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Montana’s 2018 Deer & Elk Application Deadline is March 15th.

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With spring quickly approaching, it’s easy to have our minds fixated on bear season, fly fishing, and other outdoor activities. PS: We’re excited for all of those things too, but let’s not forget about an incredibly important deadline that’s rapidly approaching – Deer & Elk special permit, and non resident big game combination license applications. By now you’re either thinking “No worries, already got em’ in.” or “oh crap I totally forgot.” If you’re saying the latter, don’t worry, you’ve still got (a little bit) of time. Until March 15th to be exact. Haven’t applied yet? Apply HERE.

Hunting, outdoor media, fly fishing, application, big game, deer, elk, deer hunting, elk hunting, rifle hunting, stoke, send it, public land, conservation

Living in Montana, we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to hunt a wide variety of species year after year, including deer, elk, bear, antelope, and much more. That being said, it’s something that we need not take for granted. Needing a little bit of stoke to get you to apply? Click on the video below to see Travis’ 2013 public land archery elk hunt unfold. Do yourself a favor, and set yourself up for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Gear up for the 2018 hunting season in the sickest outdoor apparel around. Click here to shop Montana Wild Apparel

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Idaho Elk Hunting /// 2018 Bear Archery Promo

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This fall we had the opportunity to work with our long time partner Bear Archery on a promotional video to help launch their 2018 lineup of bows.  With tags in Montana we hoped to fill during rifle we knew we would need to venture out-of-state to shoot an archery elk video.  With a quick turnaround we knew a September elk hunt would fit the bill.  One short scouting trip left me with some local info but film permitting forced us to hunt areas of the unit which I’d never stepped foot in.  With enough previous elk experience under our belt we still felt confident we could show up and eventually be in the thick of things.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery

Sunset over Elk Country on night 1

We arrived late in the afternoon and were able to dip into the head of a basin that we hoped to hunt in the morning.  A faint bugle and a few elk spotted just before dark left us feeling hopeful for the morning.  The alarm came quick and without much pause we were headed down the mountain and began to sidehill through a large, timber filled basin.  We had hoped to hear bugles but were greeted only with small amounts of sign and nothing of much excitement.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery

Other than a small bull this was the best sign we saw all morning

After the morning hunt we hopped into the truck and decided to move a few basins to the north.  A short drive down the road revealed multiple camps setup on the basin we had just hunted.  Our fingers were crossed that the next spot would be empty but we only found more of the same.  That night we quickly chowed down dinner and then scrutinized the maps and tried to decide on a new spot hopefully with less people.  Two days later we were in a new area with much more depth to the topography.  We hoped this would keep a few people out and our hike in the dark left us thinking of what might lie up the canyon.  As dawn barely began to show itself we heard our first bugle not more than a few hundred yards up the trail.  As we waited for shooting light we could hear multiple bulls sounding off further up the basin.  We continued up the draw and soon decided the best bet would be to chase the bull bugling closest to us and go from there.  We quickly climbed uphill following this bull headed to his bedding area.  When I felt we were on the verge of spooking some of the herd I decided now was the time to challenge him.  The next five minutes were spent exchanging bugles as I slowly worked closer.  Without a caller and with a cameraman in tow this can be a tough game to play but this day it worked to perfection.  As I moved up an elk trail I saw tines through the small pine trees ahead of me.  With an open lane in front of me I hooked up to my D-loop and waited.  As the bull disappeared behind the last tree separating us I drew.  Soon he emerged in the opening at 22 yards looking for his challenger.  One quick cow call slowed him enough to take a shot before he cleared my lane.  My arrow hit further back than I’d hoped but still caught lungs and I was able to watch my bull crash in a small rock field just 80 yards away.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery, bear approach

Tools of the trade

We took a few minutes to soak in what had just happened and then went to find my arrow.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery

300 grains of steel

Stuck in a log my arrow was covered with bubbly, red blood.  It was a sight for sore eyes as it had been a few years since I’d been able to tag a bull during archery season.  A short walk left me admiring an awesome bull elk taken on our beautiful public lands.  We are truly blessed to do this.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery, 2018 Bear Promo, ID Elk Hunting

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery, bear approach

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery

As we finished breaking the bull down it began to pour rain.  With about six hours of daylight left we knew we could get this elk back to the truck before dark but it would be wet and miserable.  For elk hunters it’s what we expect and the pain and hardship is eagerly welcomed.

elk hunting, idaho, public land, archery, diy, bear archery, kifaru, argali, hunting backpack, 2018 bear archery promo

The Kifaru Argali making its maiden voyage and performing flawlessly

Two trips up and down the mountain left us at the truck, sipping a cold beverage pulled from the YETI.  With daylight quickly fading we packed the truck up and headed home.

