My 1st Montana Deer tag is filled.

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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My goal this year was a Whitetail buck, Spent the spring and summer investigating spots that hold WT deer and putting a plan together, knowing I had OCT 28- NOV 19th off I knew I had the time to fulfill this dream. thinking about where I wanted to start my WT quest , my friend Ryan txt me and said he saw a 6x5 WT with drops on one of my river bottom pieces . Ryan tagged out opening weekend.

Ryan’s buck
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sunrise on day 1 Oct 29th
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sat the river bottom till 10am where the WT buck was seen the evening prior, nothing not even a doe was seen on my 1st morning

1st morning sit
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evening BMA spot , park and hike across the creek. look back towards my truck to see someone at my truck, WTF …. I head back towards my truck , I see an orange vest in his car I assume he’s looking for the sign in box .

Relaxed, I get back to hunting. The wind is blowing west to east the same way this property sits on the river. So I hug the east edge. As I get in the ground is littered with deer tracks and trails.

my hike on the BMA
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I look to get elevation and glass the property to look for a place to set up for the evening, getting higher what do I see but the same hunters that were at my truck 3 of them . They signed in and came back parked at my point , walked in and cut the property in half and got in front of me. SOB !!!! I’m thinking, thanks for stinking up half the property. I watch them to see where there going. It’s an older guy followed by a guy and a girl with rifles together walking single file and settling up in the next canyon father up.

My viewpoint
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I go higher and loop ahead of them to get to the far west end of the property and have the top river bottom corner all to myself. As I hike along the 1st canyon , I catch movement , deer ! I start to drop , a bedded deer turn his head to look my way , frozen in a half crouch , thinking I’m busted , he looks right at me for 60 seconds then turns his the other way and chews his cud.

I range him 87 yds, what a slam dunk, it’s a younger 4 point , but not a WT , I watch him for awhile just enjoying getting to share a hillside that close to a buck. But it’s time to move on so I stand up fast as I can , he missed my movement, so I yell HEY ! I’m coming over you better clear out ! His head snaps around and he just looks at me in wonderment , laying there for 30 sec staring me down before he stood up a did the four hoof hop into the distance.

My 87 yd bedded encounter
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I get to the next canyon, peek in , I see the same buck standing there broadside 100 yds , your sure are just asking to come home with me aint ya , it’s your lucky day buddy, I don’t want a mule deer , I take another pic and we part ways.
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I get to the last canyon no deer , drop in to find a spot to watch the river bottom for the evening, I find my 1st Montana dead head as I look for my set up
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last canyon & my evening sit.
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Oct 30th go out for an evening hunt on a different BMA as a possible WT spot , only saw a mule deer doe , but I saw a great horned owl and explored and old abandoned farm house in the middle of the BMA. I can’t resist exploring old stuff like this
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Oct 31st I pick a different river bottom spot I saw WT deer on prior to season , hike in before sunrise, sat all morning 2 different spots never saw a single deer , could also see adjacent farm land saw no deer out feeding on private either . the deer here got ghosty before sunrise.

hunt spots
#1
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#2
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Next I check out a state piece mid day never saw a deer , but wasn’t expecting to mid day , I hiked the piece to get a good feel for it , if I come back later in season , I did find parts of what was a porcupine , And went through his quills to get a few souvenirs.

Porky parts and quills
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Day hike
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I end Oct 31 driving over to the BMA I passed the mule deer on a few days earlier and sat the same river bottom, no deer

Nov 1, my wife’s day off she wants to hunt deer , after seeing no deer for 2 days , i head to a spot I’ve been looking at on ONX to see if I can get my wife on a buck, The second piece of BLM we did a small hike and kicked up 2 young mule bucks a spike and a forky , they spilt before i got wife set up.

my Tuesday hunt with the wife.
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that night thinking I’ve not seen a single WT deer on any spot of pubic in daylight in four days of hunting I need a change of scenery. I'd also come to the conclusion that a lot of the areas of public within a reasonable drive from Billings I’d seen WT on prior to season opening, after 2 weeks of hunting pressure has changed the deer behavior, so I decided to get a little farther from town and do an a overnight in my truck.

