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Eastern Montana Hunts

Seasons End

Eastern Montana Hunts

Another season is over. We had some good times and some tough lessons learned. With the end of a season a new one begins. More and more people are making plans well in advance. Hunters and fisherman alike, are already calling and emailing about the up coming season. Maybe you will be the next lucky hunter or angler.

Channel Outfitters

Mule Deer

Channel Outfitters

There is nothing quite like the Mule Deer. Out here the Mulie is still king! To peruse the Mule Deer in his habitat is as good as any hunt can be. In Montana we are lucky, we get to hunt the during the rut. The rut is when the big bucks come out to breed! The one time of year when that cagey old buck lets his guard down. If you have not hunted these big bucks during the rut you are missing out.

Montana Best Outfitters

Montana Rut Hunts

Well, here goes hunt story number two. My wife says that everyone loves these hunt stories. I don’t really like to write the stories because it is hard to write sarcasm! This hunt took place about mid November. The deer were rutting hard but the Super Moon had showed up. The big moon plays a role in deer movement during the rut. The hunting had been stellar but I feared a big slow down due to the moon.

First day of the hunt for some great guys from San Antonio. Art was up to shoot first. We were looking for a big deer I had seen the hunt before. I thought he would go 180 or better. As we set up in our early morning perch, we glassed across a valley with hay fields on the bottom. We spotted a few young bucks and many does. Finally I seen a good one and put my spotting scope on him. He was a great young deer with potential for next year, we passed!

After glassing for quite some time it was time to move. As we got up I looked to our right and seen a good buck rutting does. He was under our nose the whole time. We needed to get a better look! The deer was only a half mile away but was now out of our sight. On the way we bumped a few doe with some small bucks in tow. As we approached the spot where we had last seen the big one. There he was laying in the wide open prairie with three does.

We had to get flat on the ground as not to be seen. We were able to look at the buck for a long time as he lay there chewing his cud. He looked like he was old and we could see he had some extras. I could not put eye guards on him but Kyle said he could. I propped up my pack and had Art get in position to shoot. We laid on the cold ground for quite a while waiting for our chance. I was starting to shiver but Art stayed calm.

The deer finally stood up, we all agreed that this would be a good first Mule Deer for Art! Just as Art was going to shoot the buck laid back down. The buck got up again and never gave a good angle, the tension was building! Finally he turned and Art put it on the money at 240 yards. I told him to shoot again but it was not needed.

As we approached Art’s first muley it looked good! I was surprised to see the buck had double eye guards on both sides! A big hook and nice mass, a real character buck! Nice shooting Art!

Eastern Montana

The First Hunt

The first hunt I guided this season was with long time client Easy E. This was E’s seventh trip with me. We have had some great hunts together! Our hunts have not always been smooth. Easy has some bad luck in regards to weather. He has hunted some terrible arctic cold front that have left him stranded. E’s hunts have been earlier every year, in hopes of better weather. This year wouldn’t you know, it rained one and a half inches on his second day. Some of you may know that rain is worst scenario in eastern Montana, do to the gumbo mud that we have in the soil.

It rained so hard we stayed in all day and glassed from the house. The next day it dawned nice and clear. The roads were too wet to drive on. We took off on a walk from the house. Once on top, we had a view of many deer leaving the barley fields. We immediately glassed up 2 bucks. One buck was a good up and comer that I wanted to let live another year! The other buck was a big mature dude! He had a good 4×4 frame with deep forks.

We had to watch from our open location as the deer fed down into some canyons. I watched the big guy go down and marked him with an old telephone pole. We made our stalk to perfection! As we rounded the last hill there he was laying facing us. I looked him over as he lay there in an alert position. He was a beauty but he had no eye guards. E got a good look at him with his Lieca binoculars, he looked real big at 60 yards with that kind of glass!

As I pulled us away from the buck, I told Easy that he didn’t have eye guards. Easy E. had the best ever response! He said eye guards are not a prerequisite for me! That is a big buck! I almost went back to shoot the old boy but cooler heads prevailed. I maintained we had 3 more days and if it didn’t work out we could find that buck again. From there we walked in the opposite direction. We skirted around many coulees, glassing and stalking as we went.

We finally made it to a big coulee that the rancher told me was a wicked coulee, yes he called it wicked! I’ve never been the guy to pass up a wicked coulee. We started to glass and after a while I laid eyes on some whitetail deer. They were on their feet and coming in and out of the shade. At a mile away I could make out horns on one deer, I thought maybe we should check it out.

We trekked across some open country to get to the side the deer were on. As we started to get close to where I had the deer marked, we came upon a coyote. The coyote was stretched out on the ground and looked dead. At 40 yards I looked through my binos to see if it was breathing. I determined it was dead! A few steps closer and up jumps the coyote! The old boy had been napping and was caught off guard. He ran out 40 yards and stopped. I told E to shoot him, he didn’t want to blow our stalk on the deer. Cooler heads prevailed for the second time that day!

When we reached the last little hill, I peeked over to find a rather large buck within bow range. Four does were even closer and I knew it had to happen quick. Easy pulled up with his 300urm and made quick work of the buck. E’s first whitetail was a good one!

Hunting Montana

Hunting Under The Big-Sky

I love to visit the small towns of Eastern Montana. When I’m out that way to do some hunting, I like to take in the local sights and sounds. The small cafes and the local bar that serves a Thanksgiving dinner, I dig it! I also take the time to check out the county museums. I would strongly recommend the Garfield County Museum, It’s full of great Montana history including many dinosaur fossils. Its good to know about the places and people who shaped our great state of Montana.