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One quick stop and then back on the road

After getting home Travis quickly got to downloading all the footage and beginning the edit process.  A week later the edit was done and delivered.  Here is the 1 minute Bear Archery promotional film:

 

If you haven’t checked out the new lineup of bows from Bear Archery you can do so right here > 2018 Bear Archery lineup

The bow I shot was the Bear Approach, an entry level bow that prides itself on exceptional value.  When I got it I wasn’t entirely stoked knowing this was an entry level bow.  As an avid hunter I like to have the best equipment I can get my hands on but I swallowed my pride and gave the bow a chance to show its true colors.  After shooting and successfully hunting with this bow I was blown away at the feel and value that any bowhunter could get from a $399 bow.  It shot as good as I could shoot, was quiet and dead-in-hand, and most importantly easy to tune.  I had about 4 days to setup and tune this bow before hunting with it and if I didn’t feel comfortable with it I definitely wouldn’t have taken it.  At the end of the day it has to feel good in your hand and shoot well and this bow did both.

Bear Archery, Bear Approach, approach, archery, bow, hunting, elk

2018 Bear Approach

-Written By Zack Boughton 

 

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THE OUTLIER – Official Trailer

the outlier official trailer

We are proud to announce The Outlier Official Trailer.  This is our first full length elk hunting film and we excited for the July 10th full film release!

Shot in 2015, this film follows four friends as they hope to fill their archery elk tags during Montana’s general archery season.  Filmed on public lands in North Central Montana.  To read more about the film please visit the website > www.theoutlierfilm.com 

You can also view the first trailer HERE.

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The Outlier – Behind The Scenes

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The Outlier.  If you haven’t heard about this film or seen the first teaser yet you should do so.  You can learn more HERE.  This is our largest film project to date and will be our best work yet.  Shot over the course of an entire archery season in Montana’s Missouri River Breaks, this film was no small undertaking.  I spent 40+ days in the field between filming and hunting and it was a great chance to capture some amazing moments and be part of some great elk hunts.  Going into this project we knew it would involve a lot of moving pieces and we would be filming with Josh and Brandon making things even more interesting.  With that in mind we hoped to capture some short snippets of what went into making this film.

Go check out the film’s website theoutlierfilm.com and read more about this film.  We expect the film to be released via DVD and VimeoOnDemand coming July 10th!

Zack

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AMBUSH 2 – Hunting Public Land Elk

elk hunt, archery, montana, wild, rmef, sitka, sub alpine, film, bowhunt, bowhunting

FINALLY!!!! To finally be able to release this film to the public is a relief. AMBUSH 2 was shot in 2013 during September and has been sitting in our archives since then. We didn’t know what to do with the film, but have come to the conclusion that it is best to release the film to view for FREE. This archery elk hunt captures my first successful archery elk hunt and it was truly a monumental moment for myself. To wait for days, just to get one opportunity…. The encounter is pretty remarkable. We sat watching this bull wallow for 15 minutes before he stood. Watch AMBUSH 2 below and please share if you enjoyed the film.

To read the original blog post click here > FOUR YEARS IN THE MAKING

 

Travis

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THE OUTLIER – Teaser & Website

the outlier, film, video, elk hunting, montana, missouri river breaks

Today we are stoked to announce that the website and first teaser for our film THE OUTLIER is now LIVE!!!  This has been our largest film undertaking to date and it will hands down be our best film we have created.  Shot in 2015, the film follows four elk hunters through the Missouri River Breaks as they hope to fill their tags with bows in hand.  100% Public land, DIY hunting, this film showcases the hunt first and foremost but mixes in a public lands and conservation message that is so important especially in today’s current climate regarding wild places.  Enjoy THE OUTLIER Teaser below and be sure to go to the website (www.theoutlierfilm.com) to read more about the project and see photos from the trip.

