Posts

Well life has been a bit on the crazy side around here.  Summer seems to suck up your time like none other.  A few weeks back I was able to go meet up with good friends Dan “Rooster” Leavens and Gray Edmiston for a little salmonfly fishing.  With no trips booked it was time for a couple personal days on the water.  The word was that the bugs were popping off and I quickly grabbed my fishing gear and camera and began trucking east to meet the guys.

mountains, fly fishing, montana, salmonflies, fish, trout, nikon, ford

That night I got to hear of the carnage that ensued under that day’s cloud cover.  It seemed that the fishing would be red hot, but with a week full of sun headed our way we’d see if the trout would keep up the feeding frenzy.  The next morning we were up at 5 and on the river by 7:30.  It was cool and we were the only guys on the river.  We began floating, hammering the banks and waiting for a take.  Well it wasn’t long until we had smacked up a few good browns.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster

The big bugs were out but as the day progressed it appeared the fishing was slowing down.  The main river was only giving up some of the smaller fish and we quickly pulled over for a short lunch.  Strategically, Rooster had put us right at the bottom of a usually lucrative side channel.  After hitting the main current with no luck, a slightly longer cast bounced off the far bank, and ten feet into the drift was attacked by a hungry brown.  The camera was rolling and Rooster had a great fish in hand.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout, scott

The rest of the day was beautiful, but less productive than the previous days onslaught.  It appeared the bulk of the hatch had moved upstream.  Bugs were out but it appeared the fish were full and shy of the bright sun.

Day 2 we rose again by 5am.  Our plan was to move upstream another 10 miles and test some new waters.  Again the day started off big early with Gray hammering a nice one off the sunny side bank only 20 minutes into the float.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout

The bugs were out thick on the bank, but seemed to be loving everything but the water.   We slowed down and hit a few side channels to let things warm up a touch.

salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster, brown trout, scott

Gray put the new Scott Radian 6wt to work and quickly fooled a brown sitting under the foam.  We got some shots and then kept the train moving.  Another rest stop showed the bugs were out in mass.  Gray decided to load up and give a Lebron chalk celebration with salmonflies in hopes that it would bring in a big one further down river.

lebron, salmon, flies, fly, fishing, madison, river, stonefly inn, montana wild, hatch, montana, rooster

Around noon the big bugs started hitting the water and the fishing quickly picked up.  Soon risers began to emerge in the deep water.  The fish were picky and didn’t want much to do with bugs that weren’t skittering on the water.  As we progressed downriver, a 20+ inch fish refused the bug and we quickly pulled over downstream.  After a dozen casts, the salmonfly finally found his feeding lane and Gray had a big boy hooked.

monster, brown, trout, fly, fishing, montana, wild, stonefly, inn

After a long run downstream he found the net and we had a hog in hand.  Everyone was stoked and life was good.

brown, trout, monster, hog, montana, wild, fly, fishing, stonefly, inn, rooster

The two days were pretty killer despite the bright sun and fishing salmonflies is always a blast.  Chucking the big bug to big trout is hard to beat.  If you want to check out the salmon fly hatch next year be sure to get in touch with Rooster at the Stonefly Inn and prepare for a lot of fun and a bunch of nice fish.  Check them out at http://www.thestoneflyinn.com/.  Both days they had zero trips booked and it turned out to be a good thing for us.  Laughs for days and plenty of nice trout.  Life is good folks.  God bless!

-Zack

Words by Anthony VonRuden

Last light was fading as I left our viewpoint and made my way over to the heavy pack that I had become all too familiar with over the course of this six day hunt.  Another day had passed and we still were in search of another black bear.  Our Idaho backcountry hunt had us located twelve miles back in a basin full of thick brush, broken up by small grassy meadows and a half dozen creeks. This hunt was very special to me because I had roots in the region, my dad was a logger back in the 80’s and worked in the very same area that we would be hunting.  Zack and Travis Boughton, the co-founders of Montana-Wild, were alongside on the hunt.  Travis would be hunting with myself and Zack was manning the camera during our week long adventure.  These two spend as much time in the woods as anyone I know and with the combined expertise of the three of us the expectations were running high.  We all had a role to play on this trip and I was in charge of research and logistics.  We all wanted to do something that would test our limits both physically and mentally and our destination would do exactly that.  After countless hours scouting Google Earth, checking outfitter websites, and talking to fellow hunters, I had scouted a basin that looked like a black bear haven, the only catch was that it was over 8 miles from the trailhead.  We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the reward if we pulled it off would be more than worth the effort.

idaho, bear hunting, yeti coolers, mystery ranch, backpacks, coolers, ford, f-150

After a five hour drive from Missoula we finally were close to the trailhead and ready to hit the trail.  As we drove along the river upstream we actually spotted a bear from the road.  Unfortunately he was inaccessible and we just watched him feed for a while before continuing on our way as planned.  We rolled into the trailhead and began making final adjustments to our packs before leaving the truck for seven days.  After a short time we we’re ready.  Our packs were far from light as they were loaded down multiple cameras and lenses on top of our basic gear such as tents, food, and other backcountry necessities.  We weighed the packs prior to leaving the house and the lightest pack weighted in at 60.4 pounds.  Not exactly lightweight.

