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NZ Tahr Hunt – Day 3

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Some backcountry essentials: headlamp, inReach, cell phone, and water

Day 3 started with another slow morning of tahr meat sizzling on the wood stove as Josh finished fleshing and salting his tahr cape.  The sun provided some Vitamin D and warmth for a mid-day snooze.  Finally we got our gear together and once again headed up the mountain.  The weather was turning a bit more cloudy and the wind had picked up.

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Roll out

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Rokosch trusting his waterproof gaiters and surefooted steps

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Boulder hopping up the creek

With our pressure from the past two days putting the tahr a bit on edge we elected to go up the creek bottom to just underneath our glassing knob.  From there we’d hike straight up and pop over and be ready to glass and locate tahr.  We would stay out of sight and hopefully the tahr would feed off the mountain one more time.

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Tahr on both sides of the drainage, looking for the biggest one

We quickly located a large mob of tahr high in the cliffs and once again settled in to see if they’d feed down to the areas we could safely access.  After about an hour and a half we decided they would come off the mountain and we better close the distance now or else they would see us.  We dropped back off the ridge and looped further up closing the distance to about a 1000 yards and the tahr slowly working closer and closer.  After about thirty minutes they had worked into under 400 yards.  After getting closer they winded us and started back up the mountain.  When the biggest bull tahr stopped clear of the others the Tikka barked and made a lethal hit.  The bull came downhill before one more shot put him down quickly.  Fist bumps and high fives went around and we quickly scrambled up to the bull.

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Zack with his New Zealand bull tahr

Three tahr in three days.  A darn successful trip with great guys.  We knew the routine and quickly had the bull in our packs and headed down the mountain.

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A successful tahr camp

Success and good times with a great crew!

The next day we cleaned gear and all the tahr skulls and hides.  Unfortanately a storm blew in that evening and we were unable to hunt or fly out.  The following morning we had a chopper show up just after sunrise.

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Stoked

A beautiful but bumpy ride took us back to the hangar and our New Zealand tahr hunt was complete.  If you are interested in hunting free range tahr, stag, or chamois definitely give Ben a shout over at BGHNZ > https://bghnz.co.nz/ A big thanks to both Ben and August who provided much comedic relief in camp and on the mountain! Good times boys, till next time!

-Written by Zack Boughton

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new zealand tahr hunt, tahr hunting, nz, south island, free range, montana wild, film, video, New Zealand Tahr Hunt - Day 2

Tahr Camp – Day 2

New Zealand Tahr Hunt – Day 2 started with the crew sleeping in till just after sunrise.  With one bull in camp we felt confident in saving our energy for another solid evening hunt.  Travis finished up taking care of his hide and skull as the guys fixed up a mean lunch of more tahr meat, potatoes, and onions.

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Lunch is going to be protein packed!

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Mmmmmmmmm

After filling our bellies and taking a quick snooze in the sun we loaded the packs and started our trek back up the valley.

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Ben going for it.

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August keeps tabs on “one horn”

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A small group descending to the lower grassy faces

This afternoon we decided to go up the opposite side of the head of the valley.  We wanted to look further back into the end of the drainage.  After getting in position we started picking out tahr all across the upper half of the mountain.  A few hours later and a small band of tahr had fed to within 50 yards before winding us and moving off.  We had spotted a cool looking one horned bull up high on the mountain.  His cape swirled and billowed in the wind and we knew he was a mature bull.  After telling Josh I’d shoot him if he didn’t he decided this would be his bull to make a move on.  After watching him move lower and lower it was time to make a move to get into shooting position.  Josh and Ben set off while myself and August held back and kept an eye on him.  Within twenty minutes of the guys being gone the bull had dropped so low we could no longer see him.  Just a few minutes later we heard a shot echo through the valley.  We picked up our packs and quickly hustled up the drainage to see what had taken place.

