. We had a target. After about 6 casts he took my green drake, and immediately I knew I had a nice slab on the other end. After a few jumps and a long stay on the bottom, Travis netted my largest brown and on a dry to boot.
I was pumped up. To top it off the camera was rolling, and I think we got some quality footage. He definitely filled the net up and it was difficult to even grab him with one hand. It’s been a very long time since I’ve landed a fish over 18″ (the Missouri doesn’t count) on a dry. Last summer seemed to sneer in our faces as we struggled to find any solid fish during the summer months. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come this summer.
We’ll be back home on the lake for the weekend and no fishing is planned for a little while but we’ll be back after it soon enough. We’re banking on the fishing really being off the charts in a few weeks and we plan on getting out with the camera and hopefully cranking out an edit in the near future.
It’s spring break and of course the weather could be better. Yep it’s spring in Montana. Saturday we had a mellow day and went up to the Deep Creek Range to shoot the rifles.
We had some new loads to fire through the 6×284 and the .300 Win Mag. Both rifles were on point with some minor adjustments. Let’s say we’re very deadly at 300 and anything bigger than a coyote should be very scared at 500. If worst comes to worst the .300 will have to do some bear damage again this spring but let’s hope we can get up close and personal with the bows.
Today we decided to attempt to fish despite all the rivers spiking up in flows. We went up on the Bitteroot and found dirty, but fishable water. Travis has been tying up some streamers and he wanted to give them a go. About an hour into the day he hooked up on a nice brown with an freshly tied streamer.
I had a large rainbow snap a nymph off and then proceed to jump out of the water to taunt me. Travis lost a big one, and I missed a few nibbles on the streamer rig. We fished till about 4 and decided to call it a day. Unless your really itching to fish I’d stay home and do other things. Once the flows start to drop, which is a big if right now, the fishing should heat up again. Only saw 2 skwallas and there wasn’t much for any type of bug activity on top. We’ll be heading to the Mo tomorrow for a two day fish trip and I can already predict that there will be lots of photos and video to come from the trip. Check back soon and until then “carpe diem.”
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.
Finally some video is showing up here at Montana Wild. Check out the teaser for our 1st short film of the year, CONTRAST!
It took more time than I could have ever anticipated to sort and organize all of the footage we have captured for this short film (over 40 hours of HD footage). This piece contains our highest quality cinematography to date and this is only a tease of what’s to come. It is insane how much you learn everyday about filming and editing! CONTRAST is set to showcase a single river in Montana, which we fished over the course of the late winter and early spring of this year. We didn’t write a script or set out with a direction in mind for this project, we just fished and filmed. We were able to catch 5 species of fish and have a number of great hook-ups to show. It’s going to be a daunting task to sort through all the footage and piece something together that is captivating and unique. We should start editing shortly and hope to release this in it’s entirety by the end of April.
Montana Wild has recently teamed up with the Montana based company Ripcord, maker of the #1 fall-away rest. Zack and I have had great results with Ripcord in our past bow ventures and are very excited to have such a reliable rest on our bows for 2012.
The Ripcord Code Red is one of the most highly acclaimed fall-away rests on the market. With no bounce back and full arrow containment, its tough to beat Ripcord. If you’d like to know more head on over to the Ripcord website and check them out.
The bows should be showing up on Friday and soon enough we’ll be set up, sighted in and ready to hunt.
Yesterday we finally had some hunting product show up at the doorstep. That means it’s only a matter of time before we have the bows setup and the bears start showing themselves. I know we’re on the verge of some great spring fishing but it’s never to early to think about hunting.
We got 6 dozen of the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter KV’s. We’re both pretty excited to get these badboys cut, wrapped, fletched, and shooting straight. The KV is the strongest arrow on the market, so it’s should put a solid hurt on some critters.
The arrows are made with a layer of Kevlar, which is pound for pound 5 times stronger than steel and considerably lighter. They also have Dual Spine Weight Forward which helps your arrow recover out of the bow faster and get on target. Combine all that with the a BuffTuff finish and BullDog nock collars and you have one wicked arrow.
If your in the market for arrows be sure to head over to Carbon Express’s website and check out their selection. They can get you all setup with an arrow that’s perfect for your current bow and have a solid variety of options to choose from. As soon as we start shooting them we’ll have product reviews and some video up. Tomorrow hopefully we’ll be back on the river somewhere so keep your head up cause it’s almost the weekend.
Lately we have been busy filming a bunch for a short film, so today we finally decided to take a break. We called up local fishing legend Ian Orlando and headed out to the Rock.
