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Two Years And Four Montana Trophies

My story begins with the all too often serious illness and long recovery. During the recuperation, like many, in the same situation, I visited my bucket list. Left on the list was my dream of hunting deer and elk in the “West”. Contact with Montana Whitetails convinced me that trophy deer were a distinct possibility along with elk. My dream had begun early in my hunt as Rob and I perused some of the most beautiful elk country imaginable. Peeking over a rise we observed two large bulls at about 200 + yards. I could not get them in the scope, however, beyond them stood three bulls and two cows. 

They were milling about at approximately 300 + yards , and for some unknown reason started to walk toward our hiding place. These animals were monsters to me, having never experienced this before. I located the shoulder of a great bull in the scope of my borrowed .270 cal rifle and began to burn through five of the six rounds in my possession. I had borrowed this rifle when I arrived, which is a story in itself. Rob observed a hit and was able to locate red snow. The bull left a significant blood trail in snow, but we lost trail where the snow ended and the ground was churned up by many other elk tracks. 

We continued our search by glassing and sharing enjoyable conversation. During our conversation Rob calmly stated that there was a bull over in the tree line about three fourths to one mile away. I locked onto his antlers also and while we both observed the bull, he stood up and immediately fell. That’s your bull Rob exclaimed and my feelings were overwhelming. What a fantastic feeling as we circled around the bull to gain wind advantage. A large raven in a tree above the bull along with multiple magpies helped us locate the bull. Rob’s expert hunting skills were very evident as we stealthily approached the bull from behind. Boom, my last round was gone! It was time to notify Keith of our success and for him to deliver more rounds. While waiting, laying on our backs, and eating lunch a giant golden eagle floated over us as if to punctuate a fantastic dream come true.

Along with elk in the 2012 season, I chose to hunt the beautiful and productive river bottom, with Montana whitetails for a trophy. I was first positioned where I saw several deer including a shooter but no shot. The second time out took me to a blind where I saw many deer just at dusk with at least three shooters giving me no shots. The third time out was a charm! I saw many deer including at least 25 bucks of all sizes. Again, just at dusk a shooter showed himself on the fence line. Wasting no time I moved to within approximately seventy yards from him and completed the harvest. Coming from Vermont where seeing one deer a day and only one buck in the entire fourteen day season is considered success I was in disbelief here in Montana.

My 2013 season with Montana Whitetails found me in pursuit of a muley and antelope. Early morning found me high on a ridge line waiting for a beautiful sunrise while thinking of the Nez Pierce Native Americans that must have hunted the very hill I now sat on. Keith placed me on the perfect spot to observe a long brushy draw and then he and two hunters went off to pursue elk. Several whitetails showed themselves along with a small muley chasing six does. It was quite a show! Suddenly a beautiful whitetail buck and doe popped out of the brush which seemed full of deer. I just couldn’t pass on this buck. After getting to my deer I could see a large bodied muley walking away in the distance. I can’t help but think what would have happened if I had waited five more minutes! This incident still haunts me and I’ll be returning in 2014 to look for him!

My 2013 hunt for antelope was my first and was an exciting experience! The day before my harvest we observed a large herd of “goats” in the distance way out of range. The next day I was posted by Rob, whom also set up a decoy about 200 yards away. At first light I observed a bedded herd of approximately 40 antelope stand and walk out of range. I looked around toward the decoy and saw antelope heads pop up over the ridge. The anticipation of an antelope with high horns popping up was very exciting. All of a sudden there he was, bang, a long shot secured him as he checked out the decoy. These are beautiful animals and are great eating.

Jude Burgess

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