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Josh and his old bull tahr

As we caught up to the guys Josh was admiring his first tahr.  A unique and old one horned beast.  We quickly shot photos as light faded and again we had a long packout in the dark followed by another dinner of backstrap and cold beers.

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Ben wondering what the story behind old one horn was

Want to see how close the bull got before Josh took his shot?  Watch the following as we take you through Day 2 of our hunt!

Special thanks to Ben and August and if you’re interested in hunting any big game animals free range in New Zealand definitely hit up Ben at his website > www.bghnz.co.nz/

Written by : Zack Boughton

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New Zealand.  Lord of the Rings, amazing scenery, epic proportions of rain, huge brown trout, more sheep than humans.  The list goes on of unique characteristics about the unique islands far from just about anywhere.  This past February and March we visited the South Island for about 5 weeks.  Our main goal was to fish for the large brown trout that NZ is so famous for.  We’ll have a blog post on that later.  With that much time on the island I figured we should try to diversify our activities a bit and try to get out and hunt tahr or stag, two species that seem to draw most hunters to the area.  After announcing our plans to come visit the island we got a message from Ben Tumata from Big Game Hunting New Zealand.  He told us he’d be happy help us out if we wanted to hunt.  Some back and forth messaging and we were on the board to take advantage of Ben’s week off.  He was and is a stud for offering to take some guys out as friends on a New Zealand Tahr Hunt especially without ever meeting us.

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Tahr Country

We met up with Ben and organized and sorted gear.  From there we took the rigs up to the hanger and started weighing out gear to see what we could and couldn’t take in on the heli.  Fortunately we just slid under our weight limit and we started loading up.

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Ready to go!

Before we knew it we were all on board and the rotors started to spin as the engine fired up.  The weather had cleared and we were in for a beautiful ride up into our hunting area.  For those who have never rode in a heli it’s something I’d highly recommend.  Our two heli flights were definitely highlights of our trip.

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Weaving our way down to our final destination.

We spotted a few tahr on the flight in and saw some of the most beautiful country we’ve ever laid eyes on.  Montana will always be #1 in our minds but the country we flew over and got to hunt in here was equally impressive.  After unloading the heli the pilot took off and like that we were deep in the New Zealand backcountry with only the sound of the river a few hundred yards away.  We quickly sorted gear and put up tents.

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Ben setting up his M.I.A. Tent

Ben had a killer wall tent that he has been designing and refining over the years.  He’s calling the brand M.I.A. Gear and his tent and stove set up was money.  It was lightweight but extremely study and weather proof and served as a great spot to get warm and eat dinner ever night when we got back to camp.  Based off Ben’s advice and time spent hunting tahr we were really in no rush to get up the mountain.  The tahr typically bed up high in the cliffs and in the evening will start coming off the mountain to feed.  We took the next couple hours to soak up the sun and glass up a few nannies high up in the cliffs above camp.  Around 2 or 3 we shouldered our packs and headed up the drainage.  This was new country to everyone and we used the river as our path to get up to the head of the drainage.

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Boulder hopping our way up the canyon.

After climbing up to a high knob with a 360 degree view we dropped our packs and broke out the spotters.  We quickly started turning up tahr.  A lot of young bulls and nannies and kids occupied us for the first few hours.  As the shadows started to lengthen in the valley we spotted two bulls high in the cliffs below a hanging glacier.  The wind blew their long coats as they slowly dropped elevation.

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Letting the music lure our bulls down the mountain

Ben and August sized up their horn and body size and determined they would be worthy of a closer look.  We sat and watched them for about an hour as Six60 “Closer” played on Ben’s small speaker setup.  We all had a good laugh as the tahr seemingly listened exactly to the music and slowly got “closer, closer to you!” Soon we picked up and made a loop out of sight to get ahead of them and wait to see if they’d show up on the big apron of grass that emerged from the base of the cliffs. We shuffled closer and finally decided we were in a good position.  There were 3 tahr up on the hill now within 400 yards and getting closer.  We patiently waited until the biggest bull finally crested a small rise at about 60 yards.  Travis was ready and centered up the reticle and let a shot rip.  The shot found it’s mark and we had a nice bull on the ground.

