Montana Elk Hunt – Check Mate

Two years ago I flew out to Montana and spent five days hunting for elk with my good friend, Chris Nolan. I filmed the entire trip and although we never had an opportunity to kill an elk, the trip was deemed a success by the sheer amount of experience and knowledge we gained that week. Check out the video from that trip here.

Fast forward to this September. I was on my way back to Montana and decided to switch out my camera gear for my bow. Thats right. My wife agreed to the idea of me purchasing a non resident elk tag which has something along the lines of a 20% success rate of filling. I trained hard and practiced with my bow more than ever. Having gone on that hunt two years prior, I knew what I was getting myself into and just how hard I needed to prepare.

The plan for Chris and I was to pack camp in with enough food to hunt for five days straight. If unsuccessful, we would hike back out, hit a hotel, reload, and go back in for three more days.

Day 1

We packed in camp, food, and gear for three miles until we get to a spot Chris had searched out for us as a base camp. We set up camp and we’re hunting by late afternoon.

Day 2

The morning was quiet. Heard a few bulls bugle but nothing close. We decided to hang out and nap on the edge of a meadow during the midday lull rather than hiking back to camp. 3 p.m. rolls around and I am woken up from the sounds of an animal rustling in the meadow nearby. Seconds later I am at full draw on a bull at 40 yards.

We spent the next four hours quartering that bull out. We hiked the first load of meat down the mountain to the truck in the dark under the light of headlamps.

Day 3

Packed the rest of my bull out then headed back to Chris’s home in Bozeman.

Days 4 – 7

The weather turned on us and it got pretty nasty in Montana. We decided to regroup and lick our wounds. We celebrated pretty good, cleaned our gear, went fishing for a day, and just hung out like two old friends will do. We kept an eye on the forecast and saw that the weather was going to finally let up for one of the last days that we’d be able to hunt together.

Day 8

We loaded all of our gear up and headed for the trail head to set up camp. Our plan for the following day was to get up a 4 a.m. and hike 2.5 miles in to a spot we had not hunted yet. We knew we could only hunt that day as I had to leave two days later. The process of killing an elk, quartering it out, and hiking all the meat back to the truck is a solid 36 hour process.

Days 9 – 10

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