Montana Youth Elk – Nate’s First Elk
By Kamp Cook
A listener of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, recently reached out ot us with a great story of a Montana elk hunt:
My name is Nathan I am 16 years old, and this is my first elk. My mom had been talking about wanting to go hunting with us for the first time in 7 years. To our surprise one evening she agreed to go with us the next morning. This would be an easy hunt we would drop my two brothers at a harder walking area and my mother dad and i would head to an area with a little less elevation to climb. We arrived at our area only to find several hunters had beat us to the spot. With few options left we decided to head out for a short walk….. almost immediately we began to see elk sign and had spotted where someone had taken an elk the day before. The winter migration was taking place and from good glassing points we saw several good-sized herd of elk on private land. Our Spirits were good and we continued to walk a little farther when we ran into some Hunters, they were watching a group of elk about a mile away deciding whether they were going to travel through public land or not. Now we were a little over a mile from the truck so we asked my mom if she wanted to go any farther? She said that she would like to do so we made our way about another mile and we spotted a herd of elk, dad and I crawled on our stomach up to a good vantage point and I aimed my 243 at a cow that was lying down. As I lay there in the snow I began to get cold, I was shaking some but I calmed my nerves and pulled the trigger. Elk exploded from the woods and my dad and I walked up only to see that I had made a clean miss, dad and I split up looking for sign and a cow jumped up about 50 yards in front of me, she ran into the trees and her and I played Cat and Mouse for several minutes, she won. I was a really frustrated when my dad said that I needed more gun to make that shot and he handed me his 7 mag, I had shot his gun before but only from a bench rest.
We walked about another half a mile and my mom decided that she wanted to get some rest and we put her next to a log out of the wind. As we continued out the last ridge we saw the hunters from earlier, they said they were going to make their way down into the drainage so we decided to stay on top of the ridge and possibly push something towards one another.
As Dad and I made our way to the end of the ridge I was slightly in front of him when he said ‘Elk’, I looked down to my right and running straight at me was a cow elk. Now I was excited, I put my dads 7 mag up to my eye and I couldn’t see real well so I pulled the scope a little closer and pulled the trigger. All I could see was elk through my scope but after I pulled the trigger all I saw was stars, I scoped myself, with blood dripping down my eye I took another close shot and she fell to the ground, my first elk was down. Dad began to bone out the elk and I went back to get Mom, the wind was blowing so hard she did not hear my shots, but she was excited when I told her I got an elk. She watched dad and I for the next 2 hours as we boned out and cooled the elk. She asked Dad do you enjoy this?
We started a fire ate some food packed the elk and made the two-mile trip back to the truck.
When we arrived at the truck mom let us know it will probably be another 7 years before she goes hunting with us.