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One of my best hunting trips

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2010 at 21:13
jonoMT View Drop Down
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We finally got some snow around this part of Montana...for which only the snowshoe hares are more grateful than I am. It made for great walking and tracking weather this morning after I broke my camp in the dark @ 5:30. Although, like the last two days I'd spent out I didn't see any more sign that elk had made it north to the area where I have my tag. Trails I went down first thing in the day that have always been covered in tracks were untouched. I had one more area to cover on my way out to meet up with a friend down below who I planned to hunt mule deer bucks with for the rest of morning.

At the top of road, I was surprised to see another hunter approaching - the first I'd seen the entire time I'd been up there. It turned out to a very fortunate meeting since he is the owner of a major in-holding on the Forest Service land where I hunt. We had some mutual friends and in four years of hunting around there I'd hoped to make his acquaintance. When he heard I'd camped out there two nights with a snow storm the second night, he said, "You're my kind of hunter." And he said any time I wanted to use his road to retrieve, to just call. His last advice was to keep cutting down the route I'd mentioned. Sure enough, I hadn't walked down a quarter mile and I finally kicked up 6-7 cows and calves that were bedded in some thick timber. I didn't have time to get a shot off so I immediately sat down and stayed put for 15 minutes.

I got up and got my rifle in my arms and didn't walk more than 50 yards before I spotted two stragglers - a cow and calf that turned and ran. I got a sight picture on the calf, however, and dropped her running @ 80-90 yards away with an offhand head shot. (And this is where I will once again sing the praises of a scope with low magnification. I had it on 2.5X and that was gold). Given the scarcity of elk in that area and the few days I have to hunt this year, I felt a small elk was better than no elk. They are good eating, although I prefer the taste and texture of a mature cow.

When I met up with my friend, I mentioned running into the landowner up above and suggested that we call him. When he answered and heard who it was, he said, "I heard the shot and expected you might call...if you didn't miss." Then he offered to drive up there with us in a raging storm and direct us into the best spot to retrieve. That just made my day since it is 3 hours to hike up to that altitude. You can bet that there will be a thank you note in his mailbox soon.

Even in the best of circumstances elk hunting is a chancy business. In this case, with a couple nights out in the windy woods all by my lonesome and fruitlessly poking around every likely spot without even a fresh turd to prop up my hopes, it took some patience and faith to stay out there. I made one great discovery yesterday when I found a trail that winds up through some heavy growth and brush into some well-watered prime meadows. There will be other years when that area will be an ace up my sleeve. Elk had clearly used it a lot this past summer and one or more bulls had rubbed a couple dozen saplings raw.

Taking that elk this morning and meeting a real gentleman were satisfying on another level but getting to know an area and to just focus on the here and now for a few days is worth just as much. I was happy just walking around in God's wilderness, looking at the sun on the grass and listening to the sounds of the forest.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2010 at 21:33
ckk1106 View Drop Down
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Awesome, Jon.  What caliber and bullet?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2010 at 21:39
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Nice story Jon, congrats!!! 

Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/08/2010 at 21:54
jonoMT View Drop Down
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Originally posted by ckk1106 ckk1106 wrote:

Awesome, Jon.  What caliber and bullet?

.308 165 gr. Accubond.

I should mention that a head shot is not my preferred option. I'm a boiler room shooter, but they were moving out and that was all I could see of either one of them. Just out of curiosity, I checked JBM to see what the TOF is for 80-90 yards with my load - about 1/10th of a second. It felt like that was about all the time I had.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 06:34
budperm View Drop Down
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Now thats the way to hunt!  commune with nature and become one with it!
Excellent!  Headshot on a moving target.... That Elk was meant for you Jon!
Sounds like you made a new friend of a class act too, double bonus!
 
Got any pictures for us?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 13:22
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Great story Jon!  Congratulations.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 14:33
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  FINALLY got a chance to read you post.  GREAT story!  And CONGRATS to ya.
 
  By the way,I'm SURE that land owner feels he met a real gentleman also.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 16:40
jonoMT View Drop Down
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I didn't think to take any pictures. My cellphone camera is so crappy anyway and it was snowing hard. I'm not really one for shots of animals hanging upside down in the garage so will try next time. I still have a mule deer buck tag I'd really like to fill. My friend and I went out again this morning and hunted hard until noon...saw tracks but no deer. It was kind of cool watching two bulls and two cow elk way up above us hightailing it across the snow. Those guys can really move. It is humbling when you consider it took us 2 hours to get that high up. (I had this silly thought while walking around. Aside from our ability to use technology, the only things we have an advantage over elk are opposable thumbs and the ability to climb trees). Lots of snow geese out today too. I guess they got the message that winter has finally arrived.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 20:13
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Thanks for sharing your trip. I have never had a chance to get into High Country, Much less in the winter. Great story.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2010 at 21:48
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Congrats jon, and excellent story!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 00:53
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Congrats Jon. Nice story. When I read how hard you have to work for your game then I see how blessed we are in South Africa. Half the hunting population would give up here if they had to do what you did.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 07:35
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I love a happy ending to a good story, congratulations!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2010 at 09:49
jonoMT View Drop Down
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Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

Congrats Jon. Nice story. When I read how hard you have to work for your game then I see how blessed we are in South Africa. Half the hunting population would give up here if they had to do what you did.

Half or more of the hunters right around where I live would give up. In fact, the landowner I met later joked that while I was out camping in my tent he was watching Sunday Night Football in his trailer (which is permanently parked half way down the mountain). It's just something I enjoy. As I mentioned, I saw no one from mid-day Saturday until Monday morning. (Another great thing about meeting him was he showed us where he put in a 15 gpm well at his new cabin site. While there are numerous seeps and small creeks all around there, it means sitting and filtering water but now I can count on that as a good, safe source).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 21:52
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My kind of hunting Jon.  Glad you got an elk and toughed it out.  Sounds like you met a great guy and he did as well.  The kind of hunting friendships you like.  Excellent
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/11/2010 at 22:20
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cool beans jon! i wish i could join you on an elk hunt. i miss that about living up here.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2010 at 06:31
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show me your sheep!!

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                   ExcellentExcellentExcellent
Hunting the way it was meant to be!
                        Sharp Shooter
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