Every year we begin to get a bit itchy before our general archery season starts here in Montana, one of our favorite ways to make it to September is doing some archery antelope hunting. Conner And I cover central to Eastern Montana chasing every big game animal, but we spent the majority of our time chasing the elusive speedy goat in eastern part of the state, Stick and String style to kick off our season.
We were unable to hit opening weekend as we planned do to some moving complications, but we were right back on track August 17th I traveled to Miles City to meet conner hoping to fill my 900 antelope tag a second year. Immediately we were having a hard time, we were finding shooter bucks but they would not cooperate. Something always seemed to go wrong, between the heat, rattle snakes and spooky antelope our first go was not successful.
After September 3rd Conner was also able to archery antelope hunt with the rifle permit he drew. After hard hot days of chasing antelope and other critters with the bow, I got a call from Conner on the 8th of September. He Had got it done on a solo hunt on a great buck with about 25 does with him, He had snuck into 60 yards and let the arrow fly. The buck expired within 60 yards, after some photos the real work began to get him back to the truck. That was the break we had needed, spirits were high and Conner had some meat in the freezer.
I then returned a few more times with high hopes to fill my tag, we were even stretching it out into September still no luck. By then I had missed a couple long shots, and screwed up a few more stalks. Conner and I put in for a rifle antelope tag in Wyoming to try something new, and to be able to have an extra tag in our pockets. We headed out at 11pm to catch the rifle opener in Wyoming, arriving around 2 AM we got our gear laid out and we were ready to go. Another sleepless night under the stars telling our favorite hunting stories waiting for the sun to come up.
Wyoming produced some absolute giant antelope, all seemed to be sticking to private land that we were unable to hunt. We finally located a group of antelope and a shooter buck on a state section, but we were beat there by another pair of hunters we did not see (they were not wearing orange). Our season wasn't looking too good. I had to head back to go to class by Monday morning back in Bozeman but conner headed back the next day to give it one more try. We had received a message on our Instagram page we didn't see regarding a photo we posted when we were there, The guys from South Paw out doors were wanting to give us a hand in filling our tags.
I was already back at home but conner was on his way back to meet up with Cole Simonson and Cole Vandervoort. They were able to get Conner on a family ranch and right away they had an awesome 70 inch goat in a good location and moved in for the stalk. Conner waited for the buck to stand up until he placed the perfect fatal shot, it was time to notch his first Wyoming antelope tag. Our first official film should be out within the next few weeks with this hunt being apart of it! Our luck had began to change.
A week after conner had returned from Wyoming, our good buddy Jesse Gullion had a rifle permit for antelope in eastern Montana. Luckily for Jesse Conner is an antelope nut and knows eastern Montana antelope better than anyone I have ever met. After three tough days of hunting tracking down bucks that conner had on his hit list already the saw the buck that Jesse would end up taking. After putting a stalk on the buck and one miss due to an issue with the scope, Jesse settled his crosshairs after an adjustment and made a perfect shot on a buck of a lifetime. They knew he was an awesome goat, but when they goat up to him it was the exact opposite of ground shrinkage. He was an absolute stud, Jesses reaction was priceless. After all the hard work it all paid off, with some great memories, photos, and film to show for it.
The 2016 hunting season without a doubt was rough, from the get go to the end. It seemed like the universe was working against us but we pressed on. Conner went on to shoot a Mule deer buck of a life time- 190 inch gross score, We put Stevi on a mature mule deer in Central Montana, as well as myself. It ended up being a productive year we have learned from to say the least, but this year everything costed us miles and miles of hiking, driving, and some of the hardest work we have ever put in. I never got to fill either one of my antelope tags, but the memories made were some of the best hunting experiences I've ever had. But thats why we do it, thats what Truly Montana Outdoors is about- the truth. Real hunting, ethics, and memories made in the great outdoors.