My SE Montana hunt

lefty315

Handloader
Sep 29, 2004
799
5
Had a good trip to SE Montana this past week. Saw a ton of deer on private land and plenty to go around on public, if you were willing to work a little bit. My buddy that I work with and served in the Marines with have hunted together for 25 years. We did the same trip two years ago and had a few ideas approaching this past week we wanted to try. But sometimes you abandon ideas and try to repeat.

For his deer we went to an area we had never been. After studying google earth a bit we decided on a valley that went away from the road, but when we arrived there were a couple of camps set up at the jumping off point. We turned around and drove down the road to an area that had canyons going away from both sides of the road. We elected to go to the right that morning up into a canyon that had burned a few years ago. Not a single boot track in any of the mud on the game trails we followed and beautiful scenery but after 4 hours of hard glassing not a deer to be seen and very little recent sign.

Regroup as we head back to the truck. On the way out I said "what we really need are two whoppers to be bedded down about 200 yards from the truck". About 10 minutes later and 500 yards from the truck a 2 point comes walking towards us at about 30 yards. It was his lucky day. When we arrived back at the truck my buddy says "look at this", another 2 point coming towards us at about 50 yards. There were our two whoppers right by the truck!!

We had some lunch and were discussing our next move while looking at the canyon on the other side of the road. It had plenty of draws and was far enough from the road that I don't think most people would consider going in so we did. Once we got settled I needed a nap. I opened my eyes briefly to see a weird shape out at about 800 yards. Turned out to be a couple of deer. I motioned over to my buddy to bring the spotting scope over so we could get a closer look. In the meantime I was looking at a draw much closer and saw a doe come out. We started looking at that draw and spotted a nice buck following a doe. My buddy was able to close the distance to around 350 yards and waited for a shot opportunity. One shot from his .300 WSM, with a 180 AccuBond that I loaded for him ended this fellas day.

And apparently my photos are too large on the iPad and won't load, so I'll go into my hunt.

The next day we went to a totally different type of area with more open sagebrush country. The same place I killed a small buck at two years ago. We had an idea how the deer moved from private land up into the draws so we set off early to try and head them off. We saw several groups of deer and everyone had bucks following does. We made a plan and dropped down into a ravine and then over two ridges to watch a hillside we've seen them bed on in the past. We get up there and nothing. We were hidden in some tall sagebrush looking two different directions. A couple of hours into it my buddy said he saw an ok buck come over the ridge we did but it disappeared in a draw. About 20 minutes later I see a lone buck coming towards us and wanted to get a better look at him. He gets to 225 yards but he's walking fast and finally goes out of sight. I thought he was going to pop out on a little flat right in front of me but the draw was a little deeper that we thought. My buddy spots him just as he's getting ready to go over the next ridge at 340 yards. But he stops to start eating. I get a better look at him and said given the opportunity I'd take him, plus it's been a good hunt. As soon as he feeds over the ridge we are up and moving. About 250 yards into our move we come across the bleached out bones of a deer. My deer from two years ago, right where we quartered him up at. I had cut his antlers off with the top of his skull and here was his skull, missing the top where I'd cut it off. Kharma....
Over the ridge we go, slowly peeking over with every step. Finally saw the buck down below eating. I immediately sit down on the sticks, center up behind his shoulder as he's looking at us and let a 140 AccuBond go from my little Kimber 7mm-08. The shot ended up being around 178 yards. He takes off running and goes about 20 yards before he piles up in a fence, he's done. He's not a monster but he's a nice buck. The hunt is what made it more than anything. Quartered him up and two miles and three ridges later we were back at the truck.

I'll try to figure out how to get some photos up if I can.
 

AFG270

Handloader
Aug 26, 2013
833
167
Congratulations to your buddy and you. Great story, looking forward to some photos.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,188
1,737
Super account of a great hunt! Congratulations to you and your compadre for thinking through the challenge and adapting to ensure that you were successful. That is getting the job done!
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,909
240
Congrats on the harvest. The experience of just being out is more then worth the price of the tag. The kill is just a bonus.
 

NYDAN

Handloader
Sep 17, 2013
1,250
222
Congratulations to you and your buddy on a great hunt. It must be very gratifying for you.

Dan
 

cloverleaf

Handloader
Sep 10, 2006
3,885
208
Sounds like a great time. SE Montana...don't get much better than that. Congrats. CL
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,264
25
Fun to hunt with a great friend for years.... congratulations on tow great hunts!


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