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All Things Smith River – A step by step guide to making the most of your trip down the Smith River.

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For many, getting an opportunity to float down Montana’s threatened, and world renowned Smith River is a once in a lifetime experience. For some, myself included, it’s an opportunity that seems to present itself every couple of years or so. Solely because of all our buddies who are equally obsessed with fishing, floating, and kind enough to send us an invitation when they draw a permit. This year on the other hand, the permit holder is no-one other than yours truly. So, without further ado, lets jump right into All Things Smith River.

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Step 1: Acquiring the permit.

If you’re reading this, you’ve either already got a permit in hand, or you’re wondering how the heck you can get one for next year. The answer is simple, yet complicated. The Smith River is without a doubt a very special place, and one of the handful of rivers in the United States that requires a permit to float. Each year between the beginning of January, and the middle of February, Montana Fish Wildlife And Parks opens their application period to applicants from all over the world who hope to pull a coveted permit. If you’ve never applied before, you can do so HERE. Keep in mind that although drawing a permit isn’t easy, there are dates that are easier to draw than others. Montana FWP considers  “peak season” to run from May 15th – July 15th. Therefore, launch dates in that time period will be the hardest to draw. However if you’re willing to roll the dice, and take a gamble on Spring weather or low water later in the season, you will have a much better chance of drawing a permit. This year I was fortunate enough to draw a permit during peak season, and I’ve got my fingers crossed in hopes of a much warmer float than last time. Remember what I was saying about taking a gamble on Spring Weather? Take a look at the photos below to see what our 2016 launch day looked like.

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Step 2: Getting there.

The launch site (Camp Baker) is located in Central Montana, about 35 miles Northwest of a small town called White Sulphur Springs. Make sure to have all of the essential pieces of gear you’ll need before getting there, as there will be limited opportunities to buy outdoor gear in town. That being said, it’s a great place to get gas, sit down for dinner, and grab a couple cold ones the night before you launch. If you’re already in Montana, driving to Camp Baker is relatively easy. Once you arrive, you’ll want to check in and try to get yourself towards the top of the list for launching the next day, and get your campsites reserved. Before launching, everyone in your party will be required to pay a small launch fee. The fee for Montana residents over the age of 13 is $25.00, and $60.00 for non resident adults. Each group is allowed 15 people per permit. Although you are not required to show up the day prior to your float, I’d highly recommend it. This will allow you to get a good spot in line for launching the following day, and give you a buffer incase you do forget something essential, and need to drive back to Helena to get it. If you do find yourself in that predicament, stop into Cross Currents Fly Shop for anything you may have forgotten. In 2016, we rented two rafts from them, and I would recommend them to anyone.

Picking up the rental rafts from Cross Currents Fly Shop was a breeze. Check them out if you’re in need of rental equipment for your trip down the Smith.

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Things got a little western on the way from White Sulphur Springs to Camp Baker, and we immediately knew we were in for a heck of a day when the sun rose the following morning. As expected, we woke up to 8″ of snow.

Step 3: What you’ll need.

Preparing for a five day float trip can be an incredibly daunting task for someone who’s never done it before, and can still make you feel like you’re forgetting something important no matter how many times you’ve done it. Below is a list of essential items to bring on your trip.

