Montana Saga

TRS_Montana

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 19, 2014
Messages
758
Location
Helena
I finally figured out how to post pictures on here and since my September Fridays are usually spent trying to temper the constant rush of adrenaline from imagining the upcoming weekend's elk encounters instead of getting much work done, I decided I would post a few pictures from the last couple of years.
My wife and I moved to Montana in 2011. Those first few years, I did very little to manage any elk herds, although I was a consistent donor to FWP. Finally, in 2013, I feel like I started to get the hang of it (losing about 45 pounds probably didn’t hurt). Three things I no longer go into the field without are 1) an “elky” destination at least 2 miles away from any road; 2) a good headlamp; 3) a gps. Obviously, there are other items that are essential, but I feel like these three things have really turned things around for me.
After a couple of years shooting deer, birds, and an antelope, I finally shot my first elk (with a slug gun).
On the morning of November 1, I found myself sitting in a clearing wincing to see through a heavy fog as first light approached. I heard a faint bugle about 300 yards into the timber to my left. Since the wind was blowing that direction, I backed out and circled downwind of where I thought I had heard the bugle. After about 3/4ths of a mile, I cut fresh tracks. I gave a soft mew and immediately heard two bulls bugle and a series of mews and chirps about 500-600 yards in front of me. As I was closing the distance, I realized that the elk had fed out of the timber and were in a wide open draw. I knew it would be tough to get close enough for a shot with a shotgun. As I reached the edge of the timber, tan ghosts started to materialize against the snow laden hillside about 200 yards in front of me. Wishing I had a rifle, I laid down and started crawling (painstakingly slowly) toward the closest cow in the herd. I could see two bulls about 450 yards in front of me that were just going nuts; the way they were bugling, running around, and bucking, you would have thought it was the middle of September. As they were putting on a show, I continued to slowly close the gap, keeping my eye on that closest cow. As I was getting closer to her, I looked to my left and saw that another cow had come out of the timber at about 150 yards. I changed my trajectory and started a face first decent down the draw. This lasted for maybe 3-4 minutes when something (obviously not me, I’m a ninja) got the herd nervous. My girl took two frantic steps and then stopped to look at the rest of the herd. She hadn’t spotted or smelled me yet and was trying to figure out what was making everyone so jumpy. I knew I had to act quickly. I managed to find her in my vortex shotgun scope and lowered the crosshairs onto the top of her shoulder. I had zeroed in at 50 yards, so I knew the slug was going to drop. Man, that thing dropped a good 2 feet and I got lucky I filled my tag that morning! I hit about 6-10 inches up from the brisket and luckily broke both shoulders, which put her down on the spot. I always have a really hard time watching those last few breaths leave an animals lungs, but I was absolutely ecstatic to have notched my first elk tag. I had also been abstaining from eating any elk until I shot my own, and man did that girl taste delicious.
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Here are pictures of my 2012 antelope, 2013 bear, and 2014 cow elk.

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Nameless Range

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
4,622
Location
Western Montana
Great story and pictures. Getting an elk with a slug gun is quite an accomplishment, and is a pretty sweet way to get you first. Your 2014 cow looks like a big one.
 

MT_elk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
2,765
Location
MT
Great pics and congrats! Looks like you've got the hang of it!
 

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