Posts

About three years ago we release Tooth & Fang on Vimeo On Demand.  It was our first full length film and it covered the controversial topic of coyote hunting.  We had been coyote hunting for years and knew why we did it but often met those who knew nothing about it and based their ideas off emotion and not real life truths.  Over almost three years we filmed with ranchers and our hunts to put together what would be Tooth & Fang.  This week we released it on our YouTube channel for free.  You can watch the full film below:

The release this week has been hugely successful and many people have been sharing their support for the film.  Please take the time to watch it and if you like it, share it with your friends.

Zack Boughton

Six years. It seemed like forever before I drew my first rifle antelope tag. Finally it would be me behind the trigger on a Montana antelope hunt and stoke was high. I’d been on a few other rifle antelope hunts and they always were a blast ending with a good goat on the ground and tasty meat in the cooler.

antelope hunting montana, maddie sieler, travis boughton

Maddie with her 2017 buck and Travis with his from 2015

SCOUTING

Some hunts I try to get some intel on and others I just go in blind and use my skills built over the years to try to find success. I chose the later on this one. It was just me, my gear and some maps. It would be a lot of miles but I knew if I spent the time driving and glassing, driving and glassing I’d find some good bucks worthy of my tag. The first day had me rolling into my unit about 5:30pm. Just enough time to look over a little country and start inventorying bucks. That night I found the first good buck.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy

I really liked the look of this buck from head on with both cutters and horn tips curving in

I knew he wasn’t huge but he wasn’t small either. A few text messages confirmed that he was a good goat. I had 4 more days before opener so I knew I’d keep searching. The next morning I woke to rain and fog. Visibility was pretty minimal.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy

I’d actually camped in a spot where I’d hopped to hike down into a coulee and glass for mule deer. With the fog I decided to hit the road and move to my next target area for antelope. After about 3 hours of driving dirt roads I’d only turned up a few smaller bucks. Antelope seemed to be a rare commodity in country that seemed like ideal habitat for many, many more animals than was present. My map was a combination of mule deer spots and antelope spots. I’d drawn this tag with the intent of scouting for mule deer as well and before I knew it I was again in a spot that screamed mule deer. With fresh snow on the ground and a stiff 20mph wind I wasn’t excited to get out of the truck but finally I manned up and hit the hills.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy

Muley country

Soon I was at the head of the coulee and it was much deeper than I’d expected. As I crest over the top I spotted multiple bucks bedded on the other side. A quick look through the spotter revealed a few 4 point bucks but nothing over 150”.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy, mule deer, buck

The “big” buck, pretty typical for Eastern Montana.

Pretty standard for Montana. They really need to do something about such a long rifle season and allowing it to run straight through the rut. It’s made for poor age classes of deer in much of the state and good genetics quickly get shot out. I snuck closer and decided to make a quick stalk on them for practice. As I got to the last ridge I looked below me. There was a smaller 4 point buck bedded facing away. I quickly ranged him at 40 yards and drew holding my pin on his vitals. It wasn’t easy holding in the wind but was good practice. I let down and headed up the hill looking for the main group of bucks. As I crested up higher the buck below me caught my wind and spooked up the draw collecting about a dozen does. That group stopped on the hill and I could see my group of bucks was now on alert. They were just 66 yards away. They slowly crept up over the top of the hill before fleeing to the next draw. Oh well, at least he wasn’t a big one. I glassed a few other pockets before heading back to the truck and going back to searching for antelope. That night I found one antelope buck. It was slim pickings out here but at least it was a buck and not a terrible one either.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy

One lone buck in dozens of square miles of perfect habitat

The next morning I kept moving west headed for new country. Right off the bat I spotted a few groups in a field. A quick rip down the road put me just a few hundred yards from them and I threw up the spotter. There was one buck in the group that I’d say was a shooter.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy

The group’s leader. Unfortunately never to be seen again

I watched him for a while before they trotted off to the north end of the field. I kept searching that day only to find a few other small bucks. Over the last month I’ve been working on getting a new rifle all dialed in and setup for mountain elk and deer hunts. It’s a Weatherby Ultra Light Mark V in the 300 Weatherby Mag caliber. Overkill for antelope but this hunt would be in-the-field practice which I wasn’t going to say no to. I needed to double check my zero and then shoot 400 and 500.