  • Raft(s) – Preferably with a fishing frame attached.
  • Oars – Bring an extra set of oars for each boat in your party, not only is it required, but it’s a smart thing to do.
  • Lifejackets  Under Montana law, you are required to have at least one life jacket on board for each occupant of the boat.
  • Anchor Don’t be the guy that gets 5 miles down river from the put in and realizes he forgot to attach the anchor to the boat. Check, and double check your anchor before putting in at Camp Baker.
  • Camping Gear – Depending on the dates of your float, you’ll want to make sure you have a three or four season tent, with a heavy duty rain fly, especially for those early, or later dates.
  • Dry Bags – Dry bags are a necessity on any float trip, as they keep your belongings dry. I personally like to bring one smaller bag to put camera gear in and keep with me all day, and one larger bag for the rest of my belongings that need to stay dry, but can be packed away.
  • Extra Clothing – If your launch date is during peak season, this could mean bringing a couple of extra pairs of board shorts. If you’re launching earlier in the season, this can mean full on winter gear including gloves, hats, and multiple layers of insulation. Don’t be the guy that shows up unprepared. Take the time to pack well in advance, and keep an eye on the extended weather forecast to make sure you pack accordingly.
  • Camp Shoes – It’s nice to take your wet sandals, or heavy wading boots off after a long day on the river. Bring a pair of Crocks or Chacos to wear around in camp.
  • Fishing Gear Montana’s Smith River is home to a wide variety of species, patiently waiting for you to float a San Juan worm past them. (COUGH COUGH… San Juan Worms do well on the Smith, and pretty much anywhere else for that matter.)
  • Fishing License – You can purchase a fishing license at any certified FWP license provider.
  • Collapsable Camping Stove / grill – You’re on the river for almost a week, live it up, and enjoy nice meals in camp. Nobody wants to eat freeze dried meals the whole time.
  • Collapsable Camping Table – There’s nothing worse than trying to cook on the ground, and getting everything messy. Bring at least one collapsable camping table to cook and clean on, and possibly more depending on the size of your party.
  • Cooking Accessories – Depending on the size of your party, and space available in your boat(s), you’ll want to bring plenty of pots & pans, utensils, plates, bowls, and camp mugs (for coffee, whiskey, or both.)
  • Rain Gear I’ll say it again so you don’t forget, BRING YOUR RAIN GEAR.
  • Food – Depending on the size of your group, you’ll want to make sure you have enough food for the five day float, and then a little extra, just incase.
  • Beverages – Be sure to pack plenty of water, gatorade, and other hydrating beverages, along with a handful of adult beverages (If you are of legal age). That being said, the Smith River is an incredible place, and needs to be respected. If you are indulging in adult beverages, be sure to keep the river clean by disposing of trash properly, and most of all make sure to stay safe and be a responsible floater.
  • Bear Spray / Side Arm – The Smith River is known for it’s abundance of black bears, and while taking the right precautions to deter bears can lower your chance of seeing one, it’s always advised to come prepared. Be sure to bring bear spray, or a side arm of your choice, just incase.
  • Bear Resistant Food Storage – It is required to have all of your food stored in bear resistant containers throughout the duration of your float, take this seriously as it is the law, and something that will be double checked and enforced at the time of your launch / throughout the trip.

Step 4: Bon Voyage!

Waking up on the morning of your launch day can be exhilarating, and full of excitement. Smiles grin from cheek to cheek, as floaters chomp at the bit to get their boats rigged and hit the water. Once the boats are rigged, and everything is in order, you patiently wait your turn to launch in the order that you checked in (this is why checking in the day before can come in handy). Take this time to check your gear list, make sure boats are rigged properly, and rig up rods for an epic five days of floating, fishing, and camping along some of the most beautiful landscapes that Montana has to offer. If I had to describe the Smith in one sentence, I’d call it the “Mini Grand Canyon”, only way cooler because it’s located right in our own backyard. Once you hit the water, you might as well turn your cell phone off, and bury it deep in your bags. Trust me, you won’t need it. Floating through the vast canyons of the Smith is spectacular to say the least, and is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. That being said, the scenery isn’t the only spectacular part about it. Great fishing opportunities can be found throughout the entire 61 mile float, as fish will be keying in on streamers, nymphs (cough… San Juan Worms), and dry flies (depending on the time of year).

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Final Remarks:

Depending on your experience level and ambition, you’re either thinking “Holy crap I’ve gotta do that!” or “Dang, that sounds like a ton of work.” The short answer is that it’s a lot of both, but 100% worth it in my opinion. The Smith River truly is something spectacular, and an opportunity to float it should not be passed up by anyone in their right mind. Some of the best memories of my life have been made along the walls of the Smith, and I’m ecstatic for round two this June. My final piece of advice to you would be to have fun. Enjoy the company you’re with, the lack of cell service, and the abundance of hungry fish and beautiful landscapes. If we all had a little more of that in our lives, the world would be a better place. Watch Stoked On The Smith, below for a large dose of stoke!

