Archery Elk Tag

Philthyphil

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Montana
I've been in MT 10 years and always just hunted general tags because that is what I used to do in CO before I moved here and I wasn't really putting much effort in so the general tag was good enough. Somehow I got bitten by the bug to step up my hunt game this year and put in for this tag as well as the big 3, for the first time, which I am ashamed of. I'm really excited about it and I am putting in the effort on the front end with a good training regimen and am shooting for a half dozen scouting trips if life will allow it. I ride a big enduro motorcycle that will get me there and around the unit so I can check a couple boxes with the scouting trips (backcountry motorized haters can hate).

That said I am starting this thread to document my scouting trips and the impending (hopefully successful) hunt for anyone who would be looking for info on this area. I was hoping to hunt the area with a buddy that has experience in this unit, but he didn't draw so a lot of the effort will likely be solo, which is something I am used to so not a huge deal, until it comes to the pack out. I am aware of the questions and information that has already been offered which was: lots of bugs, can be hot/cold, gumbo mud if it rains, lots of people, lots of elk, area not what it used to be, don't pass on what the hunter personally decides is a good size bull, tree stands are good for the bottoms, vegetation can be thick and nasty, lots of MN and SD/ND license plates, that the local biologist name is Sonya that may have been on maternity leave for a while because she wasn't calling folks back a few years ago, opening day is crazy busy but generally tapers off later in the season, any scouting you do can be thrown out the window after opening day when hunting pressure sends all the animals running for private sanctuaries.

In regards to the scouting trips, I haven't spent much/any time in this area so my trips will be to get the lay of the land as much as scouting animal location, movement, and habits.

Lots of good info on this forum from a lot of seasoned folks so I think I have gathered what has been willing to be shared, so I don't think I really have any questions at this point, but if anyone wants to drop some more valuable info info for me and those that follow searching for threads like this in the future, please do.

I'm not a big forum poster (comes in waves from me) and I haven't been on here for long but I've been on here a lot. I don't plan to probe the collective for information and vanish without closing out the thread/story so if I stop responding to this thread, something dire happened to me in the back country... I have an Inreach.

This has certainly been my longest forum post in a while and I guess is kind of my "who am I" post as well.

Good luck out there!
 
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fishing4sanity

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Mar 9, 2011
Messages
5,222
Location
eastern Washington
Congrats on the tag! Please include lots of pics from your scouting and hunt. I've never been to the Breaks, but would love to someday even if it's not to hunt.
 

golfer

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Joined
Jul 20, 2010
Messages
1,223
Make sure you know what roads and trails are open and when.
 

Philthyphil

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Montana
Make sure you know what roads and trails are open and when.
Great point! OnX, both Hunt and Offroad, as well as MVUM's in Avenza app will guide me on the scouting trips for recon and hopefully be accurate on seasonal closures for the hunt. That should just leave force majeure...
 

Philthyphil

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Montana
Gear:

I'm trying to figure out what gear I should buy for this hunt. I don't have a spotting scope and I don't have a hunting backpack. I'm torn because I obviously need a spotting scope because of the old adage, "to kill and elk, you have to find the elk". I have a few packs in various sizes but none have a load shelf. I know load shelves haven't been around for ever and the job got done without, but the packs I have are alpine/mountaineering packs that are still used as such and I'm not looking to get them all beat up and bloody, regardless of the street cred I would get on the mountain having a bloody pack. I'm not sure the finances will allow for both setups.

That said I just ordered a Slik Tripod and the Sirui VA-5 head. I'd love to get into a 85mm Razor, but the budget may call for a 65mm Viper (angled versions). I'm trying to stick to the buy once cry once philosophy but we'll see. I'll shop for used for now and then see what I have to spring for in a couple of months.

For packs I am between the Stone Glacier 40/56, Kuiu, or Seek Outside of similar size. Where I'm going is not necessarily a big backpack hunt area but the idea of having to leave the meat empty handed to get the meat hauling frame pack. I've done it, but it sucks to waste a trip, especially if I'm solo. I'm also looking to step into the backpack hunt areas in future seasons.

I think I am all set on everything else, I got a bow! Seriously though, I have all the camping and layered clothing that I should need. Can anybody think of anything else a guy has to have on a bow hunt?

Again this is my first big archery tag so I am wanting to be better prepped than I have been in the past simply walking around in the woods with my bow hoping something steps out in front of me...
 
