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It was sometime in February after a day of fishing when Zack, Travis, Anthony and I huddled around a computer reviewing pictures and reminiscing the past hunting season.  As always the conversation turned to the coming hunting season and plans began to materialize.  We decided that Travis and I would start hunting the last weekend in April.  Zack and Travis had hunts planned for the first two weeks of May when the hunting would be ideal for spot and stalk hunting with a bow.  The goal was to try to get me my first bear with a rifle to start the season off with a bang.  After juggling school and work we finally made time to get out to the range and get the rifle dialed and ready to go.

Remington, sitka, rifles, shooting, sighting, in, montana wild, 8mm, ultra mag

We made quick work on the range as we sighted in and then took a few shots over on the 600 yard range.  It was go time, now we just had to wait a few weeks until our schedules meshed and we could get up in the mountains.  After two long months of waiting the call finally came.  Zack and Travis would have a few days to get out after a win at the Simm’s Shoot Out competition.  They were on the road back to Missoula and it was time to load up the pack.  On Friday afternoon I met up with Zack, Travis, and Brandon to get ready for our hunt.  Before long, the bikes were loaded into the back of the truck and we were off to the trailhead.  After an uphill ride we reached the base of a steep ridge where we stowed the bikes and took off on foot.  The hike was steep but it felt good to be back in the mountains.

bear, hunting, montana, montana wild, boughton, brandon smith, stan spoharski, spring

After a couple of miles we rounded a corner and entered what looked like bear heaven, there were clear cuts separated by dark timber and a creek running through the middle of it all.  We soon spotted fresh bear sign and our excitement levels rose.  It was still pretty brown and seeing some sign definitely took a little bit of the edge off us all.  We continued hiking and stopped to glass every time the trees opened up enough for us to get a clear view of the opposing ridge and basin.   As we hiked single file along the ridge I heard the unmistakable voice of Travis saying “Bear!!…………I gotta bear!”  I turned to see Travis looking up the drainage through his Vortex binos.  Zack quickly set up the camera and got some footage as we discussed the game plan.  Everyone agreed that the bear was big and worth a stalk, but he was over a mile away and there was only about an hour and a half of daylight left.  The race was on and we busted ass up the ridge.  Once we reached where we had planned to camp we dropped our packs and continued towards the spot we last saw the bear.  Forty-five minutes after Travis spotted the bear we came to the corner where we had last seen him.  Zack and Travis turned the cameras on, I checked the wind and it was go time.  We crept around the corner as slowly and quietly as possible while keeping our eyes peeled for the bear.  We rounded the corner and the bear was no place to be seen; we decided to keep moving.  We didn’t go another 10 yards and I spotted the bear in a dip below us not 80 yards away.  I quickly dropped to the ground and everyone else followed suit.  We sat there and discussed the next move.  From where we were located I didn’t have a clear shot at the bear and we weren’t sure if the bear was heading towards us or away.  We decided that we needed to get to a high spot 15 yards in front of us if we were going to get the shot on film.  Travis and Brandon stayed back and filmed from their location as Zack followed me forward.   At that instance I felt what every hunter dreads……..the wind at the back of my neck.  I thought for sure the stalk was blown and the bear would be gone.  As we continued forward the wind switched back and was once again blowing in our face, but the bear was nowhere to be seen.  Still we crept forward until we could see the entire dip that the bear was in….still no bear.   My heart sank as I looked around.  At that point I was sure he had winded us and took off.  I turned and shrugged my shoulders to Travis and Brandon and figured the hunt was over for the evening.  When I looked back over my shoulder there he was, standing 90 away with his head down feeding.  I swung my pack off and sat down; quickly I rested the rifle on the pack and waited for him to come up on the road.  Adrenaline was now strongly surging through my veins and moments later he appeared back on the side of the logging road.  I turned to Zack and he gave me the green light.  I settled the cross hairs and squeezed the trigger.  A few seconds later and my first bear was dead not 50 yards from where I shot him.

black, bear, hunting, montana, montana wild

Congratulations and high fives were shared between us all as we headed downhill to the bear.  As I approached him I saw his gray face, split ears and large paws; the sure sign of an old bear.