montana, antelope, hunting, rifle, public land, diy, weatherby, 300 mag

Trying to verify my zero at 200 in a strong wind. Not fun

Of course the wind was ripping so I tried to find a spot where it was at my back. I shot and quickly found my zero wasn’t exactly on. Weird, I’d just shot it at the range a week ago and it appeared to be on. I fiddled with it and adjusted it to the best of my ability given the winds. I wasn’t ultra confident in it but would have tomorrow to shoot more before the opener. That night was a hearty dinner of mule deer backstrap courtesy of Maddie and some mashed potatoes. The next morning I decided I needed to shoot the rifle while the wind was calm. I quickly verified my zero at 300 yards on my coyote steel. First shot was money and actually blew a hole right through the steel. Ouch.

steel target, hole, hunting, rifle

I’m pretty sure my bullet will penetrate on an antelope

From there I drove down the road to some state land and shot 400 and 500 to verify my drop at each distance. First shot hits at each yardage told me all I needed to know and my confidence was restored after yesterdays tough shooting.

That evening I went back to the area I’d seen one of the better bucks and glassed from a high vantage point.  I saw antelope spread out over a 2-3 mile range and were well back off the road.  With an idea of where to expect to see antelope I found a camp spot and prepared for opening morning.

THE HUNT

The next morning started with a beautiful sunrise but no antelope in the usual spots by the main road.

montana, sunrise, prairie

I drove back around onto a county road and started glassing into a field they had been calling home.  A few small bucks showed up in the field down low but they were small.  A drive further down the road revealed two other larger groups of antelope, but all the bucks appeared to be medium sized through my spotter.  I wasn’t sold on a stalk yet and decided to check one last area before going and hiking to the back end of the public section.  As I pulled up on top I looked down to my left and saw a buck.  He was on the small side and I decided to go up and turn around and see if some hiking could produce something larger.  After turning around I was coming back down the road when I looked back down where the smaller buck had been.  There now were four other antelope and one buck that looked to be worth a closer look.  They were just about a 1000 yards off the road and I quickly grabbed my stuff and headed down on the back side of a ridge.  I thought the ridge would have a lower field on the backside where the antelope had fed to but I was wrong.  It actually just came straight up onto the field by the road.  By the time I got down there and peeked over the antelope where now up on the flat only a few hundred yards off the road.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get close enough for a shot and they crossed the road and ran way out into a large flat field.  Dang, I should have just stayed up by the road and could have easily shot a buck just a few hundred yards from the truck.  Oh well.  I put the spotter on the buck and verified that he was right on the cusp of what I was hoping to shoot.

I watched them feed off and drove around to start a hike back into the area I felt they were headed.  Forty five minutes later I was hiking up a draw trying to gain some ground yet remaining low and staying out of sight.  I looked up and spotted white up ahead of me.  I pulled up the binos only to see that it was a coyote hunting his way down the draw.  I rarely pass on the chance to hunt a coyote and I quickly put a bullet in the chamber and grabbed my distress call from my cargo pocket.  I knew if he was going to come it wouldn’t take much coaxing.  I blew on the call just a few times and got ready.  Soon I could see a head bounding over the grass.  He came down intently looking for the dying critter he had just heard.  I put the crosshairs on the coyotes chest and started to pull.  Nothing.  My safety was on and before I knew it he was coming closer.  The coyote was on a mission and I thought for sure he would key in on me sitting behind my backpack in the knee high grass.  I panned my gun with him as he swung to my left side.  He was oblivious to my movement and was soon about to hit my wind just 30 yards away.  I barked and he finally stopped.  I aimed low and squeezed one off.  He spun a few circles biting behind his shoulder and then was dead.  I’d made a perfect shot and the new Weatherby had it’s first kill.