 Words & photos: Calvin Connor.

Cinematography – Stoked On The Smith: Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor.

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Bucks & Birds

pheasant, upland, hunting, partridge, grouse, montana, wild, shotgun, antelope, pronghorn, hunt

Chasing antelope with a rifle has become one of my favorite hunts. Not because its a rifle hunt, but rather the change in landscape and pace after charging hard in the mountains all of September. Its nice to be able to see as far as the next horizon and look over a lot of animals.

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Pronghorn country.

I was fortunate to have drawn a rifle tag in 2016 and I was relieved to know I would have the chance to put meat in an empty freezer. I brought my shotgun as well, hoping to add a little upland bird meat to the menu.

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The trusty 870.

After filling the truck and a couple hours on the road, I was in the heart of antelope country. The recent downpour of rain had left most two-tracks closed and gumbo was in full force. This was actually a good thing, because the road hunters had to stay on main roads and couldn’t access some land that they may be able to if the roads were in better condition.

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Gets ya stuck real quick.

I scanned and glassed vast amounts of country, looking for a buck that caught my eye. I peered deep into the horizon through my spotter, instantly seeing what looked to be an army of white butts. One of the largest groups of antelope I had seen while hunting was feeding deep in an untouched zone. I decided to drive a large loop around the group and approach from a direction that I felt would provide more cover.

pronghorn, antelope, country, hunt, montana, 406

Searching for ‘the one’.

I finally spotted the group of speedgoats 900yds out and bedded. Out of the 6 antelope I could see currently, there appeared to be one particular buck with great prongs. I decided to get closer, but with no other options I had to get dirty and army crawl. It was one of the longest army crawls I have had to do and in no way was it joyous trying to avoid cactus. A few sharp needles found a new home in my soft knees. At this point I had crawled to within range, and decided the buck I had my eye on was going to be worthy of a shot. A couple discharges of the rifle later and I had successfully filled my tag.

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Its all hair.

The best part was that the hunt was not over. I spent the next 24hrs attempting to jump shoot birds with my good friends Tyler and Cole. We took Charley the supposed ‘bird dog’ along. What you need to know about Charley is he is not the best bird dog. To be honest Charley is a horrible bird dog. Charles is the dog that flushes all the birds 100-150yds in front of you and the moment a shotgun goes off he hides behind your heels. After Charley had his fun for the day, he went back on the leash.

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Charley sad about his bird dog performance.

After getting Charley under control, we had a very successful day shooting pheasant, partridge, and sharptail grouse. The recoil of the shotgun and the flush of birds is definitely addicting. I felt like a fire was re-lit for upland birds and hopefully I will be loading the shotgun with more 2 3/4″ shells soon.

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Roosters in full force.

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Sharptail feathers.

If you would like to see more upland bird content or upland bird related apparel, leave us a comment below!

Love pronghorn hunting? Love pheasant hunting? Check out our latest Fast Food shirts:

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-Travis

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FISH REEL 2017 – Fishing Cinema Reel

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It has been a few years since our last FISH REEL. We originally started the “Fish Reel” back in 2011 to showcase some of our favorite shots in one short video. Well we’re back and so are the Fish Reels! These were some of our favorite shots from the past couple years.

Leave us a comment, let us know what you think and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for our most recent uploads.

 

Travis

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10 Great Online Fishing Films

fishing, film, montana, trout

Fly fishing film.  It’s come a long ways in the last five years yet also remained surprisingly stagnant.  Technology has helped put the tools to create great film in almost everyone’s hands and documenting the sport has never been easier.  With a younger crowd pushing into the industry the look and feel of the content has slowly began to shift.  On the other hand it seems little progress has been made towards new and creative content.  Each year’s film tour is filled with the same storylines, slow-mo tarpon jumps, and exotic locations only the rich or connected few will ever see.  Some would disagree but hey that’s just my opinion.  The emergence of quality fishing films really started about 5-6 years ago in my opinion and since then there have been thousands of films made.  As filmmakers we continually look to progress the realm of fishing films and to some extent I think we have although not without ruffling a few feathers.  The fishing community can be a touchy bunch.  As such though we try to keep an eye on what other films are coming out and we appreciate the work others put into promoting the sport of fly fishing.  At the end of the day that is really what fishing film should be about, promoting the sport and passion for catching fish and as a result of that passion we want to protect the places those fish live.  With that said here are 10 of our favorites from over the years.  Over half of them are now two years old and to me that says something, I’ll let you interpret the meaning for yourselves.  Without further ado watch, enjoy and please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on remarkable fishing films you feel we may have overlooked!

