Well I could probably spend 6 days typing out the hunting stories from Montana, but I'll spare you the reading and just paraphrase.
On an earlier post I noted that I could only get a tag for a whitetail doe, so that is what I did. However my hunting Buddy Dale Stewart had a tag for a cow elk, and either sex whitetail. So we headed for the mountains on our first day of hunting. We saw a bunch of mule deer does but no elk. The hike nearly killed me, but the views were worth the trip. The next time out we went with 6 of us, Dale and his wife, Jillisa his daughter and Mathew her Boyfriend, and Amber and I. That trip we saw a nice 3x3 mule deer buck, a small mule deer buck and another bunch of does. The bigger buck was a bit too far for us to pursue and the small one was just too small. I'll break here for a pic.
All this action was up in the mountains, but in the mean time down by the river Dale and I spent hours watching Whitetail, and lots of them. There was also a big bull moose walking around but these animals are all smart enough to stay on private property. Even though, how often do you get to see 5-6 big bucks running around chasing each other and trying to breed does? I felt like I was watching one of those Iowa Hunting videos but it was actually happening only 40 yards from me.
So after many close calls we finally got our ice breaker. Sunday night Dale, Deacon, and I sat on a private piece on land about an hour before dark and were waiting for some doe to cross the road so I could fill my tag. Well Deacon apparently didn't want to wait and quickly spotted a deer about 200 yards behind us, not anywhere near where we were expecting to see anything. I'll skip some more unimportant details, and just say that with one shot the chest with the 25-06 the deer piled up without taking a step. Tag number one filled.
Now the action begins. We got my deer gutted and in the truck and headed back to tell the ladies of our success. But little did we know that we weren’t done yet. As we pulled in the driveway Dale noticed a deer back on the hills only 350 yards from his house. I glassed it and told him that it was a buck! And it appeared to be a Whitetail. Let me remind you that he has lived there for over 10 years and has never seen a whitetail in the hills. But the bucks were rutting and anything was possible. So we quickly drove over and jumped out of the truck. In an instant I had my crosshairs on the buck at about 100 yard and was doing everything in my strength not to pull the trigger. (HUGE TEMPTATION). After what seemed like 45 minutes, Dale pulled the trigger on his 270 and shot the spine right off the buck. A tuft of hair blew off his back and it dropped on the top of a small hill so that we could not see it. Dale and I took off and made it up the hill faster than any human ever will again. And there it laid, not a mule deer, but as I suspected, the largest bodied 10 point whitetail buck that I had ever seen. (largest body I had ever seen, the largest buck I had ever seen was the day previous chasing does).
The next day Dale and I had good intentions of hanging up our guns and doing some work around camp but to our surprise Jill kicked us out of the house and said “You guys are on a roll, go get an elk”. So the next morning we “reluctantly” pickup up our guns and headed for the hills. It took us about 30 minutes and we had a bout 5 Elk in our binoculars. The Hunt was on. It took us about 45 minutes to drive/hike ourselves into position. We stalked to within 60 yards of the herd and got a small cow in the scope. And as you might expect, we got busted. Something has alerted the elk that we were there and suddenly the calf was eclipsed by a nice bull elk. Not a massive elk but Dale says it was a nice 5x5. Too bad he had filled his bull elk tag the week prior on a smaller elk. Oh well it was still cool to see. Another temptation was upon us, poach the big guy or swing the gun over and take the only other elk that is giving us a clean shot before they run. So Dale, set his sights on the calf and shot. The hill exploded, but it wasn't because of the shot, it was the 15 elk that we didn't see that all stood up and ran down the hill. The shooter looked dejected, and was very dissatisfied with what just happened, “bad shot” he said and kept repeating “bad shot”. We watched for a couple minutes as the heard got farther and farther away. Waiting for an elk to fall, or at least limp or stumble. Nothing, They ran until we couldn't see them anymore. We started down the hill to see if we could find any sign of contact where they were bedded. Sure enough, there were a few spots of blood on the fresh snow. We followed and the blood went from thin to thick in a hurry. Patches of hair and puddles of blood were thick on the trail. We rounded a small pine tree and there she lay, all piled up about 100 yards from where she was shot. The bad thing is that it was down hill. We cleaned her out and drug her about 200 yards straight up the steep hill. All the while being stalked by a curious 3x3 mule deer buck. The drive out was full of satisfaction and more temptation, as that same 3x3 Buck presented us with countless opportunities to put holes in him.
Thanks to Dale and all the Stewarts for the great week! Especially Dayton we helped drag the elk and Deacon who spotted my deer. Oh and Jill who gave us the boot!
And just remember this is a paraphrase.