My 2nd Montana walkabout … whitetails ?

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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I’m finally starting to get out and about and get some Montana dirt under my boots, even though I’ve been in Montana for five months when I transferred here I had to take a night shift position and it was very hard on me, and when I did have a day off you’re up all night in the middle of the night with nothing to do, finally was able to get a swingshift position and so now on my days off I’m up during the daytime and the last two weeks I’ve made the most of it.

Last Thursday I got out on a chunk of BLM for my 1st Montana Hike , I just picked out randomly off the map and did an 8.5 mile hike in and out saw 4 Elk and 10 deer and picked up my first Montana mule deer shed and I posted those pics on the Sunday pic of the day thread.

In Oregon I got to hunt Blacktails and Mule deer and was blessed to have been able to harvest both species. And whitetails is something I never have gotten to do and that is at the top of my list for this year. And so today was going out and poking around in an area where I got a tip I might be able to hunt some whitetail.

The view from the first ridge above my park point. I dropped off this ridge to cross the valley, crossed a creek went up that finger ridge to the top and then walked it till I got around 2 1/2 miles in droped down off the ridge and then came back through the valley floor
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In the bottom trying to find a place to cross the creek I came across a giant tree where a predator had been taking animals he had killed over the last couple years and then eating them and storing them under this tree
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My bridge across the creek, Which was not cool as I got about 2 feet out left trekking pole went in about 8 to 10 inches right trekking pole went in 3 1/2 feet balance don’t fail me now
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As I begin to decide which ridge I wanted to go up to get to the top I see my first whitetails on public , I saw seven on private driving in, There’s actually three deer in this picture one is in the bushes on the right side of the draw you can barely see the deers back
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Not wanting to disturb the deer they were at 390 yards I decided to go around the deer and on far side of these animals, about 3/4 the way up the ridge the deer had been feeding from my right to my left I figured after seeing me they would continue to feed left but no they stayed put , and when I started to come up to get on the ridge there was two of them that I could see bedded at at 123 yards
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Making it to the top of the ridge I began to look around
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After a couple minutes glassing a find 2 elk
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I continued my walk along the top of the ridge there was an old two track from years ago that ranchers or somebody used but hadn’t been drove in on in quite a few years there was a lot of deadfall on it hoping to find a shed, saw a lotta deer tracks or on that two track but I came up empty looks like I’m gonna have to work a little bit harder for my first whitetail shed in Montana

My view farther down the ridge
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As I try to find those first two elk that I saw I couldn’t see them but then I started seeing more elk in other Meadows a group of 10 and then a couple Meadows over there was a group of five feeding so I had seen 17 elk so far on my hike , And three Angus cows in between the two herds of elk
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As I look at the pictures , these elk were well over a mile out seeing what the pics look like , I go wait are those antlers and then as I zoom in I realize that that one bull laying down has antlers at least 3 feet over his head already and like in third day of June , hello Mr. Bull
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And as I go back and forth between the group of 10 elk that I can count now and the group of five just enjoying a nice moment on the mountain I glass back to my left and then I realize that those three big black objects were not Angus cows but they were three moose in between two herds of elk , as I fumble to try to get my phone out the 3 moose walk so fast 2 feed back into
The brush , but I did capture a picture of my first Montana moose encounter even though it was over a mile away
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Even though these pictures are all blurry , not great and they’re from far away, you all know how the saying goes pics or it didn’t happen well I got pics and it did happen !

The hike out was uneventful didn’t see any more critters and I found a better place to cross the creek
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I did come across this rather interesting thing on the way out which I never saw in Oregon , a cocoon full of caterpillars, It was about the size of a golf ball
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I did 4.75 miles on this loop. Plus there was a couple other chunks of dirt I was interested in going and looking at before I headed home today

Driving through the grasslands on the way to my next area of interest I saw over 20 Whitetails on private property in the middle of the day walking around feeding, it was pretty cool, And in all I saw just over 30 whitetails today.

And for a bonus on the way to that last walking area I wanted to look 120 yards off the road was a bald eagle sitting in a tree so I took a picture, The second bald eagle I saw today driving around
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And then when I got to the last area I thought about hiking in I look right across the dirt road and there are on private directly across from the heart of the walkin area were the two biggest bucks I’d seen all day 250-300 yards from public
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Pretty epic day in Montana I would say and to top it off on the way home I was right close to the town of Columbus which is the headquarters for Montana silversmiths who makes IMO the best belt buckles in the world, they make buckles for most all of the rodeos/bull riding events in the country so I had to stop and get me one at the outlet store there.
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Solid day!

To clarify- those first three whitetails you saw on public? They're mulies- black tip on the tail really gives it away.
The two big ones at the end are both whitetails, though- and solid ones at that.

Copy on the 1st 3, ya it’s plain as day , I’m not used to having 2 deer species in the same area , I saw some whitetails on private just a mile or less before I parked. And I didn’t live around mule deer they were on the far side of Oregon I lived in Columbia Blacktail country. I’ll get better but I’m going back in there tomorrow and I’m gonna come in a different way and do some more exploring around
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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Very sneaky like! With a 6ft 3wt. 10inchers. With the occasional 14-15incher.
How would you fish that stream?
I'm admittedly not a proficient little creek fisherman. So other than fly fishing rivers, I'm not very experienced on small water. What size fish are you looking to get?
 
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MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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How would you fish that stream?
I'm admittedly not a proficient little creek fisherman. So other than fly fishing rivers, I'm not very experienced on small water. What size fish are you looking to get?

as a kid growing up in Alaska we had a creek in our backyard that was a little bit bigger than that and had 4”to 10” Dolly Varden in it, we’d take sticks about 2 feet long go in the garage to dads tackle box and we would get about 3 to 4 feet of 35 pound test of dads salmon line notch the end of the stick with a pocket knife. Tie line tight and then just wrap the xtra line around the end of the stick , And you gently put the tip of the hook on the end of your stick when you walk around with it to keep it tight and not snagging on the branches or weeds whatever , we used a single hook and a small sinker with some “balls of fire” or home cured salmon eggs and we just fish the holes from the bank, and you would just unwind or unwrap how much line you needed based upon whether you were fishing right at the bank or a little farther out , and because the stream was clear you could see the fish bite most of the time , sometimes you could feel them pull when they took the bait , then you just yank it set the hook and just pull them right out onto the bank, i’d fish that creek all the time in the summer and bring home a string of fish on a cut willow branch , we had a lot of fish fry’s as a kid
 
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JimQ

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Im super jealous of you getting out there like that. The only hiking I have got to do like that since moving to Montana 2 years ago is during hunting season down in the Little Belts. Looks like you had an awesome time!!!
 

MT Rookie aka OR Chris

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Im super jealous of you getting out there like that. The only hiking I have got to do like that since moving to Montana 2 years ago is during hunting season down in the Little Belts. Looks like you had an awesome time!!!

Ya , well Read part 2 of this hike , it’s all fun and games till ya almost get mauled 🤠

The wife and I are empty nesters , And she still working nights on my days off she’s asleep so I just have been starting to go out and kick around some rocks and explore some Montana dirt
 

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