I need some advice on bagging this monster - pic attached


November 8, 2008, 06:31 PM
First and foremost, let me explain the hunting conditions. I live in southwest montana, not quite the mountains but not quite the valley either (4800' elevation). I have 20 acres and i've been here about a year and a half.

In spite of dumb luck, I have found a new place to live (in the mountains) and will be out of my current residence next friday. This leaves me approximately 6 days left to hunt.

All right, now the good part ;) I have been watching one particular buck since I first spotted him last year. Fortunately, I have a picture from last year: http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l155/brighamr/huntison.jpg

I haven't been able to get a picture of him this year, but he has an additional point on each side, and I would guess he's at least 20-25 pounds heavier.

Last year, he came down to the spring near my house almost daily (in broad daylight). This year, he's been spooked for months and I only see him occasionally.

Last night, I came home from visiting a friend and the buck was waiting on a ridge behind the house. I couldn't get a good shot, so I started a slow stalk, attempting to flank him. After about 30 minutes of painfully slow crouch-walking, I get to where I can view his position... and of course, he's gone. I start circling looking for tracks, when all of a sudden he crashes through the brush about 20 yards away!

I brought the rifle to bare, but he was already into another thicket and bounding away. I tracked him for a bit, and then I got my opportunity. He was about 170 yards away and at first glance, I thought it would be a level shot. I held my breath, took up the slack, slowly exhaled and squeezed off a shot. He jumped and took off! I knew I had got him, I was so sure of my shot that I immediately ran back to get some help hauling him in.

As it turns out, the actual shot was downhill by about 10%. I found my bullet where it had gone barely under his right foreleg :cuss: Adrenaline :neener:

Today, I've been up since 5:30am staying put and waiting. He hasn't shown himself, and I'm not sure if he'll come back. The gods decided it should rain today, so I don't think tracking will be of much use.

Given the circumstances, if you were in my position would you:
A) go out and try to find him
B) stay put and wait, hoping he resurfaces within the 6 days I have left
C) realize I scared him off and look elsewhere

I truly appreciate your response.

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November 8, 2008, 07:16 PM
A) go out and try to find him

Not yet. You probably need to take a deep breath so you can regain to your "hunting face"

B) stay put and wait, hoping he resurfaces within the 6 days I have left

While you're waiting try to think of everything you know about his movements. What type cover you've seen him in and how (and when) he got into that cover, and how he gets out. Somewhere in what you already know may be the key to intercepting him.

C) realize I scared him off and look elsewhere

You scared him but probably didn't scare him off. Ask yourself (calmly) - Where did he go when you scared him and where did he not go when you scared him? Which route did he take and which route did he not take?

At first he went "away" from you but quickly he headed for somewhere safe.

Assume he won't visit the area where you scared him - so what area(s) and route(s) does that leave him ? He has to make his living even if he's scared and he didn't just leave for Mississippi. Where did he head for when you saw him before (even last year) ?

Take a deep breath, ponder his situation along with everything you've already obseved about him, then maybe some hunches about good places to look for him will come to you and you can go back out in a couple days with a thoughtful hunt instead of desperate search and find him.

Good Luck !

November 8, 2008, 09:15 PM
i agree...wait til two days to go get him. in the meantime you may have to spend all day in the blind or stand or porch or whatever. also, if baiting is legal in your area and you dont have a problem with it you might think about that.

November 8, 2008, 11:50 PM
i didnt see the pic... damn internet!

November 9, 2008, 12:26 AM
Wouldn't a grade (up or down) have you shooting high, not low?

Your problem may not have been the grade; you may want to check your zero. If you only get one more shot, you don't want to miss.

November 9, 2008, 11:47 AM
I'm thinkin' if all you have to hunt is 20 acres, you don't have much for options. Most good bucks only give you one chance. Altho he ain't outta the county, I'm sure that the odds he'll be comin' back to that 20 acre parcel in the next week are slim. Whatever attracted him to the area should attract others....I'd sit tight, and hope another deer as large or bigger comes along.

