USA: Rifle Elk Hunt With Rising Son Outfitters In Montana October 2020

Ragman

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Beautiful bulls....I’d be ecstatic with either of them!
 

Shootist43

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Dave, I just finished reading your report. You guys had a hell of a hunt. Thanks for "dragging" us along. That is the sort of retirement gift we'd all like to give ourselves. Did you load the ammo used in both rifles?
 

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Great hunt! I think we drove through that valley last summer when we went through Yellowstone then up to Livingston. Beautiful area!
Congratulations to everyone!
 

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Beautiful area and some nice bulls. Sounds like a great hunt. You timed it right. Warming up and melting the snow. Good shooting. Congrats
Bruce
 

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I had a look back in the 2017 book and it looks like the knife you had, gave to the guide then replaced with another for yourself is the Safari knife with a scandi grind so that explains the "stout" remark . Great hunt report with 2 very nice animals taken.
 

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Dave, I just finished reading your report. You guys had a hell of a hunt. Thanks for "dragging" us along. That is the sort of retirement gift we'd all like to give ourselves. Did you load the ammo used in both rifles?

Art, it isn't over yet, we still have a couple of deer tags to fill. I loaded my 338 WM with 225 gr Swift A-Frames over 68.0 grs of H-4350 and Federal 215 primer. The 300 WM ammo was 180 gr Swift A-Frames from Hendershots.


Beautiful area and some nice bulls. Sounds like a great hunt. You timed it right. Warming up and melting the snow. Good shooting. Congrats
Bruce

Bruce, you are absolutely correct on the weather. It couldn't have turned out any better. It was 60F the last 3 days of the hunt. We were still seeing elk, but they moved back into the high timber. This week's hunters (week 2) will have a tougher hunt, but another cold wave and snow should treat the week 3 hunters to similar conditions as we had.
 

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Dave, how about doing a follow-up on this hunt explaining in detail how you prepared for it? There is a significant difference in latitude, altitude and unexpected weather conditions from where you live to where you hunted. I think a lot of others would benefit from knowing what you did, and what you packed. Besides that, this not being your first rodeo gave you some valuable incite that needs to be shared with those contemplating an Elk hunt.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I had a look back in the 2017 book and it looks like the knife you had, gave to the guide then replaced with another for yourself is the Safari knife with a scandi grind so that explains the "stout" remark . Great hunt report with 2 very nice animals taken.

Garry, yes you are correct. Your safari knife with the scandi grind has become quite popular in Montana.
 

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Dave, how about doing a follow-up on this hunt explaining in detail how you prepared for it? There is a significant difference in latitude, altitude and unexpected weather conditions from where you live to where you hunted. I think a lot of others would benefit from knowing what you did, and what you packed. Besides that, this not being your first rodeo gave you some valuable incite that needs to be shared with those contemplating an Elk hunt.

We had 2+ years to plan and prepare for this hunt. Since this was Iggy's first big time hunt out west, we started slowly getting him geared up and ready for the hunt. Iggy had a pair of uninsulated Cabela Meindl boots that are perfect for Montana hunting, if temps are above freezing. For colder weather, I suggested a 400 gram insulated boot from Danner or Kenetrek. Iggy opted for the Danner (https://www.danner.com/men/hunt/santiam-8-brown-400g.html ) and was quite happy with them. Getting these boots two years ahead of time allowed for some break in period. The airbob sole is really good as it sort of self cleans in the snow and is quiet when walking on rocks.

Several weeks ahead of the hunt, I was watching the weather forecasts. As it got closer to the hunt dates, the forecasted low temps went from 20F to -18F. I actually texted Zane and asked him if I should bring my Kenetrek snowpacs. I am not crazy about hiking in the snowpacs, but they will keep the feet warm with the thick felt liners. Zane advised to not bring them, as the feet will sweat in them from hiking and then get cold. A week before a hunt in extreme cold, I start rubbing stick antiperspirant on my feet, so they won't sweat. That's an old Indian trick, I think.

Coming from sea level where I live to the higher altitudes is a challenge. I do some running and do a bunch of squats with a weight bar. I also have a 50 pound weight vest that I wear on the StairMaster at the gym. COVID complicated this part of my preparation, but I was in decent shape and ended up having an easy hunt. But you do want to get in shape. Most of the hunting is done above 5500 ft and can go to 9,000+.

On many of my Montana elk hunts, when it's above freezing, we usually don't wear long underwear. It can be a little chilly in the morning, but when you start hiking you warm up fast. You are usually peeling off layers of clothing when hiking and when you stop to glass, you add them back on. I will carry my zip up rain pants in my backpack and can put them on as an extra layer if it's windy and I start to get cold.

A good, small backpack with a padded waist belt is essential. The waist belt helps to minimize the movement while riding a horse. A Badlands Superday pack (https://www.badlandsgear.com/products/superday ) is about the right size. I have a Badlands 2200, which is just a little larger bag.

We had to bring a sleeping bag, but since we were hunting from the cabin, I brought my light bag, which is a Mountain Hardware synthetic bag. Synthetics will dry out quicker if they get wet. Temp ratings on sleeping bags are notoriously misleading and a lot of research is required. I have two other sleeping bags that are goose down bags and I have never been cold in them, even in sub zero conditions. They are actually too warm and I usually burn up in them and have to unzip them.

