Sunday, November 22, 2015

Evening Stroll

I gotta tell you, guiding duck hunts; way tougher than fishing. So last night, we took a break from the duck hunting and the LaRues and I went back up into the Elkhorns above Canyon Ferry. We didn't see any big deer, which is what Jonny is looking for but we did see six bull elk hanging out on a ridge-top that totally made the hike worth it. Two were rag-horns, two were smaller 6x6's, and two were big 6's with one of them being probably the biggest elk I've seen in the wild. Since nobody had the special "either sex" tag, we couldn't go after them.
Montana designates certain areas as intensive management areas and only gives out a limited number of tags. The Elkhorns are one of those areas. I think they only give out about 40 for that area per year. On a general license, a hunter can only shoot spike bulls and a youth hunter can shoot spikes or cows. What it does is limits the pressure and allows the bulls to get huge. If you draw one of those tags, you don't normally use it on anything small so many of the tags don't even get punched. The strategy works and some of those bulls even move off into adjacent management areas that aren't restricted giving folks the chance to take really good bulls on public land. Plus, if you're doing what we were doing, which was looking for mule deer, you have a good chance to see these guys hanging out and that's pretty damn cool.
Duck hunting again today. It's been rough for us; just not seeing the birds but I saw a picture from Tanner Duncan yesterday and they apparently crushed it. Part of me thinks, "You son-of-a-bitch!" The other part of me realizes it may just have something to do with more birds getting pushed to the river with the cold nights and with the added traffic from other hunters on the weekend, ducks are moving. It also may mean we need to switch up strategies so here it is; 4:40am and I'm heading out the door to get an early start instead of hunting the evening.
Keep 'em where they live...

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