This past weekend we headed home for Thanksgiving to see the parents and do some hunting. Zack was anxious to pull the trigger on a buck as he hadn’t seen anything worth shooting throughout the season. Early Saturday morning we loaded up on the ATV and headed up the mountain. The area we were in is very thick forest and holds some nice mountain whitetails. Unfortunately there wasn’t much snow on the ground and the woods were just too loud to sneak up on anything. After a tough morning of hunting we decided to bust out the distress call and try to round up some predators. We had seen numerous fresh coyote tracks and knew they were in the area. We set up on a small frozen lake and Zack began calling. About six minutes into the stand I spotted a coyote dropping down through the timber towards our position. Before Zack could reposition the coyote was already tip toeing out onto the ice at 70 yards. Over the course of the next five minutes he slowly worked to withing 50 yards but was wary. He was starring us down so we had to remain very still.
He knew something was up but wasn’t in any hurry to leave. As soon as he turned Zack repositioned his gun. The coyote stopped and looked. Zack had to very careful to minimize his movements so he could get a shot. The coyote slowly worked back to the snowy bank. As soon as he turned his back Zack moved into a shooting position. The coyote stopped and looked back for the last time. Zack made sure I was on the coyote with the camera and let the Remington sing. The coyote dropped on the far bank and Zack had his first mountain coyote.
We were pumped up and we headed over to check him out. It was an average sized male and we were pretty excited to catch the whole thing on film. Go ahead and check out the video!
The following day I sat in a tree stand we had set up. Once again I was hunting solo and the GoPro battery died as I tried to film this hunt. It was the final day of rifle season and my last chance to fill my doe tag for that region. A young buck walked by after sitting for 30 minutes. I had already filled my buck tag and let him walk. About ten minutes later I was surprised to see a doe feeding through the woods only 30 yards away. It is surprising how silent deer can be! The doe spotted me reaching for my bow, she proceeded to stomp and bark at me at 18yards. Boom! A rifle shot echoed from the nearby forest. The doe took her attention off of me, and I took that opportunity to get my release on the D-loop. The doe started to make her away from my stand. I drew as she passed behind a tree at 22yards, I held on her until she stopped perfectly broadside at 25 yards. Wham! I couldn’t see my where my arrow stuck her, but I could see she was bleeding bad. She ran 30 yards before she piled up.
I found out I had made a perfect shot, with a clean pass through. It was a great way to end the rifle season, two does in 5 days!
We’ve been busy hunting and filming all fall. We’ve been fortunate enough to get some really great footage. Travis edited a short preview video for what’s to come after we complete the 2011 hunting season. We are excited for the upcoming episodes and videos. Check this one out in HD!
There should be no shortage of more hunting coming up so stay tuned to Montana Wild.
Even though it’s general season here in Montana we still enjoy bowhunting. This last Friday we set out to “The Ranch” to get in some spot and stalk bowhunting. We had a general idea of the deer movements from the week before when we had hunted.
We got their before sunrise and got in position on the edge of a field on a plateau. Right away we spotted approximately 25 mule deer feeding on the north side of the field. We were positioned on the opposite side so we sat and watched, waiting for them to dip over the side so we could close the gap.
As we were watching these deer a whitetail popped up over the far side of the field and was working right towards us. We had a general idea of where he might cross so we got set up on the fence line. With only the fence as cover we waited. The buck kept coming and crossed the fence. I could only range a small bush as everyting around the fence was grass. The bush ranged at 60 yards and I though he was going to walk right behind it. I drew as he crossed the fence and then stopped him. As I was settling in to my peep I kept having to readjust as my glove was thick and prevented my face from getting into it’s normal anchor position. Right as I was hitting the release my bow was wanting to let down and my arrow went flying off into space. I was pissed and Travis had to let me hear it also. We walked up to where the buck had been and it ended up being 75 yards. I’ll just say even if I would have made a good shot I most likely would have missed low anyways. We continued on and got back on the mule deer we had spotted earlier.
Soon we had crept to the field edge and immediately had does below us. I quickly ranged a doe at 48 and ripped an arrow. Somehow I missed again. Talk about frustrating. Two shots in under an hour. That’s just how it goes I guess. We stayed put and watched the mule deer as they hadn’t been spooked by my second miss of the day. As we were sitting there a young deer showed up right below us and was making a beeline our way. We watched what we thought was a doe come bouncing right up the hill towards us. I got my bow ready and Travis dialed in the camera. Soon the deer popped up 30 yards away and I smoked her through her front shoulder with a Grim Reaper. We watched as she ran back down the hill and piled up. Well we finally connected.
