As a young boy I couldn't wait to go elk hunting with my father, he had a couple buddies who would go every year and I was on edge waiting in suspense for my opportunity to experience elk camp for myself. Well, it was everything I had wanted and more. Trips with the boys, nothing to worry about other than hunting.
As public land hunting goes, it was difficult to harvest the animal which in time I learned a kill didn't measure the success of the hunt one bit. Skipping forward 6 years I was finally able to watch my father harvest a mature eastern Montana 6 point bull on public land, and just as I was years before; excited to have the same tag and my shot in the same unit.
After applying for this particular rifle tag I 11 years, I finally drew in 2015. Preparation began early of course, trying to balance guiding in Western Montana for elk hunting then coming home to hunt wasn't exactly easy, but it was possible.
After several month of scouting and guiding through out, thousands of miles later I finally had the opening weekend off of rifle season to attempt harvesting my bull in my home stomping grounds.
October 24th rolled around and the bugle was still on. First morning opened up with bulls singing in several draws as they graze. The choice was clear, set foot and make sure we got in on each bull before making the decision on which to take. As we passed several smaller satellite bulls we finally located the herd bull with 20 cows right at dark. Instead of moving on him we set them to bed and withdrew with hopes high the plan was established.
Return in the dark the following morning get set up and work some cow calling, see what happens. Often times a plan becomes busted and can turn to mayhem, but in this case it did quite the opposite.
As the Montana sun broke through the dim clouds and crest the breaks seeping through the valley, the cows appeared as if they were ghosts of the timber with the king making his presence known as he rattled the trees with bugles and sent chills up our spines. Just like a string they came in one by one for an 80 yard shot. He was a mature public land bull and the first opportunity I have had to take a bull in front of my father so I didn't hesitate as I squeezed off and put the bull down. Also, involved was my best friend Landon who I was able to teach how to quarter an animal on this hunt. It was my most memorable hunt for 2 reasons.
My father and brother were there to watch me take an animal we all love, and the good Lord granted me the chance to take a clean ethical shot. - Conner Brown