Awesome season once again!The next hunt was a pretty special one for me. My Dad drew a breaks rifle bull tag as well as a b-tag after applying for a long time. As luck would have it, he drew a permission slip to hunt a great private property so we were both pretty excited at the opportunity.
We arrived in the breaks a day earlier than he could hunt the private ranch so we scouted from the county road. We found a bunch of bulls and it was looking pretty good for the next day. Right at daylight we again started seeing a lot of elk and a lot of bulls right off the bat. Since Dad was the only hunter on the place for 4 days, we decided to look around a while. Eventually we found a very good bull, great thirds, great 4ths...and solid everywhere else. We took off after them and edged our way to about 500 yards. Something spooked the bedded elk and the bull we were after moved off with the herd. We finally caught them about a mile further out and the bull we were after and a couple cows walked up out of a pine draw. I dont know what happened, but Dad shot and missed clean. We walked over and looked around for about an hour and didnt find anything. I'm positive he shot right over the bull, was kind of a bummer as I'm sure that bull was crowding 350. We decided since were already back in there to look around some more. We found a big herd with about a dozen bulls, the biggest being a solid 6 point. We got up to about 200 yards and just watched them. I told Dad I was going to reverse our stalk and look farther down the ridge. I didnt go far and spotted 3 more bulls, a good six point with a broken 5th, a 7x7, and a smaller 6 point. I went back and told Dad what I found, and also that 2 of the 3 bulls were better than the biggest 6 point in the herd we were looking at. So, off we went. We edged into 250 yards and Dad got set up on the elk. They were all bedded and we figured we'd just wait them out. About 5 minutes later the smaller 6 point walked over toward the 7x7 causing him to stand. Dad took his time and sent a 140 grain e-tip from my 7 RM on its way. The bull dropped and Dad shot him again to make sure.
While not as big as the bull he missed, still a solid bull and my Dad's best:
Back at camp:
I knew I'd pushed Dad about as far as I dared. Rather than bust our ass trying to pack the elk the 2.5 miles each way all at once I decided to hunt the mornings for his cow and then make a trip the next 2 days to get the bull to the truck. So, the next couple days we would hunt the morning, then I went in and packed out. The bull was in a great place to stay cool and I was able to hang it in a large pine.
The second morning we found a herd of elk right away and watched them walk into a draw. So, Dad decided to try to fill his b-tag. We walked over where they disappeared into the draw and found them feeding slowly along in the pine trees. Dad picked out a good one for the table, and made a nice shot, again right at 250 yards.
That one was wayyy closer to the road so we packed it and then I went back and got the last of Dads bull packed. We felt pretty fortunate to get this opportunity and its great to hunt a place where elk aren't running for their lives and getting constant pressure. Its too bad more of Montana isn't managed like this, hell, I'd probably start buying elk tags again if it was.
I assure you all of the breaks are not managed like that, the ranch you hunted hasn't been hunted in many many years. Many, like myself, have hunted the borders of it a lot over the years because the elk got pushed there as a sanctuary and waited to catch one on the right side of the line. I will say tho this year even with very limited pressure on the property there was a fraction of elk in there compared to years past. So it is helping a fair bit.We felt pretty fortunate to get this opportunity and its great to hunt a place where elk aren't running for their lives and getting constant pressure. Its too bad more of Montana isn't managed like this, hell, I'd probably start buying elk tags again if it was.