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Dave's 521 Journey

LopeHunter

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
2,760
Location
MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
My knees get sore going downhill much more than uphill. My son is a doc so asked some docs he knows what might be going on. Advice was to be less active, have surgery or use knee wraps to delay things while still being active.

I got these:https://www.amazon.com/Knee-Brace-S...t=&hvlocphy=9033604&hvtargid=pla-569465859788

Great reduction in tenderness for me.

At some point, will need surgery though bought myself some time with the wraps.
 

elkfishing

Member
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Montana
So my second hunt is in the books. I got the privileged of going in with andrew11 who was a great partner. We did nearly 50 miles and over 10,000 vertical feet. The short version is that we had an epic time together, but no goat yet. We did see 10 and I will be heading back in this week again. Details are found below.

Day One:
Andrew and I went in the Box Canyon Trail Head off the Boulder River south of Big Timber Montana. It was a pleasant day but we knew some weather was likely coming in that night. My pack was heavy at 68#, but I was feeling great. We were not in a hurry as we glassed when we could on the way in. 8.7 miles latter we setup camp near the Columbine Trail intersection. None were found.

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Day Two:
IMG_5136.JPG Awoke to the anticipated snow. Andrew snapped this shot from his tent of mine. After a brief breakfast we were back on the trail. Made our way to Fish Lake where we paused for lunch which consisted of fresh trout and ramen. I had spoken to a couple of sheep hunters who reported seeing a billy in this area the week before, but we did not find him. Had we found him, we would have had to first determine if he was in 521 or 316, but without seeing him, it didn't matter.

More walking and glassing. An eight-mile day and we set up camp by Wounded Man Lake. After such a tough summer physically I was feeling very happy with how my body was performing. Nothing negative to report for either my legs or lungs. While I wasn't feeling as young as I once was, I was thrilled with where I was at and with how I was doing.

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Day Three:

A morning of glassing all that we could see around Wounded Man. Nothing was found so we broke camp to head to Cimmarian Lake.

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My maps disagreed with each other as to the presence of a trail. In the end the no trail answer was closer to the truth. What should have been 3.6 miles according to the source that said we had a trail grew as we did 5 even to get there. Lots of deadfall and multiple stream crossings.

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Then it happened. My foot slipped into a hole near the end of this trek and down I went with my full pack on to my hip that had suffered from the sciatica this past summer. I felt a distinct, uncomfortable pull in that hip as I landed, bending one of my trekking poles slightly. Man did that suck! Over 20 miles in and now this. I got up and while I could feel the hip some, I didn't feel too bad overall.

To our lake we went finding a place to setup camp and to settle in for the night. I wasn't sure how I feel in the morning, but the hunt was not over. We did some more fishing and had some success supplementing the food we brought with us. We didn't keep everything we caught, but those we did were very tasty.

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Day Four:

I woke up stiff in my hip from my fall. The decision was made to hang near camp and to glass all that we could see completely, and to fish.

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Then it happened, Andrew saw a goat! It was far enough away that we weren't sure, but boy did it look like a goat through the spotting scope. Talk about getting excited! It appeared to be bedding down, so we pinpointed its location to keep checking on it. Multiple checks through out the day and we were making plans on how to approach it in the morning. My hip was feeling great now. Then the bubble was burst when the sun moved enough in the afternoon to see that our "goat" was really a well placed and shadowed rock. Oh well, that was fun while it lasted.

The next day was our big push up the mountain. I was confident after all my research that we were in a good area and so hip be damned, it's time to climb! Not an easy situation, but after some ibuprofen and acetaminophen and I was good. Climb and glass, climb and glass. That was our day. Oh but was it worth it. Maybe a 1000 feet below the summit and I found our first real goat. Soon we discerned that we were seeing three nannies and kids. Finally goats! We watched them for some time until they disappeared over the summit.

Back to the climb and before too long Andrew found another goat. We were now only 450-480 yards from this next group which were two more nannies and a kid, depending on the particular animal. Not a shot option even if they were billies at this distance plus a 25-degree angle up and swirling winds. Moreover, we were there for a billy.

Shortly there after a billy was found. And what a beauty! Not the oldest or biggest, but a gorgeous haired out coat. The closest we were to him at this point was 463 yards and similar extenuating conditions. No ethical shot option until we could close the distance.
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Decisions, decisions. Go straight up towards him, or go more around the mountain and risk spooking the other goats we had seen and possible spook him too. Up it will be and therefore through a big boulder field. Slowly we progressed up until we were in the area we needed to be. Where the heck did he go?


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Andrew and I split up to glass the various drainages that were options for where they may have gone. Nothing.

We did not want to give up the elevation we had acquired so I pulled out an old tent fly that I carry for such an occasion and we setup for the night. We had brought bags and pads so we were going to be comfortable. Our hope was that we would find goats in the morning. Personally, I was hoping to get a shot from our tent.
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Day Five:

How does that go? The best laid plans of mice and men? Well no goats in the morning. We glassed all the drainages again, but nothing. Still very grateful for the experience.

Back down a less-steep, but still steep route to our base camp. A lunch of fish and soup and we packed up to begin the walk out. Back to Lake Pinchot up out of the Flood Creek. We made it there and built a big fire which we sat around until latter then any other night reminiscing on the goats and questioning just where did they go?