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golfer

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2010
Messages
1,223
Gear:

I'm trying to figure out what gear I should buy for this hunt. I don't have a spotting scope and I don't have a hunting backpack. I'm torn because I obviously need a spotting scope because of the old adage, "to kill and elk, you have to find the elk". I have a few packs in various sizes but none have a load shelf. I know load shelves haven't been around for ever and the job got done without, but the packs I have are alpine/mountaineering packs that are still used as such and I'm not looking to get them all beat up and bloody, regardless of the street cred I would get on the mountain having a bloody pack. I'm not sure the finances will allow for both setups.

That said I just ordered a Slik Tripod and the Sirui VA-5 head. I'd love to get into a 85mm Razor, but the budget may call for a 65mm Viper (angled versions). I'm trying to stick to the buy once cry once philosophy but we'll see. I'll shop for used for know and then see what I have to spring for in a couple of months.

For packs I am between the Stone Glacier 40/56, Kuiu, or Seek Outside of similar size. Where I'm going is not necessarily a big backpack hunt area but the idea of having to leave the meat empty handed to get the meat hauling frame pack. I've done it, but it sucks to waste a trip, especially if I'm solo. I'm also looking to step into the backpack hunt areas in future seasons.

I think I am all set on everything else, I got a bow! Seriously though, I have all the camping and layered clothing that I should need. Can anybody think of anything else a guy has to have on a bow hunt?

Again this is my first big archery tag so I am wanting to be better prepped than I have been in the past simply walking around in the woods with my bow hoping something steps out in front of me...

Quality 10 power binoculars will do just fine, or so I think no need to lug the extra weight. I've had good luck with the Stone Glacier Solo 3300 and swap between the 3300 bag and the Avail bag. Realistically the weather will be warmer and a base layer and another on top of that will suffice unless its windy, wouldn't worry about packing it with you all day it'll just slow ya down/wear year out with extra gear. Take rain gear check the weather maybe throw it in if theres a chance in the forecast, but if theres rain in forecast theres other stuff to worry about.
 

Philthyphil

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Montana
I have decent 10x’s.

I’m looking for a pack that will carry gear during rifle season when it’s colder, as well as support a backpack hunt. The thought is those packs will compress down for use as a day pack as well. I really like the idea of one frame supporting multiple bags. Plan on going fast and light on this hunt but there will be others. Trying to think about all angles of future before dropping this kind of coin. I should have what I need in the layers department from base to shell. You mention other stuff to worry about...? Other than the tag? Please share?

Another reason for the spotter is future hunts of hard to spot species on large rock faces. That’s the bug that really bit me.
 
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CVMaui

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Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Maui
I have decent 10x’s.

I’m looking for a pack that will carry gear during rifle season when it’s colder, as well as support a backpack hunt. The thought is those packs will compress down for use as a day pack as well. I really like the idea of one frame supporting multiple bags. Plan on going fast and light on this hunt but there will be others. Trying to think about all angles of future before dropping this kind of coin. I should have what I need in the layers department from base to shell. You mention other stuff to worry about...? Other than the tag? Please share?

Another reason for the spotter is future hunts of hard to spot species on large rock faces. That’s the bug that really bit me.
Haven’t tried much other packs, but my mystery ranch metcalf hasn’t failed me yet. Can handle a heavy load, at the same time crunch down for a day pack.
 

OpenCountry

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
217
Location
Eastern Montana
Watch the weather and have flexibility in your hunt dates (both start and end). Pack a few days extra food and water in case you get rained in. Be cool and don't tear up the roads if it does rain. Hunker down and hunt until it clears up enough to get out without tearing up the roads and your vehicle.

Classifieds here and on Rokslide are a great place to pick up some of the items you're looking at.

Good luck.
 

Philthyphil

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Messages
55
Location
Montana
I looked hard at Mystery ranch but I'm looking to shave ounces anywhere I can and they are heavy, comparatively. But from what I've read they may also handle the heavier loads better, there's probably a relation there... And let's be honest the majority of the time I am wearing this pack, I won't be packing an animal. They're also "local" to me which is why I looked so hard. With that I am stuck on SG, Kuiu, and Seek. Again, I have packs (sans loadshelf) but I see the need so it may happen this season. Main reason being if I don't close the deal on this hunt during archery, I'm thinking about finishing the season with a backpack hunt during rifle.

I have been warned multiple times about the roads and am paying attention, so I will watch the weather and be prepared for it.

I am watching the classifieds, but thought I would throw it out here in case anyone is on the fence about selling theirs...
 
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