As a commitment to elk, conservation, and public lands we will be donating 5% of the proceeds from the sale of the film back to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Zack

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OVERLOOKED – New Hunting Film

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With rifle antelope season opening here in Montana on Saturday we decided we’d keep those hunting vibes going by releasing a short antelope film from this past season.  Travis drew his first rifle antelope permit and wanted to take full advantage of the new opportunity.  With only a few days blocked off to hunt he knew he’d have to cover a lot of country and keep his fingers crossed that he would turn up a good buck.  After hunting areas with lots of other hunters, the move was made to an area that was less obvious and very much overlooked.  A buck was spotted and the next day Travis headed back to see if he could punch his tag.

We also recently released an antelope themed T-Shirt.  You can purchase your Fast Food T in our STORE.

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-Zack

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Last Minute Mule Deer Scouting

It’s now August and most bucks have put on about as much antler growth as they’ll get before shedding their velvet.  With season starting soon this is a good time to get in a few quality days of mule deer scouting in hopes that your season will be a success.  With that said, scouting for mule deer in the high country can be a daunting task if you aren’t sure where to start. Ever wonder where you can learn about the necessities of backpack scouting? Below we’ll take you through some of the process so your next trip into the mountains is time well spent.

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Your first order of business should be deciding where you want to go. Mule deer have a wide range of habitats ranging from sage flats, to high mountain peaks above tree line. Depending on your physical ability, and willingness to hike, you’ll have a wide range of options to chose from in Montana and many other western states. I personally like to scout in more remote locations and at higher elevation. If you are willing to do the hiking it takes to get into the backcountry, you’ll eliminate many of the struggles that people sticking closer to roads and town will have due to human pressure on the animals.

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When preparing to scout the high country, I try to look for a few key things that will be essential for deer to live there. Food, water, and cover are the main three, but other things come into play as well. When looking over country on Google Earth, it can be hard to figure out where all of these necessities are located, but if you pay attention to detail, you will be much more successful at finding deer. For instance, much of the high country in western Montana is rocky and rugged. This means that in an area that’s super rocky, you’re going to want to look for grassy meadows in bowls, basins, and on top of ridgelines for food sources. Another great food source for high country bucks are burns. Burns provide regrowth, and abundant amounts of food for deer and elk to feed on in the summer months, but can make glassing much harder, and make the animals much less predictable due to the abundance and wide range of feeding locations. When looking at a spot on google earth, I always try to think about: “Where are they going to eat, how are they getting there, and what are they eating?”

montana, mule deer, scouting, wildlife

When scouting high country mule deer, you will want to have a very select list of gear in your arsenal, and know how to use it well if you plan on being successful at finding that giant velvet buck you’ve been dreaming about. When packing for a trip, I try to keep three important things in mind: space, weight, and durability. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you need, while eliminating items that you don’t think will be necessary. As a general rule, I tell myself that If I’m not going to use something three or more times on a trip, then it’s not going in my pack. This obviously excludes necessities like first aid kits, bear spray, and emergency survival gear, but you get the point. Below is a list of some of the items that always come with me into the backcountry, that are easy to find in different weights and sizes depending on how much money you are looking to spend.

  1. One or two person lightweight tent (I prefer a two-man tent to keep myself and my gear dry in the event of a storm.)
  2. Lightweight packable sleeping pad
  3. Sleeping bag & compression sack
  4. Water purification pump
  5. First Aid kit
  6. Bear Spray or a side arm
  7. Mountaineering boots (Although not a necessity, a stiff boot with added support will make your hikes and time scouting much more enjoyable, avoiding unnecessary foot fatigue.)
  8. Binoculars
  9. Spotting scope
  10. Lightweight compact tripod
  11. Freeze dried food items (Mountain house, Backpacker’s Pantry, etc.)
  12. Snacks ( anything from Cliff Bars to trail mix/jerky to a bag of M&M’s. You will want to bring something to snack on while glassing / have a way of getting some calories in you without stopping to make a Mountain House)
  13. Eating utensils
  14. A 100 Ounce water bladder or a couple one liter Nalgene bottles.