Trout Is All

Rolf Nylinder is one exceptional filmmaker and storyteller.  He graces this list twice and for good reason.  His films have style and this film merges much of why we trout fish into one beautiful short film.  No egos, just fishing, beautiful places and rising trout.

Double Down

Shot five years ago this film is one that hasn’t lost any appeal since then.  Still moody as ever and filled with great fish and some great shots.  The underwater shot a 2:00 is still a personal favorite.

Mighty Mouse

Mice, trout, AK.  Need we say more?

Breathe

RC has become a beast behind the camera over the years.  From competing against him at the Simms Shoot Out in 2012 his progression has been rapid.  This film of his came out about 4 years ago but still rings true as ever.  Fishing is good for the soul and sometimes all you need is a deep breath and a fly rod in hand.

New Zealand – Dream Come True

Great music, big trout, & beautiful New Zealand.  This is a more recent piece and many fishing films have come out of NZ but this one we seemed to like a bit more than the rest.  Did we mention we’ve got a trip in the works?

Early Morning Jungle Poon

The music and editing might be a bit jarring but the shots at 1:40 and 3:00 are easily worth the admission.

Plan B

Faceless Fly Fishing has been around for a good long while and this film from 5 years ago is a classic.  Cutties, bull trout, browns, brookies and falling buildings.

The Field Coffee Diary – Ep4 – A Late Hatch

Rolf with more poetry in motion.

Streamers Inc.

Breaking the mold here with a funny parody about streamer fisherman.

Knocking On The Door

The next generation is here.  These guys are all about stoking out the next generation and embracing the next wave of anglers to take up fly fishing.

Picking only 10 makes it tough so please share with us in the comments some of your favorite fishing films that are free and online!

Zack Boughton

My Montana Wild Internship

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Are you a young, motivated individual who is passionate about the outdoors, and filmmaking & photography? Are you looking for an internship to develop those skills? If so, look no further. Montana Wild is looking for interns for 2017, and you could be one of them. Follow along as I take you through my summer as an intern for the guys at Montana Wild!

montana wild, internship, hunting, fishing, photo, video

Taking a break from running the camera and throwing a salmonfly sure isn’t a bad gig.

As I approached my final summer as a college student at the University of Montana, I knew that I wanted to stay in Montana for the summer and work somewhere that’s directly related to media arts, which is what I’m studying in school. Shortly after making this decision, I saw a post on Montana Wild’s Facebook page that they were hiring, and also had internship positions available. From there I got ahold of Zack and Travis Boughton, and sent them my cover letter, resume, and portfolio. Shortly thereafter, I met up with the guys to talk about being an intern, and the next thing I knew, I had landed myself the sickest summer job around. I was stoked!

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Snapping photos, rowing, fishing, and camping on Montana’s Smith River.

What I didn’t know going into this internship was how many awesome places I was going to go while working. The major highlight of my internship for me was floating the Smith River and seeing first hand how important of a resource it is for Montana. Not only was it an awesome place to experience, but over the course of the trip I was able to shoot a wide variety of photos, and get to use some new gear for the first time. It gave me time to try new things, and ask questions that greatly improved my photography as a whole, but specifically fishing related photography and astrophotography. During that trip I also was able to see firsthand how the guys at Montana Wild work on a production. Being able work side-by-side with Zack and Travis helped shorten my learning curve greatly.

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Camping while on the job.