black, bear, montana, wild, spring, hunting, nikon, sitka, vortex, optics

black, bear, hunting, montana, montana wild, spring

I was overcome with excitement to have killed such a big mature boar as my first bear and it was a surreal moment kneeling beside an old warrior of a bear who had seen many hunters in his time.

black bear, hunting, montana, wild, sitka gear, spring, 2013

black, bear, hunting, montana, wild, spring, big, monster

black, bear, hunting, claw, montana, wild, spring

I punched my tag and we raced to get as many pictures as we could before dark.  Soon we were all working away to get the bear skinned and quartered.

bear, black, montana, skinning, quartering, sitka, blood, knives

Before we knew it the Mystery Ranch was loaded down with meat and hide and we were headed to camp.  The 3/4 of a mile back uphill to camp was grueling.  It’s a lot of work in the backcountry and the four of us all teamed up to pump enough water for 4 meals and gather wood for a fire.  The moon was out and it was all laughs around the campfire.

camp, fire, montana, hunting, bear, spring, 2013

Needless to say a warm fire and some freeze dried food put us to bed quickly.  The next morning we were up and heading down the hill with our packs heavier than the trip up.  Though the weight of the bear was a burden on my shoulders I couldn’t help but smile knowing I had killed my first bear with good friends in the backcountry.

bear, hunting, mystery ranch, backpacks, spring, montana wild

Finally we rolled around the last Forest Service gate and quickly dumped our packs and took a well deserved rest.  We unloaded the meat and threw it in the YETI.  The end of an amazing hunt was here and it had only been one day!

bear, hunting, YETI, Coolers, montana, wild, spring, 2013, ford, tundra 50

I can’t thank Zack, Travis and Brandon enough! I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.  The next week will be spent finishing school and then we will be back in the mountains searching for a bear in hopes of sneaking close enough to let an arrow loose.

-Stan Spoharski

Early Sunday morning we loaded up the truck, and headed to Bozeman.  The wind gusts pushed us east along I-90, and we sailed through bursts of snow and rain throughout the drive.  It looked like we might be in for a cold couple of days of filming & fishing.  Just before noon we stopped to fish a small stretch of the Clark Fork.  The wind gusts and freezing temperatures made for slow fishing.  We felt a couple tugs and even managed to fool a few small browns on a Parachute Adams before loading back up to finish the roadtrip to Bozeman.

shoot, out, rain, simms, ford, f 150

We finally arrived at the Simms headquarters, and met with the rest of the filmmakers.  All of the filmmakers were super friendly and cold PBRs were spread throughout the room.  After a half an hour of chatting and waiting for the guides to finish piling in, it was time to get to business.  The guides drew names out of a hat to decide who they would be filming with and we were paired up with Dan “Rooster” Leavens.  Zack and I didn’t have the slightest clue who Rooster was, but we would spend the next 3 days filming his every move and learning the ways of the Rooster.

simms, fly fishing, waders, boots, headquarters, bozeman, montana, shoot out, ice out

The next morning our 4:50AM alarm rang out, ducks quacking for me to awake.  Zack and I gathered our gear scattered on the hotel floor and headed out into the cold, windy, snowy weather.  Our destination was Twin Bridges, and we hoped we could get some early morning shots before meeting with the Rooster.

fog, clouds, snow

 

After a bitter cold morning of filming, we threw our frozen boots into the truck to de-thaw and finally made it to our destination, the Stonefly Inn & Outfitters.  Rooster had coffee ready for us, and we sat down and talked for a good hour about hunting and fly fishing.  We soon found out that Rooster had been sick throwing up all night.  He blamed the pizza he ate the evening before and to compound the issue, his wife was also sick.  A bug was going around, and we crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be hit with the unfriendly sickness.  Rooster was feeling better fortunately, and decided that not the weather nor the sickness would stop him from fishing. We grabbed Willy the chocolate lab, loaded the truck with camera gear, and finally made it to the river.

lab, brown, man's, best, friend, montana, fishing, dog

The morning consisted of a bunch of small browns and frozen fingers, leading us to move locations.  That afternoon, the sun finally started to peak through the clouds.  We got back onto the river and it wasn’t long before Rooster hooked his first nice brown trout of the trip.  About an hour later and a few fly selection switches and a boss trout was hooked up.  At first we didn’t know what it was, but as the fish came to the net, it was a nice 2-foot rainbow!

