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First Hunting Trip To Montana

I have always wanted to hunt in Montana, it has been a place that hunting dreams are made of. I started dreaming of hunting there a long time ago. I left my house on a cold snowy Saturday morning heading off on my adventure to Montana. I was concerned about going there not knowing the country I would be hunting in, or the outfitter I had chosen to go with. But I wasn’t going to let a little bad weather, or fear of the unknown slow me down. I arrived in Bozeman around 2:00 Pm Saturday the 12th of November. I contacted Keith with Montana Whitetails to find out where to meet up with him and the other men in our hunting party. We arrived in camp later that afternoon after a short drive from Bozeman. The accommodation were very nice,(my Dad always told me that if you can eat good and sleep good you will have a good hunt). Well things were adding up to be a great hunt. The first morning on stand ,Keith took me out and helped me get settled in for the morning hunt. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the cold North wind that was trying to blow me out of the tree.

The reason I wasn’t prepared for the wind was I am a spot & stalk hunter. Sitting in a tree stand is a great way to hunt if you are prepared and I know without a doubt that a heater body suit will be on my "to get list" before I go back and hunt with Montana Whitetails again. Sunday I saw a lot of action sitting on stand. I rattled in four bucks but it was the first day so I held out. (The whole time wondering if I had screwed up not trying a shot at one of them). I guess Keith could see that if he didn’t help me in some way that he would have a human popsicle on his hands. So being the good guide he is, he put me in a ground blind on Monday morning. There wasn’t as much movement that morning so at around 10:30am I went back to the lodge to warm up and have some food. I was sitting back in the blind at 2:30pm still trying to keep warm. At least the wind wasn’t hitting me anymore. I watched as Deer moved in and out of the trees about 150 yards to the North of me. I saw a lot of good bucks but nothing was coming my way. I had ranged the decoy in front of me at 15 yards so I was ready if anything came my way as the day moved on I kept seeing bucks chasing does but nothing would cross the fence towards me. (I guess they were trying to stay out of the wind too). At around 5:00pm that night it was getting dark because a storm was moving in from the West and there were a lot of clouds that made it get dark sooner than normal. As I watched across the Pasture I spotted a nice buck as he walked out of the tree line.

I had begun picking things up to start walking out to the road to meet up with Keith but when I spotted this buck my heart started to race! I grabbed my grunt tube and blew a few times but with the wind blowing away from him he didn’t hear me at all so all I could do was watch him walk back into the trees. My heart sank because this was a very nice buck. I continued getting my things put into my hunting pack and had pretty much given up for this day, but as I looked up to survey things one last time I watch this buck walk back out of the trees and look directly my way. I was sure he could see the decoy but I wasn’t sure if he was going to jump the fence and walk the 120 yards to check things out. But to my surprise he started toward me after he jumped the fence, there was no doubt that he was on a direct line to see who this buck was that was standing 15 yards in front of me. When he cleared the fence I had already made up my mind that if he gave me the opportunity I would take the shot even though the light was fading fast.

I felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest, I had to keep telling myself to calm down and I tried to slow my breathing down as best I could with not much success. I’m sure the ground blind looked like a freight train with as much steam as I was putting out. He continued to close the distance at about 35 yards I started to draw my bow back, but as I did for some reason the arrow came off the string and went banging and clanging onto the ground. At this point there was no calming down I had went right into panic mode. I hurried and renocked my arrow the hole time wondering how he did not hear me, this was the only time I was glad that the wind was blowing and that it had blown the sound away from him. (I’d rather be lucky than good). After I had renocked the arrow I started to draw back again after getting to full draw I noticed that the buck was pinning his ears back and strutting towards the decoy. He was amazing to watch the way he was posturing and trying to intimidate the decoy.

He was standing directly behind the decoy now and all I could do was wait for him to get clear and hope he didn’t drop his head and plow right into the decoy before I had gotten a shot. To my relief he continued to strut past the decoy and stopped broad side at 20 yards I leveled my bow and it was then I realized that I didn’t have enough light to illuminate my pins. I could see the outline but no color was showing so I decided then I knew which one was my 20 and 30 yard pin and I could see the outline well enough. I put the 20 on him lowering it to mid body just behind the shoulder and let it fly. I heard it hit him and he took off faster than any animal I had ever seen run, within seconds he was gone out of site. At that time I gathered my things and step out of the blind and went to find my arrow. Keith called me on the radio and I told him that I had shot a buck , he told me he would be there soon to help me track and recover my deer. I Had a great time with Keith and I was able to make some new friends from different parts of the country. I highly recommend Montana Whitetails, Keith did a great job and I am planning on booking with him for the 2012 season.

Doug Noland

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