Missouri Breaks 410 Rifle

KG406

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Aug 8, 2014
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Montana
Well my father finally drew the 410-20 elk tag! I have been lurking on here for a very long time, definitely my favorite forum! I figured this was a good opportunity to finally say hi and maybe narrow down a starting point, save a few days of scouting.

A quick introduction of myself: Montana born and raised, grew up in Columbia Falls, spent a while in Bozeman, and now in Billings. I have hunted both archery and rifle all over the state including 4 weeks of 2010 season in the breaks unit 622, but am yet to explore this south side.

So here are my questions for anyone willing to share personal experience:
1. When hunting 622 I noticed 2nd week of rifle was great because the initial rush of cow & deer hunters had thinned out drastically, the elk were much easier to locate and more at ease for stalking. Should I expect a similar situation in 410?
2. What is a realistic class of bull to hold out for. I am already hearing the “oh you should be able to get a 400 bull easy in there, my uncle/brother/cousin……..”. I heard the same stuff in 622, but after glassing up bulls for 4 weeks, only a couple were truly over 330.
3. And the question you knew was coming, where should I start looking? Not looking for honey holes or anything, and I have already began scouring the maps and google earth. But just curious if anyone is willing to point me in a direction to begin. Any portion of the district that seems to have denser population, bigger bulls, anything like that.

He doesn’t archery hunt so will be waiting for the rifle season. I will do a weekend trip up there within the next month for some shed hunting and begin familiarizing myself with the area, followed by several trips throughout the summer. My archery season will be spent elsewhere however. We will probably do a one week hunt earlier in the season, followed by weekend trips if necessary. He is not a huge trophy hunter, but I will be pushing him to make the most of this opportunity.

I am aware that there are plenty of elk but also plenty of pressure, and like anywhere once we get where most others don’t we will find the elk. I have also spent many hours scouring through old posts on multiple forums for info on this unit, mostly prior to ever applying for the tag, but didn’t turn up much useful information. And I will soon be contacting FWP biologist for any info as well. I apologize for a thread that has been posted hundreds of times, and for my first post to be requesting info! Hopefully I covered all my bases with this long winded post. Thanks in advance.
 

mtlion

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Hamilton, MT
I've never hunted it but have spent a lot of time there and have a friend who is from the area that took a 347 bull during archery a few years ago, and another who ended up with a rag the end of the season. This is pure speculation on my part, I can't say what would happen if I had the tag in pocket but I think I'd shoot a 320 6x6 on that tag with a smile on my face. But, I'm a die hard realist and a bird in the hand kind of guy.
 

Duck-Slayer

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great state of Idaho....
I'm the meat in the freezer kind of guy, horns you can't eat.... :) any 320 or so 6 point or a bull with some character would be getting it with my bow.....
Matt
 

Cornell2012

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I had a breaks tag when I was in high school. My bull scored around 350 and I'm still quite proud of it. There are almost certainly larger ones out there, but holding out for a 400+ seems...ambitious at best.
 

double_a85

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Apr 30, 2014
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Roundup, MT
So here are my questions for anyone willing to share personal experience:
1. When hunting 622 I noticed 2nd week of rifle was great because the initial rush of cow & deer hunters had thinned out drastically, the elk were much easier to locate and more at ease for stalking. Should I expect a similar situation in 410?
2. What is a realistic class of bull to hold out for. I am already hearing the “oh you should be able to get a 400 bull easy in there, my uncle/brother/cousin……..”. I heard the same stuff in 622, but after glassing up bulls for 4 weeks, only a couple were truly over 330.
3. And the question you knew was coming, where should I start looking? Not looking for honey holes or anything, and I have already began scouring the maps and google earth. But just curious if anyone is willing to point me in a direction to begin. Any portion of the district that seems to have denser population, bigger bulls, anything like that.

1. It's been my experience all Breaks units are that way-- heavy pressure the first week then it really thins out. I have hunted 410, 621, and 622.
2. If your dad isn't a trophy hunter then he can shoot whatever will make him happy! I had a Breaks rifle tag last year and shot a 4x6 and couldn't have been more happy. I had him Euro'd and he is on the wall. The best part of him is that the steaks have been amazingly tender as well! I go along with Mtlion's thinking... a bird in the hand....
3. If you have spent anytime in the Breaks, you know that pretty much anywhere is good country. Lots of CMR, BLM, and Block Management in 410. Do you have access to a jet boat? That will open up some country as well.

Welcome to the forum. I found this forum last year after I started researching my Breaks tag. Since then, I have learned a wealth of information from accomplished hunters on this site.
 

Lawnboy

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Nov 2, 2008
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Bozeman, Montana
I am already hearing the “oh you should be able to get a 400 bull easy in there, my uncle/brother/cousin……..”.

.

That's because most folks can't tell the difference between a 330 bull and a 380 bull. You'll also hear them say "yea but look at those whale tails". Sure it has a nice split on the back or long fourths. The brow tines are only 13 inches, the thirds are non existent and there is no beam length or mass.

You sound like you know what you're looking for and too be honest if you see a bull and your dad gets all excited what else could you ask for. Don't let someone else convince you otherwise. I'm hoping you shoot a 380 bull. I'm sure there's a handful of them roaming around out in that country.
 