2 foot, rainbow, monster, montana, wild, bent, shoot out, iceout

The rest of the day Rooster reeled in multiple nice fish and the vibe quickly began to swing into our favor.  With a couple browns weighing in around the 20″ mark and a rainbow pushing 24 we called it a wrap for the day as Rooster had to go home and take care of his wife and children who had been fighting the sickness.  Family comes first, and we had no objections to Rooster heading home before sundown.  Zack and I spent the rest of the evening filming around town and captured some late afternoon timelapses.

sunset, montana, twin bridges, stonefly, inn, outfitter

Zack and myself stayed up until 2:30AM organizing our clips from Day 1, making sure we were on top of our game and ready to start editing the film the following evening.  We got a few short hours of sleep and immediately were back up and firing up the cameras.  We finalized our storyline with Rooster and moved over to the fly shop.  After a broken fly rod, an obnoxious customer call, a spilled box of flies, and a flat tire, it was finally go time.  Rooster started the morning drive to the river by saying, “can’t show the lions on the first day boys”.  Little did we know he was not lying about “showing the lions”.  Rooster proceeded to catch fish after fish consisting of large browns and chromed out rainbows.  The footage was stacking and the shots were being logged.  Rooster was starting to put on a show that any fisherman would appreciate.  Helping us for the day were Rooster’s guides Gray, Bubba and Dave who added more punch to the fish fight.

simms, waders, bubba, stonefly, outfitters, montana, casting, fly fishing

rainbow, fat, montana

With plenty of solid shots stored in the camera, we decided to hit some new water to finish the day.  Rooster made his way below a small bridge and proceeded to catch fish after fish, throwing low, precise casts into the money spot.  It was a truly remarkable sight, with the Stonefly guide peanut gallery watching the show go down from the bridge above.

Dan, leavens, rooster, montana, simms, iceout, shoot, out, montana, wild

We wrapped up the day with dry fly eats on chernobyls, brown trout to the face, and an amazing steak dinner.  From here on out it was coffee, Monsters, and no sleep.  This was a chance that we had to take full advantage of.  You are not given opportunities like the Simms Shoot Out very often and we were here to win.  This was our chance to show that we can run with the best in the biz and we began the long process of crushing two days worth of fish into a 6 minute film.

all, nighter, mac, apple, editing, montana, wild, film

 

Before we knew it the film was in its final stages of production.  The sun was rising and Rooster was waiting to check out the latest cut of video.  Rooster gave us some final input and before we knew it the video was exported and we were driving to the Simm’s headquarters to turn in our film.

 

We relaxed the rest of the day and fished a local river the following morning with our friend Tom Urell.  The streamer fishing was hot, with fish attacking the streamers most of the day.  No monsters were brought to the net, but we had a blast fishing the local Bozeman holes.  Later that evening we watched all four submissions of the Simms Shoot Out at the Ellen theater.

simms, fly fishing, shoot, out, film, ellen, theatre, montana wild, rooster

After the films kicked off it was a nervous half an hour before I saw the Montana Wild logo flash up on the backdrop and the rest is history.  We had won the Shoot Out!!!!

winner, winners, simms, 2013, shoot, out, iceout, montana, bozeman, ellen, theater, dan, leavens, rooster, boughton

We spent the rest of the night celebrating with new friends and somehow managed to not spend all $2,000 at the bars.  We woke the next morning, packed our bags and headed back to Missoula.  That evening we found ourselves hiking 6 miles back into the backcountry…. Be looking for our next blog post about Stan’s amazing bear hunt.

 

I wanted to give a big shoutout to Dan “Rooster” Leavens for being such an amazing guide and host, and Dana Leavens for letting us steal Rooster for a couple days and allowing us to sleep at the Stonefly Inn.  Dan  loves to fish and he has a great family and group of guides.  Thanks Bubba, Dave, and Grey for your antics and not so helpful music suggestions.  We hope we can work with Dan in the future and hopefully the friendship we made will last for a very long time.

 

Below is our winning submission to the 2013 Simms Shoot Out!!!

