In Montana on a guided hunt. Sat in a saddle yesterday and today and this am saw a nice herd. So this morning we made the trek a little over mile and a half in up, down, up, down, up, down, up again....set up in some timber waiting for the herd to emerge. Terrain is tough, altitude is tough, but being in shape helped out tremendously. I have respect for those of you who DIY this stuff and get it done. This was work, but the work isn’t complete yet. Let’s hope the herd decides to move back before sundown. Couple hours and we will know
So I was with an outfitter in Montana just south of Clyde park, nearest decent city is Livingston which is the northern way to Yellowstone. We could see the northern edge of the caldera which was cool and brings back memories of that trip from a few years back. Hunted unit 393 but it was a private ranch. First day we didn’t see an elk. Second day we saw the herd move on the far western edge of the property and bed down in some timber (at least that’s what we thought). Herd was about 150-170 strong with some decent bulls. So after a quick “let’s make a plan” discussion, we decided to hike down into the big valley and up the back side of the property. We sat at 6150’ in the am, descended several hundred feet down, then back up a little then back down a little, then back up to where we were higher than we started. From there we thought we were almost to the top...wrong. More up. So we hiked more. We ended up around 6700’ and found all kinds of elk sign up there. It was a literal elk haven. We got close to the timber so we could catch the herd if they came out late, but they didn’t. They came out early and started grazing around 3pm, quite shocking considering the temps were quite warm for this time of year. After watching more and more elk come out it was obvious we were blinded by a small crest below us to where they were going. So we decided to move down some, which took some time finding the right place to hunker down under while not being seen moving there. We got set up and watched the herd grow as a cow have her calls to the group (my brother was hoping to hear some bugles but the cow call was neat too). Around an hour before dark three bulls came up and showed themselves. When the biggest gave a clear shot I took it, a quartering to 300 yard shot that hit right in front of the shoulder and rocked him hard. It would have been a lethal shot by itself (the bullet was found near the opposite tenderloin and actually ruined some of that good meat) but he turned and gave me a broadside second shot which put him down. It was great. Rifle performed as expected, FiremanJG’s ammo performed as expected (and was dead on), and our plan came together almost as good as a randy newberg show. Then the fun began. Being that this was a guided hunt, we called for reinforcements, but they wouldn’t be there for a while (Polaris ranger with a sled for the meat/head and us) so we quartered and caped the bull and got the meat on some snow to cool, and finished right as the help arrived. It was nice being able to drive back to the truck instead of hump it back. Lots of prep went into this hunt and the only thing that didn’t work out as planned was the boots, my right foot got a small blister on the heel, but I am not sure I tightened them enough this am. Clothing choices, weapon choice, caliber choice, ammo choice, all worked as expected. Very happy about that. The only thing that didn’t work to advantage was weather being warmer than it should have been, but in the end it didn’t matter. Overall, very happy.
Couple photos: 1&2 are self explanatory, the rest are pretty much just the scenery the last one is the elk herd out and about a little before I shot.
Edit: sorry some of the photos are sideways and upside down. I must have had the camera turned funny when I took those
Congrats on the hunt, and getting a good bull. Clyde Park I have driven through several times and a couple years used a processor in that town for my elk and deer on hunts in the Big belts and little belts north west of White Sulfur Springs, a little over 100 miles from Clyde Park.
The Crazy mountains are cool and have some Mountain goats in them. I should have stopped sometime at Big Timber and visited the Sharps and Little Sharps companies. Love shooting and hunting with my Little Sharps.
lf the saying "Liar, Liar your pants on fire" were true Mainstream news might be fun to watch
FR, after our hike in, we found a great little hidey hole in some pines where we relaxed for a bit, expecting to stay there till dark. But I spotted some elk moving around 3, and we watched the slowly come out and go out of sight. After seeing too many do that the guide moved down in the pines to our left (away from the herd) to see if they were just below the ridge we were set up on. When he got down there he saw the herd grazing and bedded. Independently I decided it was time to move down and I met him part of the way down. From there we staged to different lions pines (with my brother in tow) trying to stay low in the safe bushes. The herd didn’t know we were there. We went to the last line tree and set up there. Herd was slowly emerging from their pines, and as the shadows got really long and finally sun set over the hill, the numbers were growing almost by the minute. Wind was perfect for us, but if the bulls didn’t cooperate and show out, the we would eventually spook the cows. About 75 minutes before legal time, the bulls finally decided to start moving. They started around 500 yards behind trees and cows. At one point we had three bulls side by side so we could compare them pretty close to one another. But there were cows and bedded calves in front of them so no clear shot. Wind wasn’t a factor, but I was shooting only off a tripod stick while sitting kind of on my feet in some sage bushes. Had to get high enough to get over some weeds and bushes, but was still pretty hidden. I was comfortable with the shot, but couldn’t get the bulls clear and full body exposed due to slight elevation changes. Eventually, about 45 minutes legal time left, the biggest bull offered himself a quartering to shot at 300 yards. With all the cows and calves and numerous spikes and other bulls around I had to take the shot. But I felt confident I could drill the shot just in front of the shoulder. It worked perfectly. .300 wsm fierce fury Loaded with custom load by firemanJG 200gr hornady eld-x bullet rocked that guy hard. He lurched and turned, I sent another when he was broadside and he dropped right there. Awesome experience. First shot ruined quite a bit of shoulder meat, went back and was found close to tenderloin on opposite side and ruined some of that meat (bummer). Second shot hit high chest and didn’t exit but no bullet was found on that one. With the speed firemanJG got out of his load (3000fps at muzzle), at 300 yards there was over 3000 ftlbs of energy, way more than needed but it got the job done and quickly with no tracking needed.