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
I used to spend a substantial amount of time in the Breaks and I've never seen anything close to a 400 and would have wet myself if I had. I get excited for raghorns so I know I'd be punching my tag on one of the first bulls I see.

Show him this picture. If he gets excited then I think you'll have a good hunt.
 

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Big Fin

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I had a breaks tag when I was in high school. My bull scored around 350 and I'm still quite proud of it. There are almost certainly larger ones out there, but holding out for a 400+ seems...ambitious at best.

Lucky cuss.

Matthew 2005 MT elk.JPG

To Lawnboy's point, many who saw this bull in our camp were saying "easy 380 bull" and other high score statements. Most people who are saying what you have hear probably have never seen a 350 bull. When this bull was scouted, I was guessing 360, based on seeing its good side. It grossed right at 350 and netted 330+, due to some palmation on the other side that created some symmetry issues. Some happy guys when this one hit the deck.

Point being, shoot the bull that makes the tagholder happy and call it a great hunt. We had heard the same things when Matthew drew this tag. You would have expected a B&C bull behind every juniper, from the rumors. A couple days of advance scouting really helped see just what was available. Always a few good ones get taken, but those are the rare exception. Some really nice bulls, but unless you have a lucky horseshoe or can hunt every day of season, odds of a jumbo-sized bull are low.

Good luck. It is a really fun hunt if you get off the roads and trails.
 

KG406

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Aug 8, 2014
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Location
Montana
Thank you all for the replies. And I completely agree with some of your comments on peoples scoring, the majority of field judgments I’ve heard run about 50 inches high haha. As I figured, it sounds like I can expect similar hunting to 622, which was some of the most fun hunting I have ever experienced. He will be happy with any mature 6 point, and absolutely ecstatic with a 320, but I just wanted to hear your thoughts. He will have a hard time passing up the raghorns at first, so hopefully some scouting trips will help him realize the potential! I cannot wait to get out there and start exploring, and hope keep updating this thread as the year progresses.
 

phutch30

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Dec 3, 2008
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SW MT
I spent 27 days looking for a true breaks monster in 2013. Saw LOTS of 6x6's, up to 20 a day, but usually closer to 10. I passed 4 or 5 honest 350class bulls early in rifle season. Passed up a bull standing on the side of the rd that was shot by someone else that went 367. Shoulda coulda woulda on a group of 7 bulls with 2 in the 360 class (still regret that screwup)....My point being I looked over a lot of nice elk, over 130 6pnts. I never saw a bull that was 370 or bigger. I saw dozens of bulls in the 330-340 class.

If your in decent shape, have the time and know how to field judge big elk, I think a 350 bull is totally within reach. If you can, go up 4 or 5 days early and scout, bulls are still hanging with cows, and finding them is pretty easy, I do it. Find a winner and camp on him. After opening day, the first week is pretty busy, then things calm down more and more thru the season. Weekends get busy.

Hope for snowy cold weather and find the post rut bull groups ( old burns are good areas). Get good binos and a spotting scope and use them.

Great tag!!

334 gross, last friday of the season....missing a browtine and had crazy short 43" main beams. Both of which I failed to notice. G2s and G4s are 20 or better.

breakselk11.jpg
 
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Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
...missing a browtine and had crazy short 43" main beams. Both of which I failed to notice
So, on last Friday of the season would you have passed on him if you had noticed.

'Have to say ... I certainly would not have. That's a great bull.
 

Wapiti Warrior

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Feb 24, 2011
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Billings, Montana
Not to rain on your parade, but last year they issued 100 either sex tags. There has NEVER been that many either sex rifle tags issued for 410 in one year. They also issued the same this year. I saw several 5x5 and rag horns in back of trucks. Talked to a few hunters who were holding out for the "big one" and they had only seen small 6x6's. I am not saying there aren't any decent bulls up there, but it isn't like it use to be 10,15, 20 years ago. Hope you find the one good one and have a great hunt.
John
 

Art Vandeley

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Dec 12, 2011
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Great Falls, MT
Every person I show a picture of my bull from 2012 says its 340 or better. Tape says doesn't make 300. Still a beauty in my eyes and a hunt I'll never forget with a good college buddy.
 

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Highwood

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Feb 19, 2015
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Judith Basin MT
I have hunted deer and Elk in every unit around the lake except the East side.
I think the 600's North side holds the largest bulls. (better chance to grow old)
The Bulls that Plutch and MT Muley show are above average for the rifle hunt in 410.There are a few bigger, lots smaller. Congrats on the draw and good luck.
 

Chucknduck

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Jan 30, 2015
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Montana
These limited tags can be what ever you want to make them. It's up to the tag holder to shoot a bigger than average bull or chance eating the tag to get a monster. I had a limited tag three years ago and hunted hard all archery season. Started running out of time off work so dropped my expectations to a 320 bull. Passed up 30 or so Bulls opening week of rifle. Ended up shooting a 300 bull. Thought he was bigger. I got pretty good at scoring Bulls that year but in the heat of the moment judgment can get skewed. I passed on bigger. I have no retreats as it was one of my funest year hunting.

Go hunt some great country look at lots of bulls and have fun
 
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