The first night at Montana’s Upper Canyon Outfitters, just before we turned in for the night, Donna said, “sleep in tomorrow, it will be the last day you can!” So, of course yesterday, Todd and I were up at 0600…central time–0500 here in Montana.
It was a great relaxing morning. I got to look out the window and glass a Bighorn Sheep on the hillside. They are protected here, so he just idled around for hours.
After a healthy and warm lunch of soup and salads, we got geared up and checked to ensure our rifles were still sighted in after the travel. Interestingly, both Todd and I were two inches high, and two inches left. A few minor adjustments we were dialed in and good to go from 100 yards to 300 yards!
Then it was to the horse barn. I am lucky to be able to ride the same horse I rode when I was out here at Upper Canyon Outfitter’s this summer, Bingo. Jake makes you sing his name, with enthusiasm, if you want him to leave you alone.
For the record, it is very hard to get up on a horse in full size hunting boots and several layers of clothes, but getting off the horse is even trickier. I am lucky to have Brian and Bill to give me pointers on how not to get hung up! Donna gave all of us hunters a safety brief, then we had a wonderful dinner with great people.
After a little night cap, we were off to bed. Morning came early, but sleep hardly came at all. I was so excited.
Montana hunt, day two
When it was finally time to get up, Todd said, “ok, you can go see what Santa brought you now!” It was that exact childhood memory of Christmas Morning. We had breakfast, packed a lunch, and we were off.
It was a fabulous day! I have to say that I am proud of myself for accomplishing so much. No, we didn’t get an Elk, but it was a full day from 6 am to being back in the ranch around 7:30pm.
We went to hunt Bone Hollow. I have no idea why it is called Bone Hollow, but maybe because it chills you to the bone. To get to Bone Hollow you have to climb a mountain.
Seriously, I do not know how to explain this other than to say it is steep, steep, steep. When I got to the top and turned around the entire surrounding mountain ranges seemed like the top of the World. Half way up, I have to admit, I did not think I would make it, but I did, only to find out that we then had to go half way down the other side to get to the area we would hunt.
It was a hike, and thanks to Natalie I made it! In honesty, I did suck wind for the entire time. I’ll blame it on the Montana altitude, but the truth is for as hard as I prepared, I definitely could have done more.
Then we looked for Bucks and Bulls. We saw about 21 Doe and two bucks. I didn’t get a shot at the shooter buck, named Narley. Narley was atypical with one side having four or five points and a drop tine, and the other side looking like a little spike buck.
He trotted all the way down to see the little doe that sat perfectly in range for us all day, but apparently she is not very attractive, because Narly gave her a sniff and ran away. If I felt cussing was appropriate, I would insert a word here. Use your imagination.
We built a nice fire at lunch and warmed up. I will tell you that my Schnee’s boots saved my life, and a pair of Gerbing’s Heated Gloves saved my hands. I wore both Haley Vines and Prois today, and was mostly warm.
There were some times when the wind whipped through, and I think anyone would have been cold no matter what they had on! The greatest part of the day for me, was sitting on the ridge, overlooking a park, and the sun shining, at that moment, life couldn’t get much better.
I think hunting is really about the experience, and very little about the harvest. The harvest is really just the cherry on top of a perfect desert. Todd and I were totally relaxed. Then, we had to go to bed, so we could get up the next day and do Montana all over again. I went to sleep hoping we would get to ride horses in, not hike. My legs were tired!