I also went on trips shed hunting, bear hunting, and a few days of salmonfly fishing/filming in SW Montana, where I was able to gain experience shooting on a cinema camera for the first time. Running a professional grade film camera allowed me to get a closer look at all the settings available to the filmmaker but also what it takes to make these cameras really shine. When you make that step up inherently you are going to make mistakes and being able to have a focused yet fun setting to make those mistakes was a great way to learn. After the shoot I had the opportunity to edit all my footage and work with high quality slow motion video for the first time as well. Aside from shooting and editing content in the field, as an intern for Montana wild you will learn the ins and outs of social media, advertising, brand and social promotions, and what it takes to run a successful brand and social media platform.

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Running the Sony FS7 while Zack navigates some whitewater.

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Chase packs out during a spring bear hunt.

Over the course of my internship I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of daily tasks that took me to some pretty incredible places. Daily tasks included the following:

  • Creating and scheduling daily social media posts
  • Creating focused, branded content packages for social media
  • Brainstormed photo/video content ideas
  • Shooting photo/video content
  • Editing photo/video content with Adobe programs
  • Coming up with blog post ideas. Writing blog posts
Montana Wild Internship

Developing skillsets, one click at a time.

If you are looking to become an intern for Montana Wild in the future, you should have some experience or be proficient with Adobe software. Specifically Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. Having a strong grasp of the basics is a necessity of the internship but will really allow you absorb much more during your internship. The more you already know the better, but that brings me to my next point.

By now you’re probably wondering, “So what am I going to get out of this internship?” other than a summer full of stoke, brown trout, camera gear and laughs. The answer is A LOT. Over the course of my internship I was able to improve my skills across the board from shooting photos and video, to editing said shots in Premiere, Lightroom, and Photoshop. When it came to shooting content, my technical skills improved drastically when it was time to set up gear, or quickly getting camera settings to desired levels to capture a shot. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and knowing how to use your gear to its fullest extent will greatly improve the content that you end up with. Subsequently, the content that I was shooting greatly improved as the summer went on. This was partially due to being out and shooting more frequently, but also because I had a resource to bring my work back to and be critiqued. Seems like a solid gig so far doesn’t it? Well it gets better yet. If you’re a college student, you more than likely will be able to receive credits towards graduation for your work over the course of the summer. In my case, I was able to get 6 credits, which meant less class and more time in the mountains come September!

montana wild, internship, hunting, film, photo

Spending time in the mountains with the guys meant more knowledge gained about cameras but also about hunting and backpacking.

Interested in working in the hunting and fishing media industry as a career? Not to worry, as an intern for Montana Wild not only will you build skills that will help you succeed in the future, but you will also have the chance to make connections by learning the ropes and insider tips from Zack and Travis. This will also allow you to meet other like minded people in the industry, and in today’s world, being talented at what you do, having job experience, and knowing the right people will get you far. Like what you see? If so send the guys at Montana Wild an email to info@montana-wild.com with the SUBJECT line: Montana Wild Internship.  Be sure to send a resume, cover letter and a portfolio of any photo/video work you’ve done.  Good luck!

Written by Calvin Connor

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Buzzer Beater Bull

elk, hunt, montana, rmef, missoula, bozeman, great falls, livingston, malta, dillon

As fall of 2013 rolled around, I was headed to Montana to start my freshman year at the University Of Montana, and unknown to me at the time, a journey that would would take me on an unforgetable ride over the course of the next four years. Growing up in Wisconsin, western hunting was something completely new to me, and I couldn’t wait to jump in feet first. Instead of spending my mornings in a cold ground blind, come September I would set out into the mountains of western Montana in search of my first bull elk.

elk, hunting, montana, sunrise, bull, moon

Elk country.

After getting to know a few locals and doing as much research as I could, I was ready to head out into the field. To be completely honest, my only goal that first year was to find elk on public land, and go from there. If I got something, great, but I was as excited as could be to just get out and explore. After wandering around aimlessly for a few days, I went out with a friend who had hunted elk before, and got my first real elk hunting experience. Somewhere in the middle of a 4:30 AM hike in a snowstorm without the right gear, I found myself questioning what I had gotten myself into, but by the end of the day, I was hooked. This first season would go on to be a great learning experience, as I found myself “in elk” a handful of times, and learning something valuable with every encounter. Being that western hunting is about as opposite from hunting in Wisconsin as it get’s, I found myself hiking further, spending more time behind my glass, and realizing that if I was going to take this seriously the following year, I’d need to step my game up.

vortex, optics, razor, glassing, elk, montana, western, missoula

Locating the herd.