Since we knew we'd be hunting in some sub zero temps, I brought several layers of everything. I wore some thin, tall compression socks that seem to help with lower leg circulation. Pulled on some mid-weight Cabela's synthetic long johns and then pulled on a mid-weight set of merino wool socks. For the really cold weather, I break out the Filson Mackinaw Wool pants. You'll notice that all the elk guides are big believers in wool. After lacing up my Cabela's/Danner boots, the Kuiu gaiters go on.

Up top, I had a synthetic T-shirt, a Cabela's mid-weight long underwear shirt, a Pendleton wool shirt and a Filson wool vest. Over all this, I have a lightweight Sitka jacket. I have a t-shirt material orange vest I put on over the Sitka jacket. That way when I take the big outter jacket off, I am good and legal. The final outer layer was a Cabela's jacket that I rarely use because it's too warm and too bulky and another orange vest. But I brought it for this trip and actually had to wear it on the plane because I couldn't fit it into my bag and keep under the 50 pound limit. One thing I learned about this jacket (I've had if for 20 years, but rarely wear it) is that material is soft and quiet when it's not too cold, but at -10F it sounded like I was wrapped in a blue plastic tarp. The material got quite stiff and quite noisy. I'll be looking for something else when I go to BC next year.

For the snowy days, I wear the ball cap so the bill of the hat gives some protection and then pull a Carhartt knit cap over it. It's a look I perfected! I also pulled the hood of the jacket up. The Cabela's jacket tailors the side of the hood back so it doesn't obstruct your peripheral vision.

For gloves, I've used various insulated gloves over the years and my fingers always get cold. I bought some insulated mittens about 10 years ago that are XL and can fit over my gloves. They are a game changer for keeping hands warm. On this hunt, we also used the chemical hand warmers on the super cold days.
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I think the last photo was day 4 or 5. It had warmed up to a balmy 20F and I traded in the Filson wool pants for the Kuiu attack pants. At this point, we were cruising in a warm truck, looking for deer.
 

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375 Ruger Fan

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The last few days of the hunt involved glassing for a decent muley or whitetail buck for Iggy. I told Zane I was willing to use my deer tag for a cull buck, if that would help them out. The area is basically overrun in deer.

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Iggy and Zane's younger brother, Zander, caping out the buck.


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My cull buck. It got up to 61F this day, 71 degrees warmer than our first two mornings.



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We weighed these deer and they were right around 200 pounds each.



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Our guide, Zane Petrich, relaxing in the cozy warm main cabin.

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This is an aerial view of the Paradise Valley as we were flying home on the American flight. View is looking south and we were basically flying over I-90 and Livingston. That's the Yellowstone River, which flows north and turns east at Livingston.
 

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Dave, thanks for the detailed info. I'm positive it will give others many things to think about as well as a good start on knowing what works and what doesn't.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Okay, I created a personal Youtube channel and uploaded a few short videos. Home movies have come a long way in my lifetime!

Here goes:

 

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Dave, you certainly know how to make a guy jealous.

Art, I've had some really good elk hunts over the years, but this hunt was really special. With the super cold weather and snow on opening weekend, great location, great outfitter and guide, it just all came together. The Lord blessed us with a great hunt!

I am already talking with Rising Son Outfitters about my next trip. They are already booked up for 2021 and 2022, so I am thinking a 2023 archery hunt is what I am going for. It should be warmer in early September and with the bulls in the rut, it's a magical time to get a close in shot. I took my big 6x7 at 28 yards and it was my memorable hunting experience by far.
 

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I've been meaning to finish off this report with some closing comments. When I started this report, I thought about giving it a title like the mainstream media would do. The working title was: "Elk Hunting Causes Pregnancy!" Let me explain. If you read my 2017 Montana elk hunt report, I took son-in-law #1 on that hunt. Like all hunts, they are booked well in advance. In March or April of 2017, I get a call from my daughter saying she is pregnant and the due date is early November. Long story short, our first grandchild was born on a Monday and Jordan and I left to go hunting six days later. BTW, the first grandchild was a boy and they named him Hunter, which was my dad's name. Jordan got his elk on the last afternoon of the last day of our hunt.

In 2020, it's deja vu all over again with son-in-law #2, Iggy, and my daughter, Emily. March or April 2020, I get a call, "Guess what, we're pregnant." Due date is mid November, a good two weeks after the hunt so we have a little more time. Iggy and I go on the hunt the last week of October and tagged out on elk on day one and two. My wife went to stay with Emily while we were hunting. We received a call that things were moving a little faster and due date got moved up a week. I looked for the possibility of flying home a few days early and no flights were available. We fly home Friday and the baby was born on Monday. Grandchild #2 was also a boy and they named him Lukas.

I have been blessed to have two great elk hunts with my two sons-in-laws. I have a couple other daughters that aren't married yet, so there might be a bit of a lull for me with these types of hunts. That will give me a few years to replenished the hunting account. I have been blessed with two beautiful and healthy grandsons and hope I can still handle elk hunting for another 15 years or so. I'd really like to be able to take them to Montana for their first elk hunt.

Lastly, I want to thank Rising Son Outfitters for another wonderful week in Montana. I really look forward to traveling to Big Sky country and get to play cowboy for a week. Over the years, I have become very good friends with the Petrich family and really admire how they have raised their sons and grown their business. It's very apparent that they run their ranching operation for both cattle and elk. They are excellent stewards of the land. If you are interested in a great elk hunting opportunity, give Randy and Dena Petrich a call. But as I mentioned, they are booked up a couple years in advance.

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Congrats! Great report and thanks for sharing with us.
 

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