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2013 Hunting Season Report

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the 2013 post season hunting report which highlights our 2013 season. September 7th started off our season here in Montana as hopes were high as we were all looking forward to another great season. Abnormal weather conditions played a big part in the first few weeks of the season as Easterly winds prevailed over our typical Westerly winds which made stand selections a real challenge as most of our stands our set up for predominant West winds. On top of that we had an extremely wet September with numerous thunderstorms that made for tough hunting conditions which lead to us trying to move guys around more than normal because some areas we just couldn't hunt the way we wanted to. Which lead to a under productive early start to the season.

One of our best highlights of the first week was when Zach took his first buck with a bow on his first ever bow hunt, a beautiful 132” 10 point at that! Throughout the next few weeks there were some more great whitetails taken including several more “first time” bucks taken with a bow and several Antelope bucks with the bow as well as 3 bull Elk. One of the best highlights of the whole season, and since we've been in the Outfitting business, happened in late September when John McCrae, a cancer survivor, fulfilled his dream by filling his Elk tag with the biggest bull Elk of the season with his bow! It was uncertain if he was going to make the trip due to his condition but proved any doubt wrong that he was going to make it happen one way or another. We saw a herd of Elk within the river bottom moving past some of our stands so we set John up in a travel corridor to take advantage of this opportunity as John arrowed a big 6x6 bull at under 20 yards his first time in. The bull only went about 70 yards before going down and the celebration began as we all couldn't have been happier for John to live out a dream he set to achieve and got it done! Also in late September was John Olin taking his biggest buck, a nice 10 point, with a re-curve bow! 

As we moved into October, the weather seemed to stabilize with more predictable conditions as Joe Baglio came from California never taking a whitetail deer with his bow before. He accomplished that by taking a doe early in the week and then his first whitetail buck with his bow on the very last evening of his hunt! Another great hunt was when Brad Rucks of Deer and Deer hunting harvested his first MT whitetail for the TV show, Destination Whitetail. They got a lot of great footage and said it will make for an awesome show!

As October moved on we got into the firearms season as we started hunting the Elk in the open terrain. 3 nice bull Elk were taken that first week as 2 were first time hunters taking an Elk! There was a huge herd of Elk we were hunting and that alone made for an awesome sight to see. It was by far the most Elk we saw this early in the season and the hunters were taking advantage of it! Usually it's late in November when we see more Elk moving down lower because of the snow and colder temps.

November was a great month as usual with the rut this year really picking up around the 15th. Bowhunter Magazine and Mossy Oak were there to take advantage of the rutting action and both putting together what they claim will be a great show when they air next year! The rutting activity was very intense the last several weeks in November as every hunter had at least one or more opportunities at good bucks! And the Elk hunting was as good as ever also! We took 5 more bull Elk and should have gotten a few more with missed opportunities. Travis and Donovan for example, and a few others, filled both there tags, a nice whitetail buck and their first Elk! Those last 2 weeks of the season were crazy busy as every time we turned around, someone dropped the hammer on either a whitetail buck or an Elk! It was definitely a fun filled and exciting time as we shared some great memories throughout the whole season with everyone in camp!

Another great story from the last week of the season was when Dave and Shane finally convinced their Dad, Jay, to go on one last whitetail hunt together as a family. Jay has had a really hard time getting around lately and was calling it quits on his hunting career until his 2 sons got him to go on what Jay was saying was his last hunt. We were determined to make this one hunt they would never forget! Jay was the first one to score on a nice buck and he was so happy, watching him celebrate was one of the best moments we shared during our existence here at Montana whitetails as another dream has been fulfilled! A few days later, Dave and Shane both shot good bucks the same morning making it 100% success as the family celebrated their last hunt together and one they will likely never forget!

Despite a slow start to the season, we still had a great year as we look back and tally some of the numbers. We've taken a total of 34 whitetail bucks for a 50% success rate. Archery Elk we took 3 bulls for a 45% success rate. Rifle Elk we had 9 bull Elk harvested for a success rate of 64%. Antelope Archery success rate was 40% as 2 bucks were taken. Antelope rifle hunters were 100% while taking 3 bucks. Mule deer rifle success rate was just 20% as one hunter took a good Mule deer buck while several other Mule deer hunters used their either or tags on good whitetail bucks they couldn't pass up!

Some other numbers include whitetail bucks that were harvested, ( 1 ) 12 point, ( 1 ) 11 point, ( 10 ) 10 points, ( 4 ) 9 points, ( 17 ) 8 points, and ( 1 ) 7 point. There were 11 missed opportunities at bucks and 23 whitetail does harvested. Bull Elk harvested included ( 2 ) 4x4, ( 1 ) 5x6, and ( 9 ) 6x6. Also, there were 4 missed opportunities on bull Elk and 7 cow Elk harvested.

The 2013 photo album is complete so you can check out all the photos from our 2013 hunting season. Again we had an awesome season and thanks for everyone who came to Montana to enjoy Big Sky Country with us this year! The trout fishing was good for those that went fishing during their stay with us and the hunting we experienced alongside our hunters will always be remembered. Hope everyone had a great season and enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having you with us to share the memories!

For now, we are working at filling the remaining spots for 2014 and getting ready for the Outdoor shows we have scheduled to attend during February and March. Some weeks are already full so if you're interested in booking a 2014 Montana whitetail hunt, please contact me ASAP! I have posted openings available on the news page! Call to reserve a week for 2014 if you want to experience some awesome whitetail bow hunting! We saw some really nice bucks at the beginning, and end of the season that never got harvested! Looking forward to a fantastic 2014 where we continue to get bigger and better here under Big Sky country in Southwestern Montana!

On behalf of Rob and I, Keith, Bob, and Betty, we wanted to thank everyone again for making another season here at Montana Whitetails one we will never forget...!

Thanks for following. Check out some client photos below and see the entire photo album from the 2013 season in our photo gallery.

Steve Miller

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