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Mountain Whitetail Hunting, Reflection - New Year, New Adventures.

Sytes

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
10,485
Location
Montana
I've enjoyed my time in NW MT and specifically the unique hunt of mountain whitetails.

I gained some good info - reflective of continuing the same habits and expecting different results. Hah! Seems a no-brainer an adjustment is necessary though it took a while to chance changing my comfort... though I've had much more success since.

One aspect, that held great value specific to mountain whitetail... I'm a go-go-go hunter. Have to get to my next OnX location...
Was hunting with a good retired hunt buddy once who figuratively had to yank my collar! Haha! I wanted to get to a certain location to glass, he shared take a few seconds (or more) every 50 yards or less and just look around. This has been my biggest peeve though it's amazing how many more deer stood out since practicing this simple action.
I know, likely a common sense hunter function though for me - it was one of those habits changed and found different results.
It applies with all big game though seems my hunt for mountain whitetail, this was epic.

Anyhow, a good podcast that assisted my mountain whitetail hunts.

https://www.eastmeetswesthunt.com/p...ess-hunting-mountain-bucks-with-nathan-killen

I attached a PDF reviewed over the course of years: "Ecology of White-tailed Deer in the Salish Mountains". For those interested in the high country whitetails.

Finish off - I'm not a guru by any means. I'm an average Joe hunter though really enjoy the whitetail up high outside the lowland, river bottom deer. The latter are goto tag fillers when my mountain search didn't pan out. Reflecting on past hunts... usually a mix of elk and deer in the hunt though seemed mountain whitetail always held a special place in NW MT.
It's interesting - now that I'm leaving this gem of an area for, "greener pastures", I'm also realizing how complacent my hunts have become. Thinking of returning to MT as a NR - I feel the need to capitalize on my time away from work. As I leave, this seems more and more a self ass kick and another one of those, "same habit expecting different results". Complacency of my Resident status is its own downfall.

Meh, reflection - best to all and your hunts. Onto a new year and new adventures. I'm looking forward to a more devoted hunt intent as a NR. So much vested for the time permitted.

Happy New Year all! Best to your future hunts!

Couple prior threads worth their weight for Mountain Whitetails:


 

Attachments

  • whiteTailInSalishResearchArvhice.pdf
    9.7 MB · Views: 32

Pagosa

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 13, 2011
Messages
1,293
Location
Montana
I hate to hear your leaving Gods Country, where are you moving too? I’ve shot a handful of mountain whitetail and the biggest ones I got involved a lot of luck of being at the right place at the right time. And slowly covering ground while trying to be quiet. I’ve seen a handful of bruisers after the season in December while cat hunting or working remotely, so I know they are out there. I’ve had my best luck from November 10th and after.
I was working most of last year out of Montana in northern MN, so I know how difficult it is being gone and not hunting a entire season. Hopefully you and your family adjust to the new location, and it’s a nice beautiful area with normal housing prices. Preston
 

Kiwi

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,673
Location
New Zealand
Good luck with your move and thanks for the info. I have downloaded the podcast and will listen to that today. I’m planning to hunt MT deer next year and targeting mountian whitetail would be awesome. I’ve shot two in river bottoms in WY but will try hunting the mountains for more of a challenge / adventure.
 

westbranch

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
919
Location
ID Panhandle
Mountain whitetails have frustrated the hell out of me the last few years. Saw more deer this year than the last few, including an ok buck I couldn't get a shot at. So at least I appear to be improving. Have found a few lower pressure, more backcountry areas I want to spend more time in. Definitely need to slow down. And finding some goto tag filling spots is definitely needed. Thank you for the research link, love reading that stuff.


Good luck on your move!
 

Sytes

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2009
Messages
10,485
Location
Montana
Definitely need to slow down.
Hah, Absolutely! I felt my initial counted 50 controlled paces (rough yardage) was a reasonable / quiet speed before I stopped to view.
Since then, the distance habit is sticking and counting paces is a training of the past.
Sure, I'm still viewing /spotting game as I move though I was internally embarrassed at the animals I missed from my past practice.
Still busting game on occasion though the difference is measurable.
 

Griztrax

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
158
Location
Helena, MT
Good discussion. I was a hardcore mountain whitetail hunter for a short window in the early 90's which I refer to as the glory days of mountain whitetail hunting in NW Montana. The Forest Service and private timber companies especially were clear cutting entire sections of land which turned into feeding grounds for whitetails and other ungulates. The deer numbers were high, the age structure was perfect, food was plentiful and we had not started to see wolf expansion yet. I consider myself blessed to have been able to hunt NW Montana back then.

Then the winter of 1996/97 dropped a bomb on that country and depending on who you talk to, the herd was reduced by as much as 75%. I hunted one day that fall in the only tree stand I could get to which was 100 yards off a plowed road and it took me a half hour to get to. By mid November the snow was above my waste. I mercifully killed a typical 6x6 that morning and had to aim through the snow as the deer's entire body was covered in snow - just a head sticking up. Hiking in the spring of 1997 was not for the weak as wintering areas were littered with carcasses.

It was the late 90's that brought an end to massive timber harvest in that country and those units that had been cut started regenerating and could no longer be hunted. Wolves began to expand throughout the state which changed deer behavior significantly. Whitetail populations have never recovered to where they were in the early 90's but they appear to have stabilized at a reasonable level and hunters are still killing some awesome bucks up there. I am seriously considering returning to my old stomping grounds to see if I can rekindle my search for a mature mountain whitetail. I do not have the patience to still hunt the timber but for some reason I do have the patience to sit in a stand so my plan is to spend time there this summer and get some stands in place. Having good friends who still live in that area will be huge for me. I'm so looking forward to it!!
 
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