Are you an “elkoholic?”
Do you dream of the monster deer?
These folks do!
I have been lucky enough to hunt pretty much everything that Minnesota has to offer. But there is one thing on my bucket list that has always been on the top, and now I’ve gotten to experience that.
I’m talking about elk hunting, and not some guided trip. With only a few weeks notice and only one week after having surgery for kidney stones I was in a truck headed to western Montana. Thanks to some good friends who have been elk hunting before, I was going to have my dream come true.
After a 16-hour drive through the night, we arrived in Deer Lodge, from there we made our way to the bottom of a mountain and got our camp set up. We were very excited to get out and do some scouting and see what the area had to offer. After glassing and looking for sign we all had an idea where we would be when the sun came up. On Day 1 it was a lot like our deer opener, orange everywhere and bullets flying.
The first one in our group to put down their elk was Timmy. He made a 300-yard shot and soon we were packing out our first kill. And this is where I learned my first lesson, the best way to ruin an elk hunt is to shoot one.
It didn’t take long to realize the good old deer hunting boots were the wrong choice. I could feel the blisters growing with each step—and boy there were a lot of steps. During the next few days, after putting on 5 to 10 miles a day hiking up and down the hills, I was starting to feel pretty good about myself. You see before the trip I was really worried about being out of shape and not keeping up, but I was.
The elk seemed to be here and there. Because of no snow in the higher elevations, they were scattered everywhere. But finally on Day 6 we glassed a herd a few miles away and a plan was made to go after them in the morning. We started our trek a few hours before light and found a spot to sit and wait for them to come down. That day we dressed a little light and of course it started to rain and snow, the day seemed to go on forever.
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