Hunting in Montana

Where the deer and the antelope (and elk) play

These are photos and a video from my first year of hunting in Montana.  I dropped my Kodak somewhere north of Helena on my first day of hunting, so these are pictures taken with my LG cell phone.  FYI, elk is almost identical to beef.  If you soak it in buttermilk for 12 hours, it is identical to beef.  Plus, there are no hormones, antibiotics, etc. that come from beef in the US industry.

This bull is called a “5 point” since he has 5 points on each side of his antler rack.  He is mature, but no giant.  With a weight of 700 pounds, he is a fine specimen of a Montana elk.  Two friends were further up the mountain and they bumped two bulls toward me.  Larry tagged the darker elk.  I shot mine with a 300 Win Mag at about 60 yards in timber.  The elk came trotting in and my blood pressure hit 1000.  The first shot went in just behind the heart — the elk just stood there and shuddered for about five seconds.  He started to walk away slowly.  I was amazed at how hardy the animal was to still stand after such a shot.  The second shot was just behind the head, high on the neck.  The elk flinched, but remained standing!  The elk likely had not seen me, so I waited for five minutes behind some small pines.  As I approached the elk, I could not believe that he was still alive.  A 9mm between the eyes at 35 feet finished him, with no more wasted meat.

I was only about 300 yards from a 4×4 road, which was downhill.  I didn’t have any rope with me, so I started to pull the beast down by the antlers.  That worked pretty well, but on the steep parts the elk would pick up speed and gore me in the legs.  I was a bit concerned that I was going to be injured by a dead ungulate, so I decided to ride/sled him down the hillside.  I sat on his shoulder, pulled back on his antlers, and gave a few kicks — going about 100 feet down before hitting a Douglas fir tree.  I rerouted and tried again.  This time, I went about 50 feet and got too fast, so I dropped the horns and let them dig into the snow to stop up.  I went over the top with a slight thud.  From then on, I dragged my feet to slow it down, and that worked pretty well until we reached the pathway for the truck.

Jim's on left, Larry's on right -- a good day hunting

Larry’s elk is on the right — you can barely tell them apart except mine is a lighter shade.

These are super-fresh prints of a wolf that’s running along a logging road.  My size 13 boot is there for comparison.  This wolf stayed just ahead of me for about 30 minutes, then followed me for an hour.  You can smell a wolf from 100 yards away (strong wet dog odor), but I never saw it because of the thick trees.

In the last weekend of the season, with friends, I saw one of the biggest and baddest mule deer bucks anyone could hope for and had him scoped for 2 minutes.  His antlers had tines going backwards and downwards — looked like a crazy chandelier on his head!  The rut was in full swing and he was all about maintaining his harem.  I didn’t have a special tag for area 343, which is whitetails only, so I had to let him walk.  (They gotta feed the wolves, you know.)

MT Representative Mike Miller's photo - 70 elk

I’m proud to say that I am a constituent for Rep. Mike Miller, House District 84.   He took this photo from his property in Helmville, MT.  Mike uses an unmodified 30-40 Krag in the brush and a Ruger .338 in the open.  The Krag has a very cool loading mechanism: a fold open hatch to an internal magazine.




  1. came to see pics of a boat but found these, congrats

    • Thanks, Gary:

      If you are ever in MT for hunting season, let me know.

  2. In general, it’s much better than beef.

  3. Jim, Good story about the elk. If you would ever like to teach an old hunter how to hunt elk, I would be delighted.
    I hope you told Larry that we really enjoyed the elk he gave us.
    Several weeks ago, I caught 3 rainbows. The biggest was 23″ long! What a thrill for me to fight with that beautiful fish.


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