Bear, Hunting, Idaho, Sitka, Mystery Ranch, Vortex, Snowy Mountain Rifle, Backcountry Hunting

We made good time and were soon eight miles back and at the base of the hill that we would have to ascend to reach our campsite. The brush was unbelievably thick and far from what we had expected after looking at Google Earth.  It was nasty and steep and home to a few moose looking to evade the local wolves.  The 1600′ of vertical climb took us two hours of solid climbing to complete.  The hike made us all want to quit but we pushed through and finally emerged on the top to a wonderful view and a chance to finally rest.

idaho, bear hunt, snowy mountain rifles, black, bears, montana wild, backcountry, spring, rifle, hunting

Once at camp we were treated to a king’s view of the basin and it quickly became evident that we would see plenty of bears throughout the trip.  We threw up camp and hurried over to a rock outcropping that would give us a commanding view of the drainage.  After five minutes of glassing we had turned up four bears out feeding.  Light was fading as we all exchanged high fives.  We began to strategize a game plan for the following day as we cooked up our meals in the soft light of an awesome Idaho sunset.

idaho, bear hunt, snowy mountain rifles, black, bears, montana wild, backcountry, spring, rifle, hunting, camp

The glow of the morning light was just becoming visible as we crawled out of our sleeping bags and began gathering our gear for the mornings hunt.  The plan was to work our way down the ridge that would take us to the head of the basin and into some clearings that looked promising the night before.  The brush was over our heads and the going was tough, but it seemed that every time we broke out into a clearing we would glass a bear feeding miles away on the other side of the drainage.  We just had to get closer to some open areas and hope we could locate a bear in a stalkable location.

Idaho, Hunting, Wilderness

Seeing those bears gave us the motivation to keep pushing forward until midday when we finally reached our destination and set up to glass.  Almost instantly Zack spotted a beautiful cinnamon bear about 800 yards below us.  Zack and Travis were gathering themselves for a stalk when I saw a little cub zip out of the brush to its mother’s side.  We just sighed and went back to glassing, hoping to turn up another bruin.  Hours passed and nothing showed itself, so we moved locations to get a better view of the area.  As we did, a spring storm blew in forcing us to take shelter under an old pine tree and wait for a break in the weather.

Sitka, Vortex, Hunting, Fire, Montna Wild

After the storm had passed we pulled out the binos and Travis spotted a monster bear.  The large boar was on the move and never even slowed down to feed, finally making his way into the dark timber.  We were pretty dejected and decided to start working our way back towards camp.  We stopped at a small creek to fill our water bladders for the night.  As Travis was pumping water I looked up and something caught my eye.  The binos confirmed my suspicions and I excitedly whispered to Travis to get ready for a shot.  A beautiful blonde bear was feeding through a series of small clearings above us.  After a few tense minutes of scrambling to get Travis set up, fire up the cameras, and relocate the feeding bear, we we’re ready for the shot.  As the bear fed into a good clearing Travis settled the crosshairs and made a perfect heart shot at 388 yards.  A short blood trail led us to Travis’ first Idaho bear.  We all exchanged high fives, snapped a few photos before breaking the bear down for the pack back to camp.

300 WSM, Shooter Glove, Sitka, Snowy Mountain Rile, Montana Wild

 black, bear, blonde, idaho, montana, wild, spring, hunting, snowy mountain rifles, vortex, optics, sitka, gear

bear, hunting, black, claws, idaho, backcountry, montana wild

By the time we got the bear in the pack and started working back to camp it was pitch black and pouring rain.  We slowly followed a grown in horse trail back down the basin.  Our camp was located only a mile away, but with a 1200′ ascent in the wet jungle we decided that our best option would be to spend the night under a tree.  When your that far back safety takes a high priority and it was decided that we would find the best shelter available and tough it out.  After finding a group of large, old pines, we quickly scraped together a small area where we could all sleep around the fire.  We got a fire started and roasted some bear backstraps as we dried out our wet gear.

bear, backstraps, black, blonde, camping, hunting, spring

I can honestly say that if we hadn’t invested in the the best gear available we could have been in serious trouble.  Fortunately we all had quality gear that mainly kept us dry and happy despite the poor conditions.  After fully drying out and filling our bellies, we began a long night huddled around the campfire.  Constant attention was required to keep the fire going through the night.