coyote hunting montana, montana, coyote, hunting

I took a few photos and looked the coyote over.  His buddy came up on the hill while I was dinking around and I could have shot at him but he was skylined and I only had 7 more rounds of ammo for my hunt.  I passed and soon had my pack back on and was headed to find these antelope.  Soon enough I spotted the main group.  I backed around and shortly was within 400 yards of about 15 different antelope and 5-6 bucks.  The problem I soon had was that they were all smaller than I had hoped for.  The stalk and being able to get within range gave me confidence that I would be able to put the hammer on one as soon as I could locate a shooter.

antelope, rifle scope, hunting

A small buck with no idea how luck he is

antelope buck

A better buck that decided to peel off the main group. I’d end up passing on him later in the day.

I went back to the truck and made lunch and considered my options.  I’d seen 2 if not three bucks in this area that I’d shoot and I just needed to find one.  It was too early to relocate and I’d noticed that a portion of the antelope were using an adjacent state section that I needed to drive around to access.  I couldn’t glass into it but figured it would be worth a shot for the afternoon hunt.  I drove around and again grabbed my pack and gun and headed out.  I dropped into the bottom and soon was glassing up mule deer bucks and does across the drainage.  Nothing special and they just watched me from a distance as I proceeded down the draw.  Soon I saw a buck just a few hundred yards out.  He saw me at the same time and stood up.  I was able to put my spotter on him and noticed he was the same buck I’d seen earlier that left the large group.  He’d moved about a mile and half and was by himself.  I deemed him not quite a shooter and started walking towards him.  He wasn’t too scared and would run off to about 2-300 yards and just snort and blow at me.  I kept going and wished he would give it up and just run off, little did I know he would soon come in handy.  As I slowly rounded the next bend I saw a buck bedded down the draw facing me.  I quickly ducked down and worked up about 50 yards to the last roll of terrain I could get to before being exposed.  As I peeked up over it I saw the buck on his feet and moving to my right.  He apparently had seen me or heard the other buck and was inquisitive.  At this point he was looking towards the other buck behind me and too my right but circling my position and not coming closer. He was just over 500 yards out and with the wind this was just too far.  I knew I needed to get closer or else he would run off and that would be it.  There was one knob down below me about 150 yards and I knew if I could get there I could make a shot.  He’d see me but I didn’t have any other options.  I grabbed my gun and back bag and started jogging down to the hill.  The buck looked at me and I soon was out of sight behind the rise.  I snuck up and quickly laid down on the hill top as the buck looked my way.  I was breathing heavy and thought the buck would run very soon.  I hustled to range him and get a round in the chamber.  He was 360 yards out and as soon as I got him in my scope he started moving.  This time though he was coming closer.  I don’t know if he was mad the other buck he’d heard and saw was in his area or though I was possibly another antelope but he was going to find out.  Soon he was at 300 yards and I put the gun on him again.  Before I could settle he was on the move again.  He stopped about twenty yards later and this time I was ready.

My crosshairs were on him and I knew the wind would cause a slight shift in my point of impact.  I held 1 MOA left for wind and squeezed one off.  The shot was crisp and in my follow through I saw the buck drop right in his tracks from the frontal shot out of the 300 Weatherby Mag.  I’d done it!!! I’ve hunted antelope a lot with my bow and with other people but this was the first time I’d got to kill one with a rifle and it was a blast!  I gathered my stuff and was soon headed to check him out.

zack boughton, antelope, buck

I shot some photos and then proceeded to cut up the antelope.  The temps were perfect for cooling the meat and flies were nonexistent!  Soon the meat was off and I was ready to load up.

antelope, montana, hunting

kifaru, antelope, montana, hunting

Kifaru 22 Mag is hands down my favorite day pack

Soon the Kifaru 22 Mag was loaded with all my gear and my buck.  I hoisted the pack and began the mile and a half back to the truck.  Life was good and the setting sun made for a beautiful end to an awesome day.

montana, antelope, hunting

This hunt ended on a high note.  I had many points leading up to this that had me down though.  From no visibility, to snow and cold temps, to few antelope, muddy roads, gun sight in issues, bucks disappearing and lots of gas burned.  A hunt with no challenges is not much of a hunt and to end up on top with a respectable buck in the cooler made what started as a tough hunt one that I will remember and cherish forever.

montana, antelope, hunting

Mud and my 2018 antelope buck

Written by Zack Boughton

tooth, fang, coyote, hunt, hunting, montana, wild

If you haven’t seen the teaser for our 3-year coyote film project, watch below.