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Travis with his bull tahr

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Ben explains to Josh how to age a tahr based off it’s horns.

Light quickly faded as we admired the bull.  He was a good bull hitting the tape at 11 3/4″.  We made quick work of the bull and soon had him loaded up.  The weight wasn’t heavy but the grass had become dew covered and the descent down the mountain included lots of slipping and sliding.  We crossed back over the river and finally rolled into camp.  Everyone was in good spirits and we had a few celebratory beers as tahr backstrap sizzled on the stove top.

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Tahr, sauteed onions, and a cold beverage

Day 1 was in the books and what a day it was.  Watch the video below to see how Day 1 played out high in the mountains of New Zealand.

Special thanks to Ben and August and if you’re interested in hunting any big game animals free range in New Zealand definitely hit up Ben at his website > www.bghnz.co.nz/

Written by : Zack Boughton

Without further ado, it’s our pleasure to release our latest fly fishing film, SKWALHALLA. Filmed over the past three years, SKWALHALLA is all about big bugs, big eats, and good times on the river with the boys. Sit back, relax, and enjoy 21 minutes of some of the best spring fly fishing that the West has to offer.  Available for purchase or rental via Vimeo On Demand HERE

Still not quite convinced that SKWALHALLA is worth your time or money by now? Check out the official trailer below, and see for yourself.

Shop our selection of Hats, Tee Shirts, and Apparel HERE.

 

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First off I’d like to say Thank You to all 127 people who backed our Kickstarter!  Your support means a lot and goes a long way in helping us create future films.  Unfortunately we didn’t meet our goal on Kickstarter and you will not be charged for your support of the Kickstarter.  If you’d like take that money and spend it to support future Montana Wild Fishing films please consider supporting our new film SKWALHALLA which will release in full on February 1st.  You can currently pre-order the film and be entered into a giveaway for a Simms hip pack.

bucknasty browns, kickstarter, fishing, brown trout, montana wildThe failure of this campaign probably was a result of quite a few things.  Starting the campaign over the holidays meant people had and were spending their hard earned money elsewhere, we also had less than a week to plan and create the Kickstarter which was just a necessity given our time and hunting season lasting till the end of November.  With little time to plan the campaign it was tough to convey what the funding would actually go towards.  The reason we wanted to raise $12,000 was to fund the actual production of a film given the guidelines of our Kickstarter campaign.  A five part web series and a film released through iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo On Demand would have cost well in excess of $12,000.  Permits for commercial filming would have cost in excess of $350 per day in NZ and trying to capture a 5-6 week trip would have been a costly endeavor.  Add in music licensing which would have been thousands and then paying a 3rd party to upload to iTunes and Amazon and we are pushing 10K easy.  Then add in our time and extra expense to take time to film and properly document our trip each day and then spend weeks to edit and you can see that it is a costly project.  A few haters had a good time claiming this was just a way to fund an extravagant trip to NZ.  That’s false as we will still be going to NZ on our own dime and no we aren’t trust fund babies, we do in fact work like everyone else for our money.

With that said we will no longer be filming Bucknasty Browns as outlined in our Kickstarter campaign.  The chances of us doing any filming outside of some personal shots is slim to none.  That brings me to my final point, if you do in fact value our fishing films and want to continue to see us create more we NEED your support.  If half our followers rented our film SKWALHALLA we would be planning a LOT more fishing films.  Right now that’s far, far from the case despite over 20K views of the trailer in the first week.  And as you can read HERE, that film took us three years and was funded 100% out of our own pocket to try to give our fans something they’ve yet to see and get them stoked to set foot on the river with fly rod in hand.