Sitka, Minimalyst, Danner, Montana Wild, Sitka Gear, Seeking Shelter

The next morning it was decided that we would forgo returning to camp and instead try to get on another bear.  It was a smarter decision to hunt during the day rather then waste our energy just to bust back to camp.  We hunted new country all day in an attempt to double up but were unable to turn up any bears.  As the sun sank lower in the west it was decided that Travis would pack his bear back to the trailhead and sleep in the truck.  Zack and I would make our way up the mountain to our camp and in the morning we would pack up camp and relocate to the opposite side of the drainage where the majority of bear sightings had occurred.  Travis would meet up with us at the new camp after his twenty four mile mountain marathon.

GPS, Hunting GPS Maps, Navigation, Sitka Gear, Montana Wild, Stream Crossing, Backcountry

Tuesday and Wednesday passed slowly as we were forced to change tactics.  A lack of any good vantage points forced us to hunker down and wait out promising areas hoping that a bear would show up.  It was slow hunting but it was going to give us our best chance at a bear.

Anthony VonRuden, Black Bear Hunting, Idaho, Wilderness Hunting, Sitka, Mystery Ranch Packs, Vortex Optics, Hunting, Bear Hunting

black, bear, blonde, idaho, montana, wild, spring, hunting, snowy mountain rifles, vortex, optics, sitka, gear

Wednesday afternoon I spotted a bear across the drainage feeding in the highest clearing.  It was a large chocolate black bear and I was eager to burn some rubber off my boots.  To much sitting around will make you itch to climb a mountain.  Zack and I quickly assembled our gear and began the trek.  We hoped the bear would feed while we crossed the basin.  As we crossed the creek and began to climb we soon realized the apparent stupidity of the idea.  What had seemed simple enough turned into a grueling two hour journey.  As we neared the top we elected to circle around the ridge and glass a few adjacent meadows.  The country was beautiful but all we turned up were two large elk in velvet.  As we made our way back down the avalanche shoot I spotted a large black bear across the drainage.  We quickly hustled to close the distance.  Five minutes later we were five hundred yards away but the bear was no where to be seen.  We had missed him by a matter of minutes.  A long nasty hike took us back across the creek and back to our camp.

Night Photography, Anthony VonRuden, MSR, Night Photos, Montana Wild, Idaho WIlderness, Star Photography, Camping in the Dark

Day 5  was much of the same.  Our morning turned up zero bears and the temperatures were reaching the high 70s.  We spent the day napping amongst the aspens and waiting for the high sun to fade to the west.

aspens, idaho, wilderness, bear, hunting, backcountry, nikon, 17-35

The golden time had finally arrived and we were set up over a wide high alpine hillside.  Time passed and we continued to patiently wait.  All of a sudden the silence was broken as Travis exclaimed “Bear, bear, up on the far hillside.”  A large chocolate bear had worked out into a clearing on the far side of the basin.  It was too far of a shot where we were at and we quickly scrambled to close the distance.  Five minutes later and the .300 was resting over my pack and a bear was in my sights.  The shot was 602 yards and the bear was feeding on fresh green grass.  His head was down and facing directly towards us.  As I settled the crosshairs on him I felt that instinctual moment when you know your ready to pull the trigger.  The shot rang out and the bear ran off to the left.  The guys were yelling saying I missed him.  A disappointing few minutes ensued as we all sat in disbelief.  I had taken a shot that felt right but wasn’t.  I got lectured on taking a broadside shot at that distance and we quietly retreated down the mountain for the night.  With only two days left to hunt it was coming down to crunch time.  Food was running low and our bear sightings were slowly declining in number.  It was now or never to redeem myself and make the trip a success.

black, bear, blonde, idaho, montana, wild, spring, hunting, snowy mountain rifles, vortex, optics, sitka, gear

Crunch time was upon us.  The vibes were refreshed that night in camp and we hoped that the following day would allow me an opportunity to redeem myself.

Read Part 2 here > Part 2.