Nov 2nd I get to my location and do an evening hunt , Doesn’t take long and I kick up three whitetails and they takeoff when I get within 50 yards of them in this little patch of trees on this trail I’m hiking to get to my glassing spot I picked , I get excited , whitetails during daylight on public finally, The brush was thick enough that I couldn’t see their heads I just saw their three tails go up and they took off super silent but I was stoked. So I decide to go higher up on the hillside and get off the trail because I know there’s more patches of trees down by the creek bottom ahead of me like the whitetails that I just jumped were in.

Glassing down below me along the creek bottom I hit another patch the trees like the one below and I see another whitetail takeoff out of it when I get within 50 yards of it and I see it’s a doe as it crest's the hillside on the other side of the patch of trees , and I’m just all smiles and happy as can be. 4 whitetails now , I get to my glassing spot 1.63 miles in 2 more whitetails feed out below 174 yds both does, 6 whitetails now . It’s only a matter of time before I find a buck.

5 AM alarm goes off I hit snooze I wake up at 5:10 and decide to lay there till 530 , I look at the time , I’d fallen back asleep and its 6:13 I realize it’s snowing outside and that gets me a little excited, a truck comes down the road pulls in a guy with his pack and headlight on up the trail he goes.

I hike to the top of the first ridge and wait for sunrise , 30 min till 1st light will allow him to be an HR ahead and whatever he noise he made won’t matter when I drop into the canyon and start hunting behind him.

half mile in now , standing on the trail, I see movement out of the corner of my right eye at my 1 o’clock , buck my 1st thought , it’s on a trail next to the creek at 45 yds , lots of brush , I see bits and pieces of the body I’m sure I’ve seen antlers, make sure it’s a buck, I verify the antlers in my scope, the deer is walking at such a pace that in the seconds that I noticed it at my 1 o’clock it was already at my 4 o’clock at this point I’ve already got tunnel vision as you go into that zone in those moments before you pull the trigger. I see antlers in my scope knowing that this deer is going to be facing dead away from me in a matter of seconds with no vitals exposed it’s not a big one but I don’t care I got my WT , pow 💥, He drops over , I txt JCS got my first whitetail it’s a little one but I don’t care , I got one. JCS txt back he’s on his way to help with the pack out .

I get down into the brush and there he is I walk up to him , black tip tail , SOB !
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Seeing whitetails the day before it never even occurred to me to look for the species , I assumed it was a whitetail ,overcome with disappointment, I texted JCS , I shot a little mule deer buck ! I pulled the trigger i gotta own it, I struggle with the mixed emotions , now I got a wait a year before I can hunt for a Whitetail buck again, I cut n qtr and bag it up, JCS shows up with a frame pack as I am cutting the antlers off the skull. Seeing JCS the disappointment started to fade, it was a fun pack out , it’s my first Montana bucks so I’m never gonna forget it for the rest of my life but it did leave me with that feeling of unfinished business on the table but happy to be tagged out. In Six days of hunting I probably did 450 miles driving and 25 miles hiked

day 5 and 6

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JCS on scene
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Having issues, part of my story on how I found the old wagon is showing if I try to edit but won’t show if I save post, I’ll try to fix it at some point , I know writing this they were working on the server it must be a glitch
 
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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The wife is off starting tomorrow, so we’ll be back out in the field getting after it , she has a general season deer tag and a WT doe B tag as do I , so there will be an update to out 1st Montana deer season when it’s over , who knows maybe I will get a WT after all , just won’t have antlers this season ! Ha ha ha

And on the positive side that’s one less mule deer in my WT spot !

On a side note in addition to finding out I shot a mule deer, upon the processing in the field I found out I heart shot the buck and couldn’t eat the heart which is my favorite on deer and elk , it was a double whammy that morning
 
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WNC2500

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@OR Chris, I love how you take in everything that the hunt has to offer. It is not about the antlers, it is about the total experience, and you soak it all in. Proud of you brother!!
 