The content landscape is quickly changing but without fan support our content delivery which includes lots of free content will be diminished.  The market will dictate our actions and right now it’s shifting in ways difficult to predict.  If you have comments, advice or input related to this or fishing films in general we’d love to hear from you.  And again, thank you to those who have supported our projects, the Kickstarter and future films and projects!

Zack Boughton

From 2015 – 2017 we spent many days on the water trying to not only hit the Skwala Stonefly hatch juuuust right, but to also capture the hatch on film in all of it’s glory. Filmed and edited with cutting edge camera equipment and software, and boasting a total of over 75 dry fly eats, you won’t want to miss out on our upcoming film, SKWALHALLA. In addition to the launch of the film, we’re offering a special pre order giveaway, that gives YOU a chance to take home a brand new Simms G4 Pro Tactical Hip Pack. Keep reading to find out how you could be the lucky winner.

 

WIN THIS SIMMS G4 PRO TACTICAL HIP PACK

By now you’re probably wondering, “How in the heck can I get my hands on that sweet looking Simms pack?!”  We don’t blame you, and the answer is simple. To get your name in the hat, you must follow the three simple steps listed below.

Pre order SKWALHALLA, here: SKWALHALLA Vimeo On Demand

DRAWING FOR WINNER will be held on Wednesday, January 31st at 5:00 PM MST, live on the Montana Wild Instagram story.

 

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This week we dropped our trailer for our film SKWALHALLA.  You can read more about the hatch and film HERE.  If you missed it here is the trailer:

We really started fishing the hatch in 2012.  New to fishing and eager to get out after a long winter, this hatch was a welcomed respite from worm chucking and turd swinging.  In 2013 we fished the hatch with more dedication, hoping to unlock the secrets of the hatch so that days could be spent catching fish on a dry and not just staring at foam float downriver for eight hours.  While some may claim this hatch is so easy to hit we’ve found it to be quite the opposite.  With a 2+month weather and water temp window these bugs can pop with little to no reason one day and be gone the next only to reappear three weeks later in the same spot.  An angler dedicated to seeing the hatch in all its glory often has to be borderline obsessed with time on the river the biggest factor in catching glimpses of the best days.  That year we filmed a few days but had relatively nothing to show for the effort.  2013 came around and we again set out to fish the hatch and were met with slightly better success.

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Getting just the right drift was the ticket to catching this rainbow.

Again we filmed a bit but with no mission and no goal it was only worth added time spent behind the camera gaining valuable experience filming fishing.  2014 came and once again we walked banks searching for rising trout and skwalas crawling through the rocks.  A few epic days without the camera had us feeling more confident.

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Travis with one of a handful of fish caught in a small stretch of river

Around this time I had become better friends with Josh Rokosch, a local of the valley and one knowledgeable skwala fisherman.  Growing up fishing the hatch meant he was a wealth of knowledge and in 2013 he had expressed his desire to make a skwala film called Skwalhalla.  The title essentially means Skwala Valhalla and we were right at the center of the best skwala fishing to be found.  Things didn’t work out to begin filming then or in 2014, but more groundwork was laid and a project was starting to line up.

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Beautiful colors on a skwala eating cutty

As 2015 rolled around we agreed to begin filming Skwalhalla.  The film was meant to document the glory of the hatch and the epic dry fly eats associated with it.  No long, boring storyline, just good friends, good times and big eats.  We filmed 4 days that spring and got a few shots but far from what we needed to make a film.  With no funding of any kind this was going to be a personal project and that meant no real deadline.  With the ball slowly rolling we ramped up production in 2016 and filmed a total of 11 days searching for more eats and bigger fish.  That may seem like a lot of days but often film days never seem to be amazing fishing days.  Sure there are a few every once in a while but often if you get 5-10 really good shots in a day you’re crushing it.  Running a camera for 8 hours on a river can be tough and shots get missed, fish get missed, the exposure or focus was off, the audio was cracking, or something didn’t line up that made the shot just ok.  Again this is entirely self funded so if the fishing sucks and we’re sick of filming then the camera goes bye bye and usually someone catches a fish within 5 minutes haha!! Typical.