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/65079211 w=580&h=440]

 

-Travis

 

My first time hearing about the Simms SHOOT OUT was in 2011, where I got my first glimpse at a fly fishing film competition.  I wanted to compete in the SHOOT OUT one day, and the thought stuck in the back of my mind.  In 2012 we were disappointed when we had heard that the 2012 SHOOT OUT filmakers had already been chosen, and once again sat back and watched the videos that were released.  Last year really motivated us to kick some ass and get into the 2013 SHOOT OUT.   Here we are mid-April and the moment we have been waiting for has finally come.  We are stoked to have the opportunity to be one of four film makers competing in the Simms SHOOT OUT!

simms, shoot, out, montana, wild

Zack and I are dedicated to putting together an amazing video.  The competition requires us to film with one Simms guide for 2 days, and then 24 hours to put the video together.  The interesting part is we will not know who we are filming with until the night before our first filming day.  We are excited and cannot wait for the event to start!

We head out for Bozeman this morning.  Make sure to follow our daily behind the scenes SHOOT OUT photos on Instagram @montanawild!  We will be giving our viewers a behind the scenes look at what is going on so everyone can stay in the loop.  Also you will get your chance on Thursday/Friday April 25th & 26th to vote for your favorite SHOOT OUT film via text message.  Stay tuned!!!

 

-Travis

I checked the stream flows via the USGS site after a week filled of stressful days in front of my computer.  The past week had been full of blazing warm and sunny conditions that I had failed to take advantage of due to deadlines.  I was now left with only one glorious day to fish.  Regardless of the possible tsunami mud conditions, Zack and I took off in search of some big fish.

As we started our drive, the rain splattered against my windshield consistently reminding me that it was once again spring in Montana.  It was going to be a full blown day of Gore-tex and streamers.  We crossed our fingers as we made our trek to the first hole…. hopefully the chub hatch was going off today.

Brown, trout, tail, montana, fishing, fly fishing

I shook the cobwebs off my fly rod and it wasn’t long before I felt my my line go tight after a couple slow twitches with my streamer.  A little brown ball of fire had latched onto my fly, and I had my first fish of the day.  I continued to hammer the banks, bouncing my streamer off the pale grass on the adjacent bank.  Bam!  I detected another tug, and once again felt that head shake that I have come to love.

brown, trout, streamer, montana, orvis, helios 2

Zack and I hooked into a couple small German browns, before we were hit with a Montana rain storm.  The weather didn’t stop us from dropping streamer bombs.  I found a grassy bank that overlooked a good stretch of deep, calm water.  I made a perfect cast, landing my streamer on the bank and stripping it back into the water.  Three strips and I felt my line stop dead in my hand.  I strip-set and had a beautiful brown running for cover.

brown, trout, montana, wild, orvis, helios, fly tying, black, streamer

This year has really been my break through year with streamers.  I have finally mastered some really productive patterns, and today these patterns were really getting the trout’s attention.  Zack and I continued another 200 yards downriver.  I brushed the drops of water off my pack, only to notice Zack had a sizable fish hooked downriver.  Another beautiful brown trout, hungry for the home-grown streamer.

zonker, streamer, articulated, brown, trout, montana, wild, shoot, out

Sitka, stormfront, brown, trout, montana, wild, seattle, mariners, hatWe moved on, throwing casts into holes that were now deep enough to fish with the rising water.  We managed a couple more nice fish, and finally a rainbow decided to eat.

green, streamer, trailer, hook, montana, wild, rainbow, net, fly fishing

Green, purple, white, black, and tan streamers were producing fish.  The rainbows were finally putting streamers on their list of preferred foods, but the browns were truly on the prowl.  Once again Zack hooked into a flying brown trout.  To see an +18in brown trout jump four times is pretty remarkable.  This fish did just that and did not want to spend any downtime in our Larkin Works net.  Too bad the trout didn’t have a choice.  All this action boosted our confidence, and Zack released this amazing brown, only to call out “I’m going to catch another one out of this same hole”.  I grabbed the camera, and 1st cast Zack had another respectable brown trout.

brown, trout, streamer, eat, water, photo, picture, montana We made the long walk back to the truck.  What an amazing day!  Our spring has been outstanding, and the fishing has been phenomenal.  We have a big week coming up.  We hope to see everyone at the Orvis “Down the Hatch” film event here in Missoula, Montana at the Wilma on Friday.  The films start at 7pm and there are tickets available at Grizzly Hackle.  All of the proceeds will go to Montana Trout Unlimited.  We hope to see you all there!!

