Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"My Exciting Day Of Hunting"
Written by Kandra

My Exciting Day Of Hunting
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we headed out to the hunting grounds at about 6:30 a.m on a beautiful Montana morning. When we got there we saw a bunch of mule deer milling around on the hillside and spotted a pretty nice buck among them so we decided to go after him. It was still early and the sun was not quite up over the mountains yet, so after we stopped to glass the deer, I was getting a bit chilled from not walking anymore. We saw that buck up the hill quite a ways from me, but I had a good rest for my rifle and took a shot at him.

Unfortunately, I was shivering so bad cause my hands were frozen, and I was nervous (anxiously excited), that I missed the first shot and the buck didn't move. After the second shot he took off, but we went up the mountain to see if we could see any blood trail and there was nothing. Irl (my fiance) wanted to keep going after those deer, but I had elk on the mind, so I said nope, lets go UP!

I was going after the elusive elk for a reason. Irl is an avid hunter and would like to have an elk ivory wedding ring. I was determined to find an elk so I could use my ivory for his ring. Deer were a distant thought on my mind. Basically, we hiked to the top of the Madison Range. It was sooooo pretty, we took some pictures and the view on the backside of the mountain was gorgeous. The mountains just kept going, and they were all snowcapped. The view of the valley far below was just amazing.

We finally got into where the elk hang out and it smelled like a game farm and there were tracks everywhere, but they weren't very fresh. We ended up walking along the ridge and made it a few ridges over from where we had started, and then began our descent. We might as well have had a sled and gone down that way, it would have been much easier. The snow, though not really deep, was pretty slick and the mountain was quite steep. My knees were starting to shake and wobble pretty bad by the time we had gone down for what seemed like EVER! We had seen another nice buck when we came into a clearing, but when we went to chase after to get a decent shot, he was gone and up the other side of the hill through some heavy timber. We just let it go and were heading back to the truck by this point, yet we were still a ways away.

At about 1:30, we came over this ridge top and I saw something out of the corner of my eye and I had to do a quick double take. It was like those movies, when a person and an animal lock eyes and the camera zooms in. All I could see were antlers! I was so excited and was thinking, ahhh big buck! I tried to rip my rifle off and get a shell in it, but he was gone like that. Irl and I talked for a minute and I decided that since they were rutting and we had seen some does around that the buck wouldn't go too far. So we walked along the ridge looking down through the trees and I spotted another deer, but not the same one I had just spooked. I asked Irl to look through his binoculars, and he said yeah that's a buck, so I quietly walked down the hill a little ways and kneeled down by a tree so I could get a good rest off my knee.

My heart began pounding and the adrenaline started to pump. He was about 100 yards downhill through the trees. Irl told me to wait and make sure that he was a buck, since there were a lot of branches and a doe hanging around. Then he said to hold up as he saw another buck which looked like it may be bigger than the other one. I never really saw that other buck, I was honed in on this big boy. Irl said he looked a lot wider, however probably didn't have the nice forks like mine. My soon to be buck was posturing towards this other buck due to the lovely doe he was in hot pursuit of. We thought there was going to be a fight. I have yet to see them fight, and that would have been so cool.

My Exciting Day Of Hunting
Finally, Irl got a good look and saw this guy's rack better and said WHOA he's a big one, take him when he gives you a shot. My arm was getting pretty tired looking through the scope of my 7mm-08 waiting for him to finally move. The doe started walking towards us and he of course followed and moved to where all I could see was the top half of his back. There were branches below covering up the rest of him, so I took a shot at his back, it whizzed right over him, but he was too interested in the doe to even flinch. I was getting anxious, and Irl said aim a little lower....Boom! I saw him flip out because I had just broken his back. Irl said I had hit him and I was relieved!

He's down! He's Down! Actually he was ROLLING about 500 yards down the mountain. When we finished barreling down the mountainside after him, we saw that he wasn't dead and I didn't want him to suffer. He had finally stopped rolling at the bottom of a little draw. I waited for him to give me a decent shot of his lungs and blasted again with a straight shot and he was down for good.

It was so cool walking up to him and seeing how nice and big he really was. He's a gorgeous buck. We got him dressed out and then drug him to a fence down farther, so we could leave him there and get the game cart to haul him to the truck. The guy that runs the ranch below us had heard my shots and had seen us dragging something down the mountain, so he and a buddy drove their old beater ranch truck up there and picked us up and hauled the deer in the back.

It was so funny, because they had been watching this deer for quite a while since the rut had started. That's when all the big boys come down from the high country to get the girls. When we got to the ranch we had heard that a guy had come out from California to hunt and had been trying to tag this buck all week long. Ooops! Hunters that had seen this buck around were taking pictures of it and then of me with him. I am in people's pictures and I don't even know who they are. It's pretty cool.
My Dad was pretty proud of me too. I called him and my family and they all came out to Irl's parents place to see him. I only wish he could have been there to see the kill. Irl is kinda jealous, but proud as heck of me. I beat him last year with a bigger whitetail than he had ever taken…it was my first buck.

This muley was definitely more satisfying to get than the whitetail last year cause I hiked my hiney off, and Irl's too, which is hard to do. Judging by the looks of the bottom jaw, my deer is aged to be about 7 years old or older. His spread is 20 inches, 22 inches tall and a gross score of 165. Hope you all enjoyed my story, I know I enjoyed hunting out there and then getting such a great reward in the end!

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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