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Late afternoon riser

With lots of footage logged we were still missing a few shots that would round out the film.  One area which was lacking was high quality bug footage.  When you’re focused on catching fish and filming eats you’re not always looking to film the naturals crawling around on banks.  With plenty of eats in the bag we set out to find skwalas doing their thing, crawling out of the river, hatching, squirming on the water and flying off rocks and logs.

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A slow day but proof that things were about to heat up

Day one of 2017 and boom we hit it right on the money.  Skwalas were crawling all over the first log we pulled up to and we logged some awesome shots.  One thing to note is that we saw lots and lots of bugs that day but the fish weren’t keyed into them yet.  We fished hard but just didn’t get the eats.  The streamer actually got pulled out and turned up a few nice fish though.  The next day we switched systems and got into some amazing fishing.  With plenty of footage on the hard drives we made the gamble to go to a stretch of water that hadn’t seen much traffic and hoped we would be rewarded.  That choice paid off in a big way with a half dozen of our best eats of the film taking place on that float.  With so much success we decided to go back to the same spot the next day.  The weather was essentially the same and flows remained stable but the fishing was night and day.  The fishing had turned off and only a few eats were had.  It wasn’t how you’d hope to end a film trip but that’s the nature of the hatch.

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Side channel log jams. Fortunately we were able to pull the braces off and slide through

At the end of it all we had spent over 20 days filming for this movie and we’re damn proud of what we’ve created.  The final film is 21 minutes long and filled with over 70 dry fly eats.  The storyline is simple and it’s filled with good music and even better fishing.  Projects like this are big undertakings, but we hope they push the progression of fishing films in the right direction.  This is undoubtedly the best video documentation of the hatch to date and your support of this project goes a long, LONG ways in helping fund more content in the future (both free and paid).  At the end of the day we can’t do this without the support of our fans.  Please consider purchasing SKWALHALLA, it will get you stoked for spring fishing!!!

Words by Zack Boughton

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Our amazing fans have been insistent in asking for a second Bucknasty Browns film and we are here to deliver, but we need your help. This film project will be documenting a Do-It-Yourself trip to one of the greatest brown trout destinations in the world, the South Island of New Zealand. World-renowned for it’s clear backcountry waters, epic spring creeks, and large, trophy sized, AKA Bucknasty, brown trout. The plan is to roadtrip the island in search of adventure and large brown trout. We just launched a Kickstarter for Bucknasty Browns II and we would love if you showed us some support! In order for Bucknasty Browns II to become a reality, we need to reach our goal of $12,000. We are offering a ton of great rewards and you can also pre-order the film (see below). By pre-ordering the film you will be the first to get to download and watch the full film.

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Please click here to support Bucknasty Browns II and/or pre-order the film >>> BUCKNASTY BROWNS II Kickstarter

 

For more info on the film project, click here >>> BUCKNASTY INFO

Our latest fly fishing film, SUMMER HYPE showcases some epic salmonfly fishing, big fish, savage eats, and good times on the water.  Shot by our most recent summer intern Bryant Patterson, this short film captured a few great days on the water.  Pull up a seat, sit back and enjoy SUMMER HYPE!

Shop our hats used in the film, by clicking on the images below.

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Today we officially released our latest elk hunting film The Outlier.  This film has been a multi-year project for us and it’s hands down our best hunting content to date.  Follow along as four good friends battle to fill their elk tags with bows in hand in the Missouri River Breaks.  The film is available for purchase through our store on the website and also through Vimeo On Demand.  More information can be found on the films website www.theoutlierfilm.com

Purchase DVDs HERE.

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Purchase a DVD and T-Shirt combo pack HERE.

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And purchase the film digitally through Vimeo On Demand HERE.

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