For this week only (1/15 – 1/22) you can rent the film for $1.99 or purchase for $7.99. That is almost 50% off the normal cost. Tooth & Fang is a 46minute film that takes a closer look at why the management of coyotes is necessary across the West. Filmed over the course of three years this film showcases some perspective as to why we hunt coyotes and why achieving a balance is important on so many levels. Purchase or rent the film HERE.

tooth, and, fang, coyote, hunting, predator, calling, quest

Coyote hunting, its a controversial topic for many. To most hunters it seems to be an obvious necessity to keep a balance between predators and prey. Coyotes affect deer, elk and antelope numbers in many regions of Montana. An overpopulation of coyotes will reduce fawn survival rates drastically and put added stress on the wildlife in that area. Coyotes have a strong knack to survive the harshest conditions and have a rapid ability to reproduce.

coyote, hunting, film, montana, wild, predator, call, foxpro, shockwave, snowy mountain rifles, hsm ammo, the, hunting, shack, snow, camo, vortex, optics, viper, hslr, fhf, gear, 6xc, caliber, fur, shockwave

On top of that, coyotes are the largest cause of death for cattle and sheep calves in the spring season. When a rancher has a $50,000 loss in one year due to coyotes, you know they are a huge problem. Coyotes affect many ranchers livelihoods and have a much larger impact on livestock than many realize.

coyote, hunting, film, montana, wild, predator, call, foxpro, shockwave, snowy mountain rifles, hsm ammo, the, hunting, shack, snow, camo, vortex, optics, viper, hslr, fhf, gear, 6xc, caliber, fur, shockwave

Tooth & Fang is a very unique coyote film that goes into some of the reason behind coyote management. We traveled thousands of miles, talked with many ranchers, and visited some of the most beautiful landscapes that Montana has to offer. This three year film project shows a rancher’s perspective on how coyotes affect the wildlife and livestock on and around their ranches.

tooth, and, &, fang, coyote, hunting, coyotes, predator, predation, northern, lights, montana, ranching, land, cattle, calves, sheep, lambs, montana, wild, film, video

Don’t be mistaken, we made sure to show some of our best coyote encounters while helping balance the coyote populations on multiple tracts of land throughout the treasure state. Here is the teaser below. Help support our future film endeavors by renting or purchasing the film HERE.

RENT THE FULL FILM HERE.

After a week of subzero temperatures, we decided the conditions were perfect for coyote hunting.  We met up with Matt Piippo of Predator Quest and quickly hit the dirt roads in the brisk -18F weather.   The day turned out to be our best day coyote hunting to date, seeing a coyote on every stand.  The Predator Quest Excursion’s bumper quickly started to fill and resulted in our title for the film “Fillin the Bumper”.

 

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/84002606 w=580&h=440]

 

To read the complete story click here> http://montana-wild.com/subzero/

 

-Travis

 

Montana was in the midst of one of the coldest stretches on record and Saturday was quickly approaching.  With the big game season over it was time to start thinking about trying our hand at some predator management.  Our good friend Matt Piippo had invited us to come coyote hunt and with the temps dipping well into the negatives, we knew the conditions would be ideal to find some hungry coyotes.  As we drove to our first stand the temperature read -18F.