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

 

 

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Headed East

5:30 came a little to early but the chance to fish got me out of bed after only a couple snoozes.  With the local rivers looking nice and brown, we decided to hit up the Missouri River with our good friend Jeff and get a couple days of fishing in.  [If you missed our first trip to the Missouri River read about it here.]  After a couple hours we rolled into Craig and got our shuttle situated at the Headhunters Fly Shop.  These guys know how to run a fly shop and if your in need of almost anything, chances are they can get it for you or point you in the right direction.  Soon we were on the river and the weather was impeccable.  No wind and decently warm temperatures kept our hopes high.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Smooth sailing

The day started off with a handful of small fish.  Although fun, we were hoping for something a touch bigger to get the rods bent on.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Even the little ones get Jeff’s mug smiling

We soon drifted off the main channel of the Mo and got into one of the small side channels.  There were a lot of midges on the water and a few risers.  We stripped streamers through the slower holes but with minimal success.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Strippin stream

We kept moving and found a pod of risers.  After about an hour of fishing we only came away with two misses on top.  We were running 5X tippet and a small BWO and were able to trick a few but no fish in hand.  We learned that some days 6 or 7X and a very, very tiny fly are the only option on these trouts meal plan.

We kept the train chugging downriver only to be interrupted by another bathroom break.  Only this time is was a very opportune time to pull over.  As we sat on the side of the river cracking fresh PBR’s, we saw a single riser about 100 yards downstream.  A short drift and we were anchored up on the entrance to a small side channel with one slurping fish in sight.  A few empty handed drifts with the nymphs and I had had enough.  We were going to get one on top or go out trying.  I was able to get a slurp from the back of the boat and we decided to get out and put our dry fly fishing to the test.  After about an hour all three of us were able to catch rainbows on dries ranging from 17-20 inches.  These fish had moved up into a small hole only about 40′ square and about 2-3 feet deep.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro

Not bad for my first fish on a dry for 2012

After putting the hurt on the few risers in that hole we pulled anchor and kept things rolling.  Again we found pods of rising fish but couldn’t connect with the setup we were running.  When they say these fish will humble you, they aren’t lying.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

One of the better banks to fish and a slew of midges on top

After floating past countless risers with no luck we slowly drifted back into Craig America.  It’s definitely a very cool experience to see a big fish nosing up and sipping ever so slightly.  To catch one like that is even more exciting.  We rolled in around 730 and drifting past the last seam we were able to see a train of rising fish.  There were at least 20-30 trout nosing out of the water with anywhere from 5-10 up at a time.  And there were some big ones in the bunch.  That’s something you just don’t see around Missoula and I can see the appeal that the Missouri has to offer.  Unfortunately, our batting average on these fish was probably close to like 5% or less.  When it’s midges on the meal plan the fishing can be agonizingly tough and a little maddening.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Jeff on the grill

Day 2 we were up an hoping for a bit better day on the river.  After some eggs in camp scrambled up with a tasty stick, we were back over to the Headhunters to pick up a few flies and get a shuttle all squared up.  Contrary to the weather forecast, we had strong winds and clear skies.  The bugs weren’t out in the numbers they were from the day before and the fishing was just plain slow.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Finally getting to a wind free spot

We again floated the dam to Craig.  The fish were few and far between and small.  Not exactly fulfilling our vision for the day.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Side channel sight fishing

Around 3PM the wind started to die down and the fish started rising again.  We were again in a side channel, trying to snipe those pesky sipping trout.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

Trying to find the right setup to trick those damned slurpers

We counted close to a hundred noses over the last two hours of the float but just couldn’t find the mojo.  The casts were right but the setup wasn’t fooling them.  5X wasn’t cutting it and a #18 midge apparently wasn’t either.  Hey we’ve been fishing nymphs all winter and spring so we were happy just to get a few over the course of the two days on top.  We weren’t the only ones having trouble either.  Lots of fellow floaters were complaining of slow conditions from the dam to Craig.  Apparently we should have floated from Craig to Mid-Canyon as we found a note from our buddy Tyler Trudeau saying they got into about 40 fish on their float.  The Missouri River is one that your going to spend some serious time on before you can say you understand it.  We had a great time and hopefully next time the river will be a touch more generous.  We did get a small amount of video so we’ll probably make a short mash up here in the next couple of weeks.  Be checking back as we near spring hunting season, get closer to getting Contrast done, and hopefully get a small video from this trip up on the site.

fly fishing, missouri river, montana wild, headhunters fly shop, craig mt, holter dam, nymphing, dry fly, MT, rainbow trout, brown, bwo, Nikon, GoPro, midges

-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

Finishing up the final touches to our most recent video.  We’ll be taking you along as we drop four coyotes in a few short hours on the last day of our 3 day hunt on the Hi-Line.

Montana Wild, Final Cut Pro, Nikon, coyote hunting, bowhunting, MT, film, video, Missoula

As you can see there are a lot of cuts to putting together an edit.  I’ve put in a lot of hours on this along with working on finishing up our episodes from 2011.  Be looking for this video sometime on Saturday.

-Zack

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