The question we had for ourselves was if we would walk all the way back to the pickup the next day, or if we would take two days to do it? I thought that one was an option, but neither of us wanted to get back to the truck well after dark and then drive home. So we determined to see when we got to a predetermined location on the route out to decide if it would be one or two days.

Day Six:

Neither of us were moving too fast as we were both okay with the idea of two day back out. We hit the trail around 10:00 and headed back towards Fish Lake. We would still glass, but only with the binos and not the spotter. None were seen and we were happy with the progress we were making. We hit our benchmark spot well before the 3:00 mark that would have had us stopping for the night so we continued on to the pickup. An average of 2.2 mph out had us there in fine time, having gone around 16.5 miles. We ditched our boots and headed for a beer and a burger at the McLeod Bar. With our bellies full, back to Billings and a hot shower and a warm cozy bed!
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Plans for the next trip were already in the works. Horses the next time and another great hunting partner. More to come!
 

elkfishing

Member
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Montana
Well hunt three has come and gone. Did a one-day in-and-out dodging weather. This time it was with friend Brandon Flurry and his horses which were both good and not so good. Brandon is awesome. A very accomplished hunter and just a great guy to hang with. I have now had three great trips into the district with three great men to hunt and hang with!

There is not as much to talk about on this hunt, but it was still an amazing addition to the story that continues to build with this goat tag. Brandon and I spent the night in his camper ready to hit the trail before daybreak. Our ultimate goal was about 12.5 miles in, but we had numerous spots to glass before making it in that far. We both road and walked, maybe a 50/50 split between the two. Walking was truly a pure joy as I had both knees injected with cortisone on Wednesday. I was moving like days of old once again. Uphill, downhill, it did not matter, I was covering ground again!

Riding, on the other hand, was mostly good. The problem is the stress riding puts on the inside of your knees. So long as my horse was walking or only lightly trotting, no problem. But speed it up from there and soon a pain would develop on the inside of my left knee in particular. It is still tender today, but not too bad. I figured out riding positions that minimized this, but the real key was keeping the pace slower while riding. Still generally a plus.

The day consisted of walking, riding, and glassing. On the way in Brandon was sure that he saw two goats with his nocks near Flood Creek, but we were unable to verify with our spotters. We did about 90 minutes, so it wasn't for lack of trying. We continued on and eventually made it to our destination glassing location. We let the horses feed and began the trip out with the same strategy as we did on the way in after more glassing. It was near the same location as we had been in the morning that we were glassing for the two ghost goats when I spotted a lone billy. Quickly deploying our spotting scopes it was soon clear that this was not the goat for me. Somewhat immature and spindly-definitely lacking in the wow factor. Still, it was great to have another goat to talk about.

We continued to glass Cathedral Mountain until it was nearly dark. Back to the trail head, loaded up the horses, and away home we went.

We were originally planning on being in there for five days, but the snow continues to fall here in Billings, with maybe two feet hitting in the areas we were in. Oh well, it was still a momentous day.

I will be shifting my focus now to the opener of general big game season as I have three fellas showing up to hunt elk with me for the first week as well as taking my teen age boys. Depending on how that goes, we may get to shift to an impromptu goat hunt with them or not. Either way, this journey is by no means over. I have until November 29th and I will press on. Physically I'm doing great and mentally I am committed. I am not saying that I will not eat my tag in the end, but I am saying that it will only happen after a hard battle to avoid that.

Here's some pictures from yesterday.
 

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406dn

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
551
Good luck, without doubt you are putting in the work. It takes a bit of good fortune to close the deal. You are due for some.

The knee pain from the riding could be from several things. If my stirrups are too short, my knees will let me know it. It could be the rifle scabbard needs to be hung a bit lower, so your leg doesn't rest against it. It could be you put too much of your weight in the stirrups.

Again,, good luck.
 

elkfishing

Member
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
17
Location
Montana
Good luck, without doubt you are putting in the work. It takes a bit of good fortune to close the deal. You are due for some.

The knee pain from the riding could be from several things. If my stirrups are too short, my knees will let me know it. It could be the rifle scabbard needs to be hung a bit lower, so your leg doesn't rest against it. It could be you put too much of your weight in the stirrups.

Again,, good luck.
Thanks for the riding tips. I’m not too versed myself so I really appreciate your input.
 

6mm Remington

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
1,462
Location
Westen Montana
Sure am enjoying your pictures and adventure. Nice job describing it to us so we can be right there with you. Keep at it as we ALL are rooting for you. Sure pretty country. I was born in Columbus and have family that lived in and still live in Absarokee. We moved away from Columbus when I was 10 but my father and I still hunted around Columbus for a few years chasing deer and antelope. We also spent time up in the Beartooths and that country sure tugs at my heart strings. It's just beautiful. When we lived in Columbus we lived a few miles south of town on the road to Absarokee close to the Stillwater river.

Keep at it and hope you stay healthy to pull this off.
 

MTGomer

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
3,402
Location
MT —> AZ
You’ll get one.
There’s a lot of days left. Although, I think the number of days left to glass in t-shirts is zero.
It’s going to be pretty white up high for a while.

I bet the goats have beautiful hair by now.

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