Now that we’ve gone over what gear to bring on your trip, it’s time to discuss packing your pack. Ideally, you are going to want to have a good sized pack that can easily hold all of your gear. I like to keep in mind when packing my pack that if it were hunting season, I may need more room on the way out in the event that you do harvest a buck. When putting your gear in your pack you will want to make sure you are distributing weight evenly, and that you aren’t putting the important things that you may need to access quickly at the bottom of your pack. I know it sounds like a no brainer, but the last thing you want is to be desperately digging around for your spotting scope as a stud buck is heading for the timber off in the distance.

scouting, summer, deer, montana

A couple of weeks ago I went scouting in Southwest Montana, and it was an eye opening experience for me, in the sense that I had no idea how big the country was going to be. This was my first time scoutng in that specific spot, and had an awesome experience. Over the course of the two days we spent in the backcountry, we spent time scouting between 6,500 – 8500’ and were able to locate a good number of bucks, in a wide range of locations. On the first day we packed in at dark hoping to reach a solid glassing point by daybreak. After reaching where we had planned to start glassing, I quickly realized that the country we were in was much larger than I had imagined. As the day went on we covered more country, locating multiple water sources and stopping at a few more good vantage points to glass, but only located a few deer. After a midday nap, followed by hunkering down in a hailstorm, we moved to the next ridge and sat down to glass.

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It wasn’t long, and Zack had spotted a group of bucks bedded down. As the evening went on, we worked our way around the bowl, glassing it from multiple vantage points, and turning up more and more deer. A lot of times the key in scouting the high country is finding the pockets where the deer like to frequent. Many times when you find one group of deer in a basin, there will be many more as well.

montana, summer, deer, hiking, camping

The following week, I headed into another promising backcountry area with a good friend in hopes of locating more bucks and bulls before the fast approaching season. After my experience the week before, I knew going into it that the country was going to be much larger than it looked on Google Earth, so I planned accordingly bringing extra food and water for the hike in. After a six mile hike, we set up camp and glassed the last hour of the evening, turning up one small buck. As the next morning rolled around, we got up and glassed the first couple of hours on the other side of camp from where we had glassed the night before. Just as I was about to move to a new spot, I found a group of bucks feeding through the bottom of a basin surrounded by cliffs and shale slides on all sides. Although none of the bucks were shooters, it was nice to know that I was finding deer in areas where I had predicted they would be because of readily available food.

montana, hiking, scouting, hunting, summer

Over the course of the day we hiked an 8 mile loop up to one of the surrounding peaks, and back. This gave us the opportunity to spend the middle of the day checking out new country, and glassing occasionally in spots that looked like they would have the best chance of holding animals. We didn’t turn up any more bucks that day, but it was an awesome way to see the country first hand, and get an idea of what areas we needed to focus on come September. As we got back to camp and built a fire, the wind picked up, and the temperature began to drop as a storm rolled in. Although this was a less than ideal situation, we came prepared, and were able to layer up and hunker down for the night while the storm passed.

Camp

The next morning, we decided to glass a new spot closer to camp, and to our surprise, turned up three more bucks, but again no shooters. That afternoon, we packed up camp, and began our hike back to the truck. About half way into the hike, we came across a ton of bear sign. This was no surprise to us, and if you plan on hunting and scouting in the high country, and wilderness areas in particular, then you’d better be ready to encounter bears. This isn’t something that should scare you, or deter you from going into these areas, but it is something to be aware of and prepare for.

flat tire, montana, nighttime

Whether you are on the drive into the trailhead, or ten miles from the truck, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for any situation. My final piece of advice would be to double check everything from your tire repair kit in your truck, to your first aid kit in your pack before you leave, because you never know what can happen out there. Luckily, if you come prepared, you can keep a little problem at bay and fix it before it becomes much more serious. Do your research, pack smart, come prepared, scout hard, and have an awesome time doing it.

Written By: Calvin Connor

Edited By: Zack Boughton

Photos: Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor

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BOW BREAKER BUCKS is Live!

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This past year we had the chance to chase mule deer on public land in October. In less than perfect conditions Zack found a buck worthy of an arrow, but could just not seem to connect with a shot. Its never easy to shrug off a miss, especially when your bow is still on. Sometimes its all a mental game when archery hunting, and if you can overcome that mental hurdle, you will most likely succeed.

More hunting videos are on the horizon!

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THE CRAGS – Teaser

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Last fall Travis had a handful of days to fill his first ever, archery mule deer tag. Boots tight and arrows dialed in, we set foot in the badlands of Montana, with hopes of capturing this adventure on film. The result was an unforgetttable hunt, with the ups and downs that come with hunting spooky public land mule deer. Make sure to catch the full film in the 2015 Hunting Film Tour. Check here for a showing near you: huntingfilmtour.com