November 9, 2008, 12:29 PM
Wouldn't a grade (up or down) have you shooting high, not low?Yes, your shots will hit higher than point-of-aim, regardless of up grade or down.

November 9, 2008, 01:47 PM
Wait a day or so, then sit the ridge where you have a good field of view & watch.

November 9, 2008, 02:17 PM
aim slightly above the omg it's rudolph dont shoot!

November 10, 2008, 07:21 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. Couple of things:

1) I haven't seen him since I missed my shot, but a few smaller bucks have come around. Hopefully he'll come back.

2) the up/down hill making a shot land higher than point of aim... this is still confusing to me, however just to make sure I don't miss a second chance I did check my zero today. It's dead on out to about 150 yards. The buck jumped when I origionally shot, so maybe the bullet did go a little higher but still missed him. Either way, I didn't find any blood and I tracked him for a good distance.

3) Unfortunately, baiting is illegal here.

The 20 acres I live on is very near to the lee metcalf wilderness area, where huntin is allowed. I'm going to give this buck one more day to show himself, after which I'll start hunting the wilderness area.

@gotgcoalman - thanks for the laugh :)

happy hunting!

November 10, 2008, 09:36 PM
the lee metcalf wilderness area

That's a trophy in itself . . . I envy you. Two more years & I'll be back home in God's Country where I belong. Hang in there.

November 12, 2008, 08:33 PM
Mulies are really getting hot in the rut right now along with the white tails here in Mt. I am sitting 50 miles north of you right now by your desriptions. that said, with teh rut on, that buck might be chasing a doe 20 miles away right now, or he might be 50 feet from where you missed, its a real crap shoot with mulies, they arent nearly so range bound as whities, they will cover alot more ground, especially in the rut. Not sure if down where you are got hit with that big snow storm a few weeks ago, but its wreaked havoc where it hit, everythign is scattered right now, so a bigger buck could come by and push him off the does as well.

Anyhow, good luck with him, the season is still young, and MT is full of game. Have 8 white tails in teh barn to deal with this weekend so far, buck and 2 does for me, same for my buddy, and wife has 2 does with 2 shots out of her new 25-06. Time to get back after the elk now, opening week was so hot and dry and noisy, i never got within 1000 yards of an elk, but its much cooler and damp now, should be prime time.

November 13, 2008, 11:33 PM
Koja - it'll be here waiting for you, only you may not recognize all of the people :0)

Decker - didn't realize we were so close! Your comment about the rut is too true.

I'm pretty sure the other buck is long gone. I can't find any prints/scat and haven't spotted him or his harem since my last post. I did manage to get this little guy today though. I spotted him chasing 2 does around thickets up the canyon.

Distance: 190 yards (est), 30% grade
Round: Nosler Ballistic Tip
Rifle: AR15

I'm not much for horns, but I am excited about the sheer bulk of meat. After field dressing I had the pleasure of dragging this guy 300 yards to my truck... he's heavy lol. I'm thinking I'll give Elk a try over near Polaris. This area I'm at is filled with elk hunters, and only 2 herds that I know of.

happy hunting!

November 14, 2008, 12:26 AM
Congratulations !!!!


November 14, 2008, 03:06 AM
you may not recognize all of the people
Heck, Brig, that happens when I visit now, but the country still remembers me & vice-versa. Nice buck! They must be rutting . . . that's a world-class neck on that buster. Assume you live around Dillon or Beautiful Butte America (I was raised near Anaconda) . . . go try the Jerry Creek drainage in the Big Hole . . . there are always elk around there. Good luck!

November 15, 2008, 01:45 AM
Thanks for the advice. I looked up Jerry Creek today and will be out there next weekend. Hate to cut it so close to the end of season, but I'm unpacking and attempting to settle in this weekend.

November 15, 2008, 09:41 AM
Congrats on bagging a nice muley

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