We haven’t been on this creek since pre-runoff 2011, so most of the holes we used to love and cherish have disappeared. Today was a day to explore and hopefully find some good pockets of fish. While the water looked good, the fishing was slow. I was able to get a few to eat but the good ones spit the hook.
We headed upriver in search of some new water and found a hole that looked fishy. Ian and I decided to play a game of FISH, and we both did well under pressure. Multiple rainbows and white dogs were fooled in this single hole. We didn’t really have rules, other than you had to catch a fish in less casts than the person before hand.
We left the remaining fish in the hole to rest in peace. After hiking upriver a good mile, we found nothing but flat water. We jumped in the Dodge and took the icy roads south. Along the way we managed to plow through some impressive puddles, which the Dodge handled like a champ. Our next fishing access was semi-ice covered, but looked like a fun/dangerous challenge.
The trout were being picky, but one hungry white dog made his way onto the ice. Not much to complain about when your fishing in pure sunshine and 50 degree weather in March! The fishing can only get better.
Well it’s officially one year since we started Montana Wild. When we started this blog we didn’t know what we were doing or where we would take it, and its still not quite clear. One thing sticks out vividly though, and that’s all the good times we had doing it. I’m sure glad we did because we have a lot of great memories to look back on and had a lot of laughs along the way. I guess I did have a vision of where it would hopefully take us though. I figured that outdoor media was behind the trend of other adventure sports and what better way to make your passion into a career than to start documenting our escapades with photos and video. So far it’s working out, and I’m pretty excited with the progress and the quality of work we produced in our first year. We’ve made this a full time job and hope to not look back. We’ve already surpassed our short term goals and were setting the bar even higher for 2012. I think there’s been a noticeable progression since our first post and video. In the next week we’ll have a post up that gives a recap of our first year and how far we’ve made it.
Today Travis and I decided that we’d celebrate the first year by hitting the river in hopes of logging some shots. We left the house early and made our way to the river. The weather wasn’t ideal for filming or fishing, but we were set on making the best of it.
After a few empty holes, I finally had a trout succumb to my trickery. I could tell he was a good fish and he decided to take me for a ride. The river was small and he decided he’d had enough of that pool for one day. He slipped back into the rapids and I had to follow him back to the next small pocket of slow water. With all the downed logs in this river I had to keep him on the correct side of the river to actually get another chance to net him. After some awkward angles and a few tense moments I slipped my net under his fat belly and had myself a very respectable cutbow.
After a few camera shots we got him back into the water to be caught another day.
We fished the rest of the day and caught a healthy number of fish but nothing worth writing home about. Hey it’s another day on the river and another blessing to be counted. Tomorrow we’ll be back out and Travis is going to be running the rod and reel. I’ll be running the Nikon and hopefully capturing some moments to be remembered. Until then tight lines to ya.
Ok so what better way than to break in the new year than with the Best of 2011 and a broken rod on a fat brown. Well not much I’d say. Check out a compilation of our season here in our 2011 Fish Reel.
Oh and here’s my first fish of 2012.
Starting with a real healthy brown, healthy enough to snap the Echo Carbon. One fish down, one rod down. Oh well, I’ll take that any day. Were getting real excited to get into some good spring fishing and have the nice camera this go round. We’ll post up more about our first successful fishing day here soon.
Finishing up the final touches to our most recent video. We’ll be taking you along as we drop four coyotes in a few short hours on the last day of our 3 day hunt on the Hi-Line.
As you can see there are a lot of cuts to putting together an edit. I’ve put in a lot of hours on this along with working on finishing up our episodes from 2011. Be looking for this video sometime on Saturday.
So it’s been slowing down here on the blog but don’t worry we’ve got plenty of content lined up for you guys. Travis and I have been working hard trying to get some edits produced and finished up so we can share some of our best hunts and footage from the year. These things are time demanding. I think I’ve spent a good 50 hours just on the first edit. We will have 4 solid episodes from 2011 on top of the footage we already have up from the year. Here’s a brief rundown:
Episode 1 – Zack archery deer hunts
Episode 2 – Travis’s elk season and his 1st bull
Episode 3 – Travis’s velvet mule deer buck
Episode 4 – Zack’s archery bull elk
I’m still hoping I can bag a wolf this year and it would be a great topper to a phenomenal 1st season for us.
We have big hopes for 2012 and we’ve already been thinking about opening day. Before you know it we’ll be straight into spring fishing and bear hunting and hopefully capturing more great footage. To tide you guys over here’s a sweet elk hunting video to get you stoked about this September.
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.
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.
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.
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.