-Travis

Bear hunting is a key tool in managing predators across the West and especially here in Montana.  No, we do not want to wipe out the entire population of black bears; actually I think they are an amazing animal and without actually hunting them I’d never have gained that appreciation.  By hunting them we simply are doing our part in keeping a balance, which is weighing heavily in the predators favor in certain areas which we hunt.  Black bears kill fawns and elk calves in high numbers in the spring and have only one known predator, humans.

black bear, montana wild, MT, hunting, spring, bowhunting, spot and stalk, Bear Anarchy, Vortex, Carbon Express, Nikon, GoPro

Bear hunting is one of my favorite types of hunting that one can partake in here in Montana.  It gets you back into the mountains and forces you to get back into shape.  It’s not hard to see bears, but I can say that it’s much more difficult to close the gap, relocate the bear, and try to sneak within bow range.

black bear, montana wild, MT, hunting, spring, bowhunting, spot and stalk, Bear Anarchy, Vortex, Carbon Express, Nikon, GoPro

This past Spring we saw 26+ black bears.  I had set a goal of taking a black bear with my bow and was planning on sticking it out unless a true giant crossed our paths.  Travis and I had some amazing close encounters, and many great memories.  It is truly amazing to be out in the wild, getting close to a predator that has the power to take down a human being.  With spring like conditions and lightning storms, we were given the full Montana bear hunting experience.  Watch our latest short film Trial & Error as I get close to multiple black bears in my pursuit of an archery kill.

 

We are excited for the upcoming spring, and will be going out on numerous hunts with the camera in hand.  To follow along with us be sure to join us over on our Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/Montana.Wild.Productions.

-Zack

 

 

Most people don’t know when or where Montana Wild started making videos.  Growing up Zack and myself were addicted to skiing, to say the least.  We slowly started bringing along our parents camcorder and started putting together small ski edits, just for fun.  After having a serious injury in 2008 (torn kidney & spleen), my outlook on my passion of skiing had shifted slightly. After the injury I found my new passions, hunting and fly fishing.  It wasn’t until 2011 that I decided I wanted to get into filming and photographing our hunting and fly fishing escapades.  Since making the switch from skiing to hunting and fly fishing, I have not had the chance to get back to the mountains and shred the slopes as I had just a few years ago.  This past week I decided I was going to go skiing.  I made plans, met up with my friend Justin and hit the road to Lost Trail, ready to take on my first day in 2013.

lost trail, montana, idaho, skiing, missoula, snowboarding

We arrived to a bluebird sky.   Justin and I were excited we would have bomber weather for our Sunday funday.  The snow looked fairly skied out, but I’ve been to Lost Trail enough to know there are still secret stashes of pow to be found on the mountain.

first drop, skiing, montana, newschoolers, scott, polesThe first run I was a little rusty, but I could feel my legs quickly getting more comfortable skiing.  It was time to search for the freshies.  We headed to chair 4, where I was reminded how slow that lift is, but we eventually made it to the summit.

first drop, skiing, montana, k2, wild, lost trail

We skied the long route to one of my favorite runs, which will remain nameless.  It features two large rock pillows, which can make for some endless air borne options.  We lapped the run multiple times, not getting enough of the hidden powder run.

lost trail, montana, skiing, powder, resort, pillows, k2Justin decided he wanted to step aside and try his hand at taking some photos.  We traversed to a little known cliff at Lost Trail, checked the setup, and sent it.

2013, montana, wild, skiing, lost trail, smith, optics, I/O

We had an amazing day.  I was hoping for a deep pow day, but  I can’t complain, sun, soft snow, and good friends are hard to beat.  I find that there are too many hobbies that I truly enjoy in Montana.  Montana is truly for badasses.