FoodIsMemories

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Looks like some cool BMAs out that way! Nothing in My neck for quality public so I know exactly what you mean on the “get away from town and overnight in the truck” lol You shoulda shot that bigger mule deer that was beggin for it 😂🤣😫

BUT I also know how it is to pass mega (30”) muleys because you WANT A WT! 😂

That’s too bad, but it’s awesome that you got deer meat in the freezer and you got antlers for decoration. Hopefully a tradition to carry on each year!! ✌🏽
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Looks like some cool BMAs out that way! Nothing in My neck for quality public so I know exactly what you mean on the “get away from town and overnight in the truck” lol You shoulda shot that bigger mule deer that was beggin for it 😂🤣😫

BUT I also know how it is to pass mega (30”) muleys because you WANT A WT! 😂

That’s too bad, but it’s awesome that you got deer meat in the freezer and you got antlers for decoration. Hopefully a tradition to carry on each year!! ✌🏽

Yeah I’m 5 foot 7 1/2 and what the backseat of a Tacoma is maybe 5 feet if you’re lucky I was sleeping sideways all curled up in every hour and a half to two hours I wake up because something in my arm and my leg fell asleep and was tingling and I have to roll over and stretch out and if I put my feet against the window eventually they would get cold even through the sleeping bag but it was a hell of an overnight trip , Plus it has been a long time since I’ve camped so getting to have a fire and drink some beers down by the river was fun and then there was two beers left over in the creek so when JCS and I got out from packing out that deer I went and pulled those out of the creek and we sat in the truck and BS and had some good laughs.

Had that mule deer been an upgrade I would’ve pulled the trigger without even hesitating I got a average 4 x 4 on my last mule deer hunt in eastern Oregon back in 2019 but that buck was about the same size and thickness as my Oregon buck and I was a mile in when I found him on opening day of my Hunt so I’m like it’s nope I got three weeks to go, when I sent a picture to Ryan he’s like you might regret not shooting that buck I’m like no I won’t and that was that was the hardest part for me was it wasn’t the size of the deer it was the realization it wasn’t a Whitetail and my hunt was over and I had a whole Nother year to think about whitetails. My deer this year is my 4th Mule deer

My 2019 Oregon Muley
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Great write up. Have never hunted where there are both muleys and whitetails, I’ve only encountered them in seperate, very different environments.

And going into my Hunt and being my first year in Montana that was the same information that I had come to understand but in this valley that I hunted I shot that mule deer just a couple hundred yards where I kicked up three white tails the evening before, And then those few short seconds of when you see that buck and he’s in the brush partially hidden and I saw six white tails the day before a mule deer was the farthest thing from my mind I got tricked but he won’t fool me next year will he ! Ha ha ha ha 😂🤣 , but also going forward it’s one of those things a lesson that you can only learn in hunting, I’ll never assume when I’m hunting in there again what I’m looking at or what I thinks there until I take that extra second and a half to look at some ears or tail
 

FoodIsMemories

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Yeah I’m 5 foot 7 1/2 and what the backseat of a Tacoma is maybe 5 feet if you’re lucky I was sleeping sideways all curled up in every hour and a half to two hours I wake up because something in my arm and my leg fell asleep and was tingling and I have to roll over and stretch out and if I put my feet against the window eventually they would get cold even through the sleeping bag but it was a hell of an overnight trip , Plus it has been a long time since I’ve camped so getting to have a fire and drink some beers down by the river was fun and then there was two beers left over in the creek so when JCS and I got out from packing out that deer I went and pulled those out of the creek and we sat in the truck and BS and had some good laughs.

