Montana Hunting Season 2020

HuntingJudge

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
80
Well, I had a great year with the kids this hunting season, I Figured I would post a few pictures and tell a couple stories, maybe someone would like to read through them or look at the pictures on a December afternoon.

The year started out Crazy finding out we are adding a baby to the mix. My daughter is 15 and son is 14 so, I was a little surprised that a new one was coming along. Coaching Baseball and Football, helping my pregnant wife as much as possible really cut down on the early season plans of fishing and messing around with my bow. Our new little addition was born Late September and that was just a couple weeks before the youth hunting season started here in Montana. I was running late this year with all the baby stuff going on and couldn’t find ammo for either of my kids guns ( I know My fault). Finally found some and it was off to sight in before the youth season. Next year I will spend more time with the kids shooting but that is a story for a little later.

My Daughter is usually done the first day of youth season, she likes to shoot her deer, and go into High School basketball, knowing she helped provide meat for the family. My son is the opposite he wants to shoot big bucks. He is a bit of a trophy hunter and she is a meat hunter and I respect both of their decisions for why they like to hunt.

Opening morning did not go quite as planned. We were busted by a doe getting into the spot 5 minutes before shooting light. Fantastic, had the entire creek bottom in a whirlwind deer running everywhere. We got up to our fence post we like to sit overlooking the drainage and I was looking at some deer a couple hundred yards away when my daughter whispered there is a buck. I slowly turned and glassed a nice deer moving away at a couple hundred yards. I set her up to shoot and she said my son should shoot that one because it was a big deer. By this time the deer was working out past 200 yards. My son set up on the deer and let a shot out at 250. The deer did not do anything. Looked around and started trotting away. All of a sudden took a strong right-hand turn and worked back towards the creek a half mile away. I watched the deer bed down and we made another plan. I told both of them that this was a good deer. I have been hunting a while and a good deer to me is pushing the 160” mark. I told them both that when we set up on the deer the first one that has the deer in the scope can shoot. Well we snuck in and I found the deer bedded in some buck brush. 225 yards. Both of the kids laid down and had their guns on their packs. My son found the deer first. Went to adjust the scope for more power and lost it, then my daughter was on it, but did not have a bullet in. this went on different issues for at least two minutes when the deer stood up. I heard boom, then another, and another, this happened 7 times between them. They were out of bullets at the deer looked at us then trotted away. We saw lots more deer this weekend and the next but never were able to get a good shot.

I like to call this first picture the walk of shame, we also got hit with a heck of a snow storm the first two weeks of general season if I remember right.
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It was a couple days before the weather cleared up, the first weekend of general rifle season was another blizzard, and we went out but could see much of anything for the first day. The second day we went and found three decent bucks bedded down, We had a great stalk. And were within 200 yards of the deer. I set them both up, but the snow was too deep for the bipods on my sons’ gun, and my daughter was still worried about missing so that didn’t work out at all.

My Daughter was having some issues this season. She is a bit of a perfectionist and was upset she missed a deer a few days back. She was in her head pretty bad. Even had some tears because she was not providing for the family like she thought she had to. I just told her I would pick up a extra Doe tag when I head to the breaks if she does not shoot a deer its not a issue in the world. We decided that it was a great idea to skip school one day, my son couldn’t go because of a basketball game. She was so happy it was just her and I, daddy daughter hunt. We arrived at a spot she has had a bunch of luck at in the past and today was her day. I saw a buck working across the private and we made a plan to sneak down and get behind a little hill the deer looked like they were angling at. I just told her that there are no bad thoughts on this stalk. We arrived at the spot just as the deer were passing by. I put her up on the shooting sticks and she made a great shot on her biggest buck. The morning was beautiful, and spending time with her was on of the best days I had hunting all season. She helped gut the deer and wanted to game cart it back to the truck all by herself. It was still very early in the morning by the time we got back to the truck. I asked her if she wanted to go home and get to school. Her answer was no I just want to spend time with you today, so we went to the lake and had some lunch. We hunted for most of the rest of the day. I asked her if she wanted me to European the deer for her being it was her biggest. She said no she just wanted the horns cut off and the skull plate wrapped with string like I have done to her previous bucks. She hangs her necklaces off the horns on her wall. she also loves taking der selfies
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HuntingJudge

Active member
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Jan 10, 2019
Messages
80
Now it is time to get ready for my annual hunt in eastern Montana. This year was going to be a great year my son decided he wanted to go with us. He is 14 and I thought it was a good time for him to go. I usually meet up with my brother our family’s place in Helena, and we spend a few days getting things packed and ready. This season I picked up a 14x14 wall tent on a trade for $100 and a old pair of binos. We made a frame this summer and also a camp stove out of scraps in the garage. We left on Monday, getting to our spot and setting up the same place we did the previous year it felt like home. It took us a long time to get out there this season not being able to leave at 4 Am and having truck issues in one of the vehicles. Day one was in the books we had camp set up and excited to get out to our favorite area the next morning.

