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Well we survived ten days hunting the high country of Montana and never in my wildest dreams did I think we would see so much wildlife. We only killed one elk, but it was non stop action and encounter after encounter with bulls. Our first camp we hiked about 3 miles and found a fairly level spot with water about hundred yards away. From there it was about a 4 mile hike to the top of the peak. The country was steep, rocky and far thicker then it looked on a map. We found elk sign but not as much as I was hoping. The weather was horrible for hunting, it was in the 90's and the smoke was so thick it was hard to see. After a couple days we decided to break camp and try another spot about twenty miles away that looked a little more open with a mixture of timber and high meadows we could glass. The first spot binoculars were useless because you could only see fifty yards most of the time. By nightfall we had camp setup in a saddle and ready to hunt that morning. At daylight from camp we spotted 4 bulls about a thousand yards away. Took us about an hour to get downwind of were the last spot we saw them. Bulls were not bugling yet with the heat but we got setup and started cow calling and some bugling. Soon we could see the 4 younger but legal bulls about two hundred yards away. Then a hundred yards above the young bulls a giant herd bull with about ten cows appeared out of the timber. I was calling about fifty yards behind the my two boys and could see the herd bull and 4 younger bulls, but didn't realize a 5x5 was coming in silent and was forty yards and closing on boys. I bugled not knowing he was there and he takes off running toward me right past my son at full draw who tried stopping him. I hear something and turn to see this bull running at me, he stops dead and just when my son is releasing an arrow the bull spins to run and the arrow hits him far back in the hams. The bull runs and joins the other four and seems unhurt. We watch them until they moved into a bedding area. We had no choice but to blow all the elk out of the bedding area looking for the bull that we hit. We kicked him up with the rest of the elk and he ran over the mountain and didn't seem hurt bad. Next several days we saw several elk and was able to spot and stalk close, but no shots and no bugling. On September 11th a cold front blow in and the smoke cleared and it was like someone flipped a switch, the elk started bugling everywhere. Basically everyday we had encounter after encounter with bulls, including calling that giant herd bull away from his cows screaming all the way. Either the constantly shifting wind, the steep terrain or the thickness prevented us from killing an elk. Then one afternoon we spotted a lone 5X5 about 400 yards away. Took about 45 minutes of calling to get him into bow range and my son was able to put two arrows in him. Took us till almost midnight to get him packed out and the pain of hauling an elk quarter up over a mountain is something I won't soon forget. We found a lot of bulls wouldn't answer unless you put the pressure on them and got close. We would slowly walk into the wind on an elk trail calling and once we got close to a bull they would answer and it was game on. One such encounter resulted in a big bull that came in quick and my son's arrow deflected of a limb at thirty yards, another exciting but failed attempt. I could go on and on about this hunt, saw lots of game including three giant mule deer and two probably in the 180 range as well as bear and bighorn sheep sightings. A hunt like this takes a giant effort and your body feels like you ran a marathon everyday and it's hard to keep grinding sleeping on the ground for ten days without taking a shower, but seeing animals kept the fire burning for me and I could easily quit my job and move to Montana. A special thanks to Ed Fullfan and his crew who are hunting over the mountain from us in Idaho for hauling my son's elk skull home in his trailer when they leave saving my son the airline fees. No problems getting three big coolers of meat flown home with us and we all have elk meat in the freezer.

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Awesome Larry!! One beats none and you can't stop the smoke. Take some time to rest up, time with your boys in the mountains gotta be priceless.

I saw you posted yesterday wondered how it went.
 
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Great pics and story! Congrats on a successful hunt/adventure. Lots of memories to be shared from your trip. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Thanks for sharing your story. Great you are able to share it your sons....memories you will never forget....
 

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Awesome hunt man! Country up there looks amazing, and a bull on the ground makes it even better. Congrats on the elk and that pack out makes dragging deer look like a cake walk! 😂
 

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Looks like a great time for sure in some beautiful country. Seeing and hearing elk had to be quite the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Awesome Larry!! One beats none and you can't stop the smoke. Take some time to rest up, time with your boys in the mountains gotta be priceless.

I saw you posted yesterday wondered how it went.
It was hard to believe how bad the smoke was the first half of the trip. Tents covered by ash and made it heard breathing, then the cold front blew most of it away. Fullfan and his crew are right near the fires in Idaho and hot weather pushes the smoke down and it won't go anywhere. Hoping those guys can catch a break, they are out there for a few weeks so maybe they get some rain. It's like a desert out there now it's so dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Awesome hunt man! Sounds like you guys had a great time. How did you clean the skull so fast?
Took the head to a small town about 45 minutes away and a guy did it in a day and a half. Really impressed with his work and he charged 150. Not sure if that is a good price, but that's a lot of work and we were happy to get it done so fast.
 

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Took the head to a small town about 45 minutes away and a guy did it in a day and a half. Really impressed with his work and he charged 150. Not sure if that is a good price, but that's a lot of work and we were happy to get it done so fast.
Looks like he did a good job, and I would say that is a very good price for an elk.
 

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I can appreciate the smoke as I once raced out of a state game land in in South Central PA because a heavy smoke rolling in and I thought the woods was on fire, could only see about 20 yards and heavy smoke while driving out for a few miles......Could not find any news on the AM radio stations as there weren't many I could get many in the mountains so I was unsure which way to go. The next day I learned the fir was near Morgantown, WV some 100 miles away....
Enjoyed all the story and pictures......
 

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Congrats! Great story and sounds like a hunt to be remembered for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures! Amazingly beautiful country!
 

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Great story, great trip!

In my experience those herd bulls would rather run than fight, but if you keep after them they eventually will take a stand, usually with the wind in their favor.

Congrats on the bull and the memories.
 

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Congrats! An awesome hunt and memories you and your boys will never forget. Now time to shift and start killing some more of those big whitetail you guys are always chasing!
 
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