Had that mule deer been an upgrade I would’ve pulled the trigger without even hesitating I got a average 4 x 4 on my last mule deer hunt in eastern Oregon back in 2019 but that buck was about the same size and thickness as my Oregon buck and I was a mile in when I found him on opening day of my Hunt so I’m like it’s nope I got three weeks to go, when I sent a picture to Ryan he’s like you might regret not shooting that buck I’m like no I won’t and that was that was the hardest part for me was it wasn’t the size of the deer it was the realization it wasn’t a Whitetail and my hunt was over and I had a whole Nother year to think about whitetails. My deer this year is my 4th Mule deer

My 2019 Oregon Muley
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That’s funny! Haha I dig it though!!
glad you had some help, and someone to sip the celebratory beer with.
Even if it’s that guy 🙄 (kidding JLS)
Thats the part that means the world to me most times. (Except when I’m alone and have to drink em both 😂)
I’ve never shot a mule deer, this will be my fifth year trying for whitetail, I’ve gotten one every year until now. At this point, I might take a muley, but its incredibly hard for me to talk myself into it… and I rarely have someone to hunt with egging me on..

You got your wife’s tags and plenty of time to still see where the actions at, and make solid plans for next fall to the whiteys. Big congrats, partner
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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That’s funny! Haha I dig it though!!
glad you had some help, and someone to sip the celebratory beer with.
Even if it’s that guy 🙄 (kidding JLS)
Thats the part that means the world to me most times. (Except when I’m alone and have to drink em both 😂)
I’ve never shot a mule deer, this will be my fifth year trying for whitetail, I’ve gotten one every year until now. At this point, I might take a muley, but its incredibly hard for me to talk myself into it… and I rarely have someone to hunt with egging me on..

You got your wife’s tags and plenty of time to still see where the actions at, and make solid plans for next fall to the whiteys. Big congrats, partner

Don’t confuse JLS from JCS ! Ha ha ha I’m hanging with JCS , we got 2 HT guys with almost the same handle 😆 and having JCS Show up for the pack out definitely help take a lot of the sting out of my mistake of shooting that mule deer and made for a more enjoyable memory to my hunt this year
 

FoodIsMemories

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Don’t confuse JLS from JCS ! Ha ha ha I’m hanging with JCS , we got 2 HT guys with almost the same handle 😆 and having JCS Show up for the pack out definitely help take a lot of the sting out of my mistake of shooting that mule deer and made for a more enjoyable memory to my hunt this year
Thanks for catching that! I didn’t know that at all! I wonder if I have been picking fights with them both thinking it’s the same dude!? 😂🤣🙄 OOPS!
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Thanks for catching that! I didn’t know that at all! I wonder if I have been picking fights with them both thinking it’s the same dude!? 😂🤣🙄 OOPS!

I never really noticed it either until I got to Montana and JCS gave me a p.m. because he lives in the area , And we’re about the same age and so we’ve been spending time hanging out and then since then Im like wait who posted that ? JCS keeps a lower profile and dosent post as much
 

FoodIsMemories

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I never really noticed it either until I got to Montana and JCS gave me a p.m. because he lives in the area , And we’re about the same age and so we’ve been spending time hanging out and then since then Im like wait who posted that ? JCS keeps a lower profile and dosent post as much
Totally lol.. big oopsy on my part so glad you pointed that out😂

I’d guess I’m probably 10 years your junior but if you’re ever in a pickle I got a buddy by the metra kinda, he’s a good dude and if I asked him for a favor he’d be there in a flash to help. He’s no outdoorsman, but he’s a man’s man. Lol good talking to you Chris! Maybe one day we’ll get to together and enjoy a hunt and that celebratory beer! 🍻

I Look forward to seeing the rest of your your hunting season!
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Totally lol.. big oopsy on my part so glad you pointed that out😂

I’d guess I’m probably 10 years your junior but if you’re ever in a pickle I got a buddy by the metra kinda, he’s a good dude and if I asked him for a favor he’d be there in a flash to help. He’s no outdoorsman, but he’s a man’s man. Lol good talking to you Chris! Maybe one day we’ll get to together and enjoy a hunt and that celebratory beer! 🍻

I Look forward to seeing the rest of your your hunting season!

Sounds good to me , I’m in my early 50’s and do a lot of CrossFit to stay in hunt shape during the off season , I’m Always up for adventure, I’ll come down south , my close friends all went to region 7 a few years back twice in a row and all filled there tags. Deer and a speed goat or 2
 
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