Over the course of the next two seasons, I found myself not only spending more time in the woods, but being much more strategic about how I would spend my time there. Learning how to elk call, paying more attention to detail while glassing, and hunting in a wide variety of locations lead to a mixed bag of success including mule deer, whitetail deer, cow elk, antelope, and black bear. Although despite the many stalks, calling set ups, and extremely close encounters, I had yet to wrap my tag around a bull’s antlers.

calvin, muledeer, buck, wester, mt, montana, 406

Heavy packs and good times.

Some of the biggest lessons learned throughout these seasons are as follows:

Time:  As with anything, the more time you spend doing something, the more likely you are to be successful. This means getting out whenever you can, and making your time in the field count by hunting as hard as you can. It doesn’t matter if the weather is crappy, or the animals aren’t being as active as you’d like them to be. Go as often as possible, and stay for as long as you can. The bottom line is, you can’t kill them from the couch.

 

Distance: One of the biggest keys to success in western hunting is getting away from other hunters, and finding animals that aren’t as pressured or educated from previous human encounters. This means lacing up your boots, throwing on your pack, and hitting the hills for a day full of hiking. If possible, I generally try to hunt in areas that are at least two to three miles from the nearest road. This will cut your competition in half, and greatly increase your chances of seeing larger numbers, and a better quality of game animals.

hunting snow, elk, hunt, western, montana

As I entered my fourth season of hunting in Montana, I had gained a ton of knowledge, had drawn a limited entry bull elk tag, and for the first time in my short elk hunting career, was feeling confident in my ability to fill my bull tag as the season approached. As archery season began, I found myself surrounded by elk, and calling in a bull pretty much every time I went out. My skills as a hunter were growing, and the lessons I had learned from previous experiences were giving me the advantage I needed. At this point it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before I would release an arrow, and on the morning of September 12th, I did. Unfortunately, the shot was followed by the unmistakeable sound of my arrow hitting the bull’s front shoulder blade. After hours of searching, and scratching my head as to how I could have possibly messed up an opportunity that I had worked so hard for, I went home without a bull. Luckily, I was able to locate the same bull a few days later, and was pleased to see him chasing cows around like nothing had ever happened.

phoneskope, razor, hd, vortex, optics, elk, digiscoping

Time to strategize a gameplan.

As the season went on, I continued to hunt hard, getting out every day I could, but the majority of the elk in my unit had made their way onto private land. This meant that hunting far from the truck wasn’t going to increase my chances by a whole lot, and if I wanted to fill my tag, I was going to have to take a different approach. As I set out for the final week of Montana’s general season with a bull tag burning a hole in my pocket, I knew that if I wanted to be successful I would need to spend my time in areas surrounding the private land that was holding the majority of the animals. On November 25th, I headed into a spot that bordered a section of private that I knew frequently held elk. After watching the main herd of 40 + branch bulls feed past me a mere 100 yards on the wrong side of the fence, I glanced over to my left, and there stood a bull on my side of the fence. After a few chaotic seconds, I settled my crosshairs and my rifle roared, followed by the unmistakeable “whop!” we all hope to hear after pulling the trigger. After four years of learning, making mistakes, and hunting my hardest I was finally able to wrap my tag around an awesome first bull.

elk hair, hide, hunting, western, montana

Taking in the experience.

elk, hunt, first, bull, internship, montana, wild

Memories.

Over the course of the last four years, the journey to harvest a bull elk has been an unforgettable one, taking me to some of the most beautiful places montana has to offer, and allowing me to witness things in nature that I would have never imagined. Teaching yourself how to hunt elk on public land is no easy task, but with the right mindset, a willingness to learn from your mistakes, and a little bit of an obsession that keeps you coming back for more, it’s a journey that will eventually pay off in a big way.