Day two: Well that did not go as planned. We arrived at the block management we were going to hunt and started to leave the truck when another truck pulled up. I talked to the guy from Texas and told him that we were going to hunt the rim of the canyon. He told me they wanted to get a mile and a half back in before starting hunting. I told him that was all good with me but if he could walk around the rim and not skyline that would be great. Well that didn’t happen at light they decided to walk right in the same way we did and walk around the rim skylining the whole way. This is a spot that we usually don’t see many people at. At most I have seen 3 other hunters in there besides our group. Today there was 22, that made me nervous about how the next few days were going to go. That evening while waiting on a good buck we spotted to work onto public land a group of does started working our way. A few minutes later we were looking at 5 does and a small buck at 90 yards. I looked at my brother and we decided not to not be greedy at a gift. My son shot one of the does and we were on the board. When we go out east, we usually have a doe tag or two. I know many people are upset about the amount of doe tags out there but I have come to realize that this is what my family lives on. We don’t buy red meat in the store, if we do its from a local rancher and have it processed locally.
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Day three: a better day in the morning we decided to walk a creek drainage from where I wanted to start it was a 8 mile walk, we split it up in two parts and group high one group low. I was in the lower group and we were more just hunting for meat. I spotted a buck pushing a mile away and a group of does a half mile away, we dropped in the creek bottom and made a play on the does. If we could shoot two of them that was going to be plenty for us for the morning. The does spooked I let my son make the stalk on his own when we got close, he does not have much experience, and this is a good way to teach him. The stalk was blown on the does but the buck was still hanging out on huntable land, actually crossed the field and went with another group. We snuck in and I found the buck. The shot was long and both of the people I was hunting with were not able to make the shot. I set up the bipods and let the shot ring out. Missed, put another one in and hit the deer hard. Walked up and finished him off. It was great having my son with me on a nice-looking deer. We met up with my brother back at the truck and he had shot a doe not seeing a buck that morning. Deer numbers were weird this season. We were seeing at least a 50-1 ratio on Does to Bucks. It is normally half that. That was all the excitement for day three. Back at camp my son was getting home sick and I talked to the guys about it. We decided to talk to him at dinner and give him the option to have grandpa come up and get him the next day or he can stay. We just talked about how sometimes in life things are not comfortable, and by pushing through those things you become a better person. He decided to give it one more day.
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Day four: we had a fun day on day four, deciding to go look at a few new spots because areas were not holding bucks like they had in the past. Right off the bat in the morning we found a group of deer and snuck in to them 50 yards, couldn’t see the entire deer because of the hill and the grass. A little buck spotted us and they booked it out of the area. 20 minutes after getting back into the truck and finding a piece of state land my son said there is a buck. My brother and son snuck in on the deer but he was 10 yards on the other side of a fence that was off the state piece. Later in the morning we found another buck, smaller but my son decided that he wanted to make a stalk with his uncle again. They snuck to 300 yards and the buck stood up. He made a great shot and had his buck for the year. When we got up to the deer he was a little disappointed in it but I told him that he had a great hunting season had chances at really nice deer and when you are done hunting its ok. He should be proud of all the hunting he has done this season. Usually they both my kids are done in the first week. He had done many things while we were out there. Learned how to deal with vehicle issues, changed a flat tire for the first time, started a fire in the stove every night, toughed it out through some cold times. He did a great job. That night one of the guys we hunted with got back to camp a few hours after dark with a beautiful 4 point he had shot 7 miles into some BLM. Three of the five bucks were down.

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Day five and six were fun days just hunting around for some more bucks and a couple does. My brother was making a sneak on some does when he found his buck and shot a nice 4 point. Our other friend struggled hunting he is a elk hunter that normally hunts timber, he has shot very few deer in his life but many elk. It was an experience for him taking two does.

This season I saw more deer in my home area than I have since I moved this way. Even with odd numbers of deer out east there was still plenty of laughs and plenty of learning experiences. I love hunting with my kids, and am so appreciative they love hunting with me as well. I am excited for next year and hopefully it brings many memories as did this season. here are a few pictures of the deer hunt. I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday season!!!

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cahunter805

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May 27, 2014
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Great write up and congrats to everyone involved and a full freezer.
Just curious what’s the tape for on your sons rifle?
 

HuntingJudge

Active member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
80
Great write up and congrats to everyone involved and a full freezer.
Just curious what’s the tape for on your sons rifle?
so what happened is that the magazine, would come loose every shot, and you could not get another one in unless you snapped it back. I read an article that in dangerous game hunting the guide/professional hunter would duct tape all magazines in so that kind of malfunction could not happen. It worked for the season and then this summer I will get it to a gun smith and have them bend the piece bent back/ replace what needs to be done.
 

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