-Travis

 

brown trout, montana, wild, streamers, winter, 2013, rain

December in Montana.  The weather is unpredictable and many have put up the fly rods and rifles for the year.  It’s a risk-reward time of the year when it comes down to fishing.  Just catching fish is a success and often it’s just painfully slow on the water.  With the rain steadily falling we threw the waders in the truck and met up with Anthony from the False Casts and Flat Tires crew and hit the road.  Not surprisingly we were the first truck at the access.  We figured most would settle for a beer and some football on a cold rainy day with the mercury hovering just above 40 degrees.  Our plan was to settle for a beer and some streamers on a piece of water we hadn’t visited in a good 6 months.  It only took about 5 minutes before Anthony decided to get the ball rolling.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

We quickly moved upstream with eats in almost every hole.  I quickly was on the board when a beautiful brown hammered my fly just feet from me as I was finishing my retrieve.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

It was almost silly the streamer bite was so good.  Any decent water seemed to hold a fiery brown willing to mount a vicious attack on any invader of its territory.  Soon Anthony had another killer fish on.  He had been holding in a very small sliver of water, and a precise cast fooled him.

brown trout, montana, wild, streamer, rain, winter, outdoors, videos, 2013

We kept skipping past each other as we fished upstream.  Soon Travis was hollering just upriver.  I looked and saw the Echo doubled over.  I quickly made it to him to help net his fish.  After a few minutes it was apparent this wasn’t just any fish.  This was a PIG!  After a couple close calls I finally slipped the net under a rainbow that could be mistaken for one straight out of Alaska.

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

We snapped a few hero photos of this stud rainbow and then let him slink back to his lair.

rainbow trout, monster, montana, wild, AK, streamer, rain, winter

After everyone’s success it was time to crack open a cold PBR and take it all in.  Laughs were had all the way around.  Despite the inclement weather it had easily turned into one of the best days on the water.  We had been fortunate enough to catch one of those moments where the fish are just eating and it doesn’t matter what you put in front of their face.  Unfortunately this brown wasn’t so fortunate.  He had seen his last Montana summer and most likely had died of old age.

brown trout, dead, winter, montana, pbr, river, 2012

Again we kept the streamer train moving.  After our early success we soon began to loose a little steam.  Multiple eats resulted in near misses and the hook just didn’t set.  The rain had subsided and the bite seemed to cool off.  I was able to trick one last brown though.

brown trout, montana, winter, wild, outdoors, streamers

He was a solid fighter as he took to the air 3 or 4 times before finally making it to the net.  It’s always fun to see the differences between every brown trout.  Some are bright and others more subdued in color.  The size, shape and type of jaw always seem to vary and are one of my favorite species of trout to catch.  It had been a stellar couple of hours, but all good things must come to an end.  As we worked back down stream we were left with nary a bite.  As quickly as it had started it had shut down.  We hit the golden hour that day and all left with smiles on our faces.  I want to thank Anthony for bringing his camera and snapping some killer photos.  I’m sure we’ll be back on the water soon.  If you haven’t fished in the winter before then get out and get after it!  You don’t catch fish on the couch.

brown trout, montana, winter, wild, outdoors, streamers, slab

-Zack

Here is the latest of our hunting edits.  Zack did an amazing job filming and editing the footage. Check it out! More awesome hunting edits in the near future!

-Travis

We started up the truck and finished grabbing our gear.  Camo on, calls ready, and a full clip of bullets.  It was day one of a three day trip to Central Montana to become the hunted.  We would be calling coyotes in open coulee country in hopes of capturing some sweet winter hunting.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Silver and Gold

That first morning we got to our second stand only to spook a coyote just as we were pulling up to park adjacent to a deep coulee.  We called that stand but drew a blank.  Over the course of the next few stands we had one hang up at 700 yards that didn’t come in and another that we spooked walking into a promising stand.  A little discouraged with the conditions we headed to a spot that has produced in the past.  Sure enough after about 4 minutes of calling we saw a coyote charging to our left at about 400 yards.  Before we could swing the camera and shooters into position we lost sight off him.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Waiting for a shot

I knew as he would get closer he would catch our wind before popping back up into sight of Tyler and Travis.  Sure enough about 2 minutes later we saw him running in the other direction.  Running away over numerous finger shaped ridges left us no chances at a shot.  We finished that evening with no luck and looked forward to the next day.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

End of Day 1

Well all I can say about day 2 is WIND.  All caps because it was so damned windy we couldn’t even think about calling.  Wind speeds were around 30mph and gusts of 50mph were common.  Combine that with a windchill of 15-20 below and let’s just say we bought a case of beer and watched some football to pass the time.  Forecasts for the following day were ideal.  They were calling for no wind and a daytime temperature of 4 degrees.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