 

Words by: Calvin Connor

Images by: Calvin Connor & Gus Conrad

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BIG GULPS – VIDEO

salmonfly, fishing, montana, video

The Salmonfly, one of the biggest meals on a trout’s menu.  It’s one of our favorite times to be on the water.  Last summer we took the camera out for a few days to capture a bit of why we love that time of year.  BIG GULPS is descriptive of the big eats that these bugs elicit from the trout that call Western Montana home.

If you missed the blog post giving a bit more info about the film and our fishing see the other post right HERE.

Also, if you didn’t quite get what you had hoped for this Christmas please visit our store and consider some of our branded apparel.  The purchase of this gear helps us make more free films for you in the future.  Shop here > MONTANA WILD STORE

-Zack Boughton

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BIG GULPS – Salmonfly Fishing SW Montana

salmonfly, fishing, montana, brown trout
salmonfly, nymph, montana, hatch

Pteronarcys californica

Late each spring salmonfly nymphs begin their migration towards banks, rock walls, logs, boulders and any other good structure where they can hatch.  The largest of stonefly here in Montana mean big food for all the fish in the river.  The hatch exists across the Western part of our state and in many areas across the Western half of the US.  It’s something anglers wait for and anticipate.  My first good taste of this hatch was in 2013 when good friend Dan “Rooster” Leavens, owner of the The Stonefly Inn, called me and said it was on.  I grabbed my camera and showed up for two great days of fishing.  Those days proved to be enough for a short film and Bareback Rider was created (watch below).

Since then we’ve fished the hatch in many places and had many memorable days.  This year we wanted to return to some of the areas that were quite renowned for their salmonfly fishing and take the camera out for a few days.  Fishing a massive dry fly is something I enjoy and love to capture.  This year we were able to get out ahead of the hatch and try to watch it progress and learn more of the intricacies of this impressive bug.

salmonfly fishing, montana, montanawild, film

Where they at?

Early on the fish didn’t key in on the dry.  As a few adults would begin to hatch you’d think it would be popping off at any second.  An hour later and you hadn’t had one fish rise to the big bug.  Nymphing, streamers and other small dries were the ticket to getting fish in the boat those first few days out.  As to be expected when the fish started looking up for the salmonfly the word got out.  It wasn’t unusual to see 10-20 trailers at all the main fishing access sites along the river.  Fish were to be had but catch a few and pull over for a quick photo and you just might get passed by a handful of boats.

salmonfly hatch, montana, fishing, brown trout

Travis kicking the morning off with a slab of butter.

Some days I didn’t know which was better, be out in front and be the first bug the fish see or sit back and let the other boats create the hatch.  We had big fish eat both ways and regardless of pressure you’ll always have those fish sitting in the spot that only 10% of anglers can either cast to or get a good drift through.

salmonfly hatch, bug, tula hats, babe, fishing

Sunny, warm days, salmonflies and pretty women in the front of the boat. Life is good.

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The “if you’re real lucky” salmonfly eater

At the end of the year we’d gotten enough shots to piece together a short film.  Monday the 9th we’ll release our latest fishing film, BIG GULPS, here on the website!

Zack Boughton

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THE COLD – FULL FILM

late season archery hunting, film

Today we are releasing our latest hunting film, THE COLD.  This film was shot over the course of two years spent late season archery hunting for mule deer.  The COLD is both a descriptive word for late season hunts, but also represents a sickness. In this case a sickness for chasing rutting mule deer. Watch as Zack puts his skills to the test searching for a mature buck.  Presented by Vortex Optics

And if you missed the teaser you can watch it HERE and a blog post giving some of the backstory of this hunt and film can be read HERE.

If you’re still doing Christmas shopping don’t forget we have a great line of apparel for the outdoorsmen or woman at our MONTANA WILD STORE.

-Zack Boughton

 

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THE COLD – The Teaser

the cold, teaser, film, bowhunting

Our latest film, THE COLD is presented by Vortex Optics.  Watch the THE COLD Teaser below and you can read more about the backstory on this hunt right HERE.

Full film will release on December 12th right here on our website!