We got down there and found out it was a yearling buck. We tagged him and decided with the near freezing temps we could leave him and try to put a stalk on one of the bucks that was bedded just across the valley. We had a small snack and then made a mile loop to get in position for a stalk.
Soon we had made it to withing 100 yards of where we had last seen them bedded. We snuck up and found out they had moved slightly. Another hour of trying to position ourselves better and we spotted this decent buck from the top of the ridge. I quickly backtracked and started a slow stalk from behind him. At first all I could see were his antlers just above the grass. I soon closed the gap to 70 yards and could now see his back. I slowly kept creeping up trying to be as quite as possible. The whole time it was very difficult to range him. It was hard to not range grass in front or behind him, but I finally got to close to 45 yards and was able to confidently range his rack. At that point he slowly stood. I’m pretty sure he had caught my wind, and I slowly drew back. He snapped his head my way and a short stare down ensued. I settled my 50 pin low and behind his elbow and released. I could hear my arrow hit him and he spun and ran off. I could see my arrow through his right shoulder and out his neck on the left side, and I thought for sure he was going to drop right away. He ended up running off and the group settled down across the small valley. About five minutes later they spooked themselves and began a disappointing run to the neighbors property. I just couldn’t believe this buck was getting away. How could an arrow through one shoulder and through the neck not hit something vital? It made me sick. We followed them to the property line and could still see blood from where the buck had ran. We are currently trying to get access to the property to look for this deer. We reviewed the footage and were amazed at how hard this buck had jumped the string.
The above picture is a screen shot of the footage we have of me shooting this buck. The first image is him looking at me as I’m lining up my pins. The second is my arrow initially hitting him. He dropped and spun a considerable amount as my arrow was headed his way. If this buck would not have been so quick he would have been dead very quickly. This just goes to show you that bowhunting isn’t easy and you always need to try to get as close to your quarry as possible. My bow is by no means slow and it shows these deer can really do some amazing things. I don’t regret taking the shot. It was a good stalk and shot with disappointing consequences. Times like these are inevitable in bowhunting. It just makes you focus harder to become a better hunter and shooter. We finished the day off by getting some stalks under Travis’s belt. We cut off another herd of deer moving back to this field in the evening but made a couple small mistakes and couldn’t connect on another deer. We’ll be headed back soon though so keep checking back for more hunting adventures with Montana Wild.
Well it’s been a few weeks since we’ve dropped any new posts so it’s finally time to make an update. It’s been a busy few weeks of school, work, and hunting. Two weekends ago Travis and I were back in our spot from opening weekend. We found tons of large rubs, hunters bugling their faces off constantly, but no elk. After two days of no sign or sound of elk we moved camp about 5 miles to the west.
Again we little fresh sign and again week old rubs and scat but no elk were currently holding in the area. We moved again. Getting to our last spot of the weekend I spotted a cow in the bottom of a coulee. We geared up and started a stalk. After working to within 40 yards we saw they had bedded and that we would need to re-angle ourselves to get a broadside shot. Soon we had backed out and were again moving close to what we thought were 2 cows. The wind swirled at about 50 yards and one of the cows busted up and barked at us. Soon 4 other cows and a bull poped up. By the time Travis was ready and the bull stopped he was 85 yards out and his arrow sailed well left.
The next weekend we were back at the Missouri Breaks. Conditions were very poor for elk hunting as the temps rose into the low 90s the whole weekend.
We soon found out that the elk were moving to bedding areas after only about 45 minutes of shooting light. This made it very difficult to locate and set up in front of the elk. With so many coulees and ridges for these elk to work up it was highly dependent on right place at the right time. Calling to these elk often sends them running and generally only allow you to locate and then hope to cut them off so the conditions were by no means excellent. The evening hunts were all but non-existent other than at most half an hour before dark. The high temperature and moderate hunting pressure kept them clammed up and bedded down.
To make matters worse about 300 head of elk were on the refuge all weekend and a solid half mile of vehicles showed up for the nightly elk show. The only upside was we got to see a bunch of bulls and got a few decent pictures.
Nonetheless we still had some action but it was pretty limited. Our good friend Bryce had a few bulls show up on game camera but he wasn’t able to seal the deal either.
During the day we did spend some time honing our skills on some wary prairie dogs and it was a good way to kill the long wait between morning and evening hunts. I smoke this guy at 52 yards.
We soon headed out empty handed and I won’t be filling my elk tag in the Breaks this year.
This weekend we’ll head home to Bigfork and see if we can’t get on some more elk. A couple small but shootable whitetail bucks are frequenting our stands and hopefully we can get something on the ground. The elk seem to be finally really rutting but only time will tell.