A great sunset

Day 3 found us up early and chomping at the bit.  Conditions were ideal and we quickly got set up on our first stand.  We called a long coulee full of dead cottonwoods and sage but never had any takers.  Over the course of the next 6 stands we sat some beautiful spots but never saw a dog.  We new something was up.  Either the area had been hit hard by hunters on ATV’s or planes or the coyotes had moved down into the valley were the livestock and game was herded up.  Sure enough our first stand back down in the valley was a winner.  We set up to call at the end of a couple coulees that dumped into a prairie dog town.  After 10 minutes and just as Tyler was about to shoot a rock, Travis made a good spot on a dog standing on a ridge at 260 yards.  Travis was in search of his first coyote but couldn’t get repositioned quick enough.  Tyler made a quick shot with his AR-15 and dropped our first coyote of the day.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

1st yote down

The next stand we switched up the call after about 7 minutes.  A few minutes later we stood up after not seeing anything and sure enough right behind us was a coyote.  He quickly spotted us and took off.  I turned the Nikon back on, switched to live view, and got focused.  This took place over the course of literally a few seconds, and just as I said I was on him Travis lit off a round.  The coyote dropped and Travis had his first coyote out of the way.  He made a quick shot on a running coyote at around 150 yards to top it off.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Trav’s 1st yote….ever

After checking out the second unlucky coyote of the day we walked another 800 yards and set up again.  Again, after about 7-8 minutes of calling I spotted a coyote walking up the bottom of a draw.  By the time I got the guys on him he disappeared into the sage.  We looked and glassed for 5 minutes but couldn’t see him.  We figured he had a den there and had went into it.  We had Travis stand up to see if he was still down there and would spook.  We saw nothing and of course as we all stood I spotted him begin to walk off in the same spot we thought he had disappeared in.  Within seconds I was on him with the camera and Travis made another great moving shot at 300 yards.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

3 in 3 stands all within a half mile

We followed this up with another stand just another 700 yards away.  We had a coyote coming in at about 600 yards but he was spooked by a small herd of mule deer.  We had spooked these deer on the way in and our chances at 4 in a row were gone.  We headed back to the truck to relocate to a new location.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Off to a new area

We gassed up the Ford, filled up our bellies with a hearty gas station meal, and left to finish our day off strong.  After pulling off the highway we drove a half mile down into a vast open drainage spotted with sagebrush.  We quickly got setup and started wailing on the distress call.  Soon Travis had 3 coyotes spotted coming in from our right.  As the coyotes neared us I had 2 of them in the frame on the Nikon, and I tried to communicate to both shooters which coyote to take.  The coyotes wouldn’t stop running in and disappeared behind a small ridge.  Soon one popped up at 150 yards and stopped.  I was on him and Tyler squeezed off a round.  A burst of dust and the coyote was charging away.  Tyler narrowly missed him as he dodged and weaved his way out through the bottom.  We all were amped up even though we were leaving empty handed.

Lets just say we were definitely heating up after a rough morning.  To make a long story short, on our next stand we convinced a territorial female to come within range after 20+ minutes of calling.  We used 2 distress calls, howls, barks, and pup distress.  She even ate a field mouse seconds before Travis dropped her.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

A 4th yote

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

With 4 coyotes on the day we decided to wrap it up with one last stand.  We were able to spot 2 coyotes out at 800 yards, but they just wouldn’t cooperate.  We think they had spotted us walking in.  We were able to coerce one into starting to circle downwind, but with light fading we couldn’t bring him in close enough.  We had an awesome day though.  Overall we saw 15 coyotes that day.  We called 7 into range and killed 4.  At the end of it all it turned into a very worthwhile trip.  I was able to capture Tyler and Travis over the course of those 3 days and get all 4 kills on film so throw on the headphones, make sure it’s in HD and enjoy!!!

I hope you guys enjoyed the video and we look forward to creating more soon.

coyote hunting, Montana, Montana Wild, predator hunting, MT, calling, howling, distress calls, Primos, Nikon, Remington, Sitka

Sunset on the last stand

Peace!

-Zack