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow

The coyotes would definitely be on the prowl today.  As we walked into our first stand the wind just wasn’t right.  After a short set up calls we noticed a coyote sitting down in the bottom of the draw at about 420 yards.  Neither Matt or myself were prone and with the cold temps it was a poor shot to take.  The coyotes slowly drifted off knowing that human scent didn’t mean pleasant things.  As they did another two coyotes came flying into view, chasing the other two off.  A small territory battle was ensuing and we knew the day was only going to get better.  Our next stand happened about 5 miles to the west.  We parked the truck and hiked up to the top of a small plateau.  Matt began coaxing the call and soon two coyotes were coming in on a string.  As they closed the distance they dropped down through the small coulee and Matt quickly switched to the shotgun.  The lead dog came up the hill and stood broadside at 10 yards, still unaware of our presence.  Click.  The shotgun misfired and Matt quickly switched to his rifle.  Click.

montana, coyote, hunting, snow, winter, film, video, predator quest

Some choice words probably went through Matt’s head as the coyote surprisingly still stood there looking for the dying rabbit.  Matt quickly dropped a fresh round in his gun and put the 1st coyote to rest.  As the other coyote spun and began hightailing it a second shot put a quick end to an exciting stand.

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow, predator quest, cabelas, vortex

We rounded up the two males and replayed the series of events.  None of us had experienced multiple gun failures only to finish strong with a double.  Apparently -18 does a number on the lubricants in a rifle as the firing pin had only just barely made it to the primer.  We scooped up our gear and headed back to the truck.

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow, double, sitka gear

As soon as we reached the truck we discovered that Matt didn’t have his usual rack to load the coyotes onto.  I quickly chimed in that the front grille guard would work equally as well and really add a nice touch to the Predator Quest rig.  Our motto for the day was now to “fill the bumper.”

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow, predator quest, ford, excursion, winter, hunting

It was only 9:20 and we had a lot more country to cover.  After talking to some locals and a few landowners we finally made it back out to an area Matt has called in many coyotes over the years.  Right off the bat a coyote came flying out of the trees only to stop and sit at 300 yards.  A few series of calls failed to bring him closer and Matt knew it was time to let one rip.  Boom!  Snow flew behind the coyote as his round missed just high and the coyote went Mach 10 back into the timber.  A simple miscalculation of his bullet drop in the cold temperature left this coyote very alive for another day.  We laughed it off and headed off to some new country.  Over the next 45 minutes we saw 4 coyotes off the road.  Unfortunately, they also saw us and plans to call these areas quickly vanished.  As we were moving locations Matt pulled over to glass a common coyote hangout.  Sure enough he spotted a nice coyote mousing a mile and half up in a cut field.  Matt turned to me and said “We’re going to kill that coyote.”  We parked the truck and made our way up to the center of a nearby pivot and got ready.  A few minutes into calling and a coyote trotted over the ridge and closed to 240 yards before stopping to try to locate the sound.  I was ready and one shot left us with a 3rd dead coyote for the day.  I was all smiles as it’s been some time since I’ve had to chance to get a crack at a wily coyote.

Coyote hunting

We quickly made our way through the field to collect #3.  A long drag and we were back in the rig and ready for a new stand.

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow, hunting, sitka, vortex

Light was fading quickly and we decided to call a big basin with no cover.  We split up and made ourselves comfortable on the open hillside.  At first I didn’t think a coyote was going to commit.  The country was very open and it had been a good 8-10 minutes and nothing had appeared.  As quickly as I thought that, I heard Travis lip squeak to my right.  A coyote had just come running over the far hill and was closing the distance quickly.  I shifted my aim and watched as this pretty coyote continued to get closer and closer.  At 325 the yote stopped.  Apparently she didn’t see anything resembling a rabbit.  As she stood there I felt she wasn’t coming any closer and with my gun resting on my pack I slowly squeezed the trigger.  Thwack!  The shot dropped her in her tracks and number four for the day was in the bag.

coyote, hunting, montana, wild, snow

Light was fading quickly and with it the temperature was also plummeting.  With coyotes blocking our headlights we decided to call it a day and loaded up the last coyote into the grill of the Excursion.

facebook-8

It had been an epic day.  We had seen 16 coyotes and went 4 for 5 on called in dogs.  We were able to get a little bit of footage and will be making a short video to share with you guys in the next few months.  Soon we will be off to Idaho to late season mule deer hunt and then it will be Christmas.  Good luck to anyone still getting out into the field and we can’t wait to get back out ourselves.

And for more content not seen here please follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @montanawild.

-Zack