The first 3 days were spent in the hills east of Townsend Montana, just me and my spotting scope. Looking for Elk and trying to figure where they would be on opening morning. I am very blessed with a great place to hunt Elk and was able to veiw a few herds from a distance. Last thing I wanted to do was get them spooked before time to hunt. So I stayed back. I took most of these pics holding my little sony camera up to the spotter.
By the end of the third day I was giving names to a couple of the bigger bulls to help me tell them apart. Two had my attention, one I named apaloosa due to the spots on his rear quarters. He was a nice 6x6 with good mas and a wide wailtail at the back. The other bigboy I named whitefang, LOL, don't know why except he had a great 6x6 rack with awesome white tips. His G-4's or daggers were long and really stuck out.
The eve before opening morning I was out till dark to make sure of the gereral area the two bigger bulls were. Right before dark they were bugling and appaloosa and whitefang got into a good fight. They stirred up dust and pushed esch other around for about 10 minutes. In the end whitefang was the one to back off. I remember thinking he may be the older of the two just from the way he was acting. He was the ambitious one, always chasing cows and small bulls off. I seen him destroy a couple good sized evergreen trees, tearing good sized limbs right off. Maybe he was a bit frustrated with his new buddy appaloosa that seemed to be a bit stronger. Watching all this was an awesome sight and my love and respect for Elk grew even stronger.
The plan was set for opening morning and I headed up early. I was side hilling around a large area where I thought the herd would be and I heard some cows calling. The wind was right for me and I moved into position just over the hill from where I heard the cows. I had two other hunters in our group that were going to be a hill or two on the other side of the Elk. I knew they were wrong for the wind. I thought that should move the elk to me.
I was very careful and found a place with a good vantage point of where they may come out. As the sun was rising behind me I ran the numbers for Baro, temp and humidity in my pda program and brought up the drop chart. Then I did some ranging on bushes to get a feel for distances in case I needed to act quick.
I could hear the cows calling and even a bull bugle now and then. I wanted to move to the crest of the hill between me and the elk to look, but knew the other hunters were in that direction and I could not shoot that way. So, I sat and waited, looking would just increase the chances of spooking the heard in a direction other than toward me.
Then it happened.... I heard what sounded like a stampeed as the elk were coming my way. It had my attention, cuz if they came over the hill where I was sitting they would be right on top me... literally!
Then they started to appear on the hillside in front of me, they kept comming and coming like a blanket of Elk covering the entire side of the hill. They stopped to choose a direction. As they mulled around, cows calling for calves, I heard two bulls bugel. One toward the front of the group, one toward the back. I brought up my bino's.... it was both of them... White fang in the front and appaloosa in the rear. Both in the center of the herd with cows above and below them about 200 elk total!!!!!! I had them both in front of me... right then white fang turned sideways and gave two big bugles like he was pizzed off. I grabbed my swaro and ranged him....526 looked at the drop chart and dialed up 10.5 minutes. Wind was light and we were over the crest of the hill so not a concern at 526 yards. I put it on his front shoulder glanced at the scope level and let it fly. WACK!!!! No doubt the 300 SMK found home. The herd took off they didn't know where I was or where it came from but they knew it was time to leave. I didn't even chamber a second round, I knew the shot was good. BUT!! white fang, still in the cener of the herd was moving up hill with the group. He ran about 30 to 50 yards up then made a direct left turn down hill. The rest of the elk continued up hill. White fang never slowed down as he ran down hill, he just put his head down and rammed a big cedar bush crashed and flipped head over heals and rolled to a stop. I just froze and watched till all the elk were gone out of sight.
Here is a pic of the hillside where I shot him. Imagine a wide blanket herd of two hundred or more elk covering it...