Eastern Montana Deer Hunts

Montana Mule Deer Hunting

Big Deer just look big! A big Deer rack will stick up over the truck bed. A big Deer might have 42 inches of mass. We all dream about the big deer! Craig w’s dream came true, it’s a big one!

Miles City Montana Outfitters

Eastern Montana Deer Hunts

On with the next hunt story. This one is not a long drawn out hunt so I will give a little insight about the hunter. Tom Simpson has hunted with us several times. He comes out with a group from the great state of New Mexico. Tom is an expert gun guy! He shoots long distance with rifle and muzzleloaders. Tom is the real deal! He has a 1600 yard range on his property. Tom is also a mentor to many people, young and old.

Tom always lets the guys in his group shoot deer before he does. This year the fellows were all filled out and they hit the road to beat a storm. It would be myself and another guide Caleb who guided Tom this day. It was the afternoon of an extremely windy day, gusts up to fifty.

My hopes were not to high with the wind situation. We were hitting little spots that were protected from the wind. We found a good bunch of deer up and on their feet in a secluded valley. Does and small bucks were around, we now had hope! We continued up the valley directly into the wind.

Off to our right was a mature buck on his feet staring in our direction. It was strange that he let us get so close. He was a good deer and we could tell he had an extra in-line. Tom decided that this was a nice deer. You boys cover your ears! The deer dropped stone dead after the shot. A doe jumped up and bound away. This explains  the bucks behavior.

No long distance shooting for Tom this year! The buck was shot under 70 yards. Tom quickly said he needed to do some close rang bullet testing anyhow! Back to town with a big buck we go.

Eastern Montana Deer Hunts With Channel Outfitters

The Badlands

The second installment of the 2015 hunt stories starts now. The hunter is Eric, aka “Easy E. We have been hunting together for several straight years. Eric comes with a great attitude and is always ready to shoot! We are always looking for an older deer, something to be proud of! This year it happened on day 2.

As we were on our way to check a spot, I noticed something out on the sky-line that looked out-of-place. I threw up the old binos and sure enough BIG BUCK! I’m telling Easy to SHOOT! Eric however is a shooter not a spotter. Now begins the long process  of explaining were on the horizon is the deer. After what seems like forever, I have narrowed it down to between the only 2 cedar trees out there.

The deer was just staring our way, not sure if we are a doe he should check out. Finally Eric is down on his gun and just about ready to shoot as the deer starts to cruz. We did a quick run to the edge of a large canyon. I see him again stopped and staring our way. Shoot, he is standing by that tree! Eric is on him and I hear his safety click. Plug the ears before the 300 ultra mag blows my ears out.

The shot was a 299 yard chip shot for Easy. The deer leaped out of sight at the report of the shot. We made our way to where we last seen the deer. Ready for a follow-up shot but none needed. A beautiful buck lay at our feet! A 4×4 with good mass and a double eye guard on one side. No ground shrinkage here! Eric’s smile says it all.

Montana Big-Game Hunts

Hunt Stories

The return of the wildly popular hunt stories, here we go. This one is about a great white hunter named Easy E. aka Eric. Eric killed the giant of all giants the year before, this year we just wanted to get a good deer and have fun. I booked Eric in at a new ranch we got in Northeast Montana. I had to see for myself if this place was worth the cost. I guided four hunts there.

As usual, when Eric drives over from Oregon the weather gods try to kill his spirit. Upon arrival a artic blizzard appears, yeah for Eric. The first day of the hunt dawned with 7 inches of snow and -25 temps. It was to cold to walk much as the wind chill was, well chilly! The next few days the wind mellowed out making conditions a little better for some walking and stalking.

We seen some nice deer, a lot of young up and comers. I was impressed with the place! Eric had killed a 190 inch deer the year before, making it easy to pass on young 4x4s. On about his 3 day we were riding around complaining about the fog and sucky weather. visibility was about a quarter-mile, not helping confidence!

All of the sudden to the right Eric see’s some deer through the fog. We both put glasses on them as they were climbing up a big hill. Eric says “lets kill that buck”! OK let’s go take a look. We waited for the buck and his 6 does to go over out of sight. We collected our stuff and scaled the large hill. Once over the top we witnessed a white out with tons of fog. I caught a glimpse of deer in a low spot. At -17 the binos were fogging over in a hurry, still he was a nice buck. My rangefinder would not work in the fog.

We let the deer go over the next hill, then made our move. We had them in a canyon and they were on our side almost to close. I was worried they would hear us in the snow. As deer were feeding along we were keeping pace, also trying to decide if the buck was a shooter. I had Eric set up on a fence post but the deer kept moving in and out of sight.

It was tense as the deer were really close and kind of under us. We needed to keep moving to get a visual, I thought we were going to bump them. Finally they grazed out and were only 80 yards. We had a discussion about how good the deer was, we had passed many nice ones but this one had some mass. Eric put the big 300 ultra on my shooting sticks and sent the 220 grain bullet on the way. The big deer took it like a man, Eric hit him again, but didn’t need to.

As we walked up to our prize, I was worried that the deer might be too small. They all look big at 80 yards. As Eric pulled the frozen horns up out of the snow, I realizes we made a good choice. He was a beauty!