Stephanie Michels, wife of Tayler Michels who is a Guide at Burke Ranch Outfitters in Glasgow, MT and the elk archery hunting guide for the Captain, was preparing for the last weekend of North Dakotas gun season where she had a whitetail buck tag burning a hole in her pocket. Husband Tayler was working the last few days of Montana’s gun season pursuing deer for his last clients of the year, so this would be a solo mission for Stephanie. Her tag was designated for a specific unit in western ND bordering Montana’s eastern boundary.
Stephanie was set to hunt public land on the banks of the Little Missouri River. The rugged 3 mile hike into her favorite spot is long and full of obstacles but her unrelenting motivation was fueled by the desire to harvest her first deer with a rifle. Stephanie has plenty of experience in the outdoors camping and hiking with her dogs and Guide husband Tayler but successfully harvesting a deer with a rifle is something she has never done before.
Completingher hike just as the morning glow of the sun kissed the sky, Stephanie could see deer moving on the river bottom right away. Bucks chasing does in all directions reassured
Stephanie’s busy mind that she was in the right spot. After repositioning herself along a ridge multiple times working hard to get a clear shot at one of these chasing bucks she settled up on a bluff looking down on the river bottom where she spotted a couple does bedded 100 yds away, it seemed with all the activity going on sooner or later a shooter buck would come pay these bedded does a visit. Her instincts were confirmed, after 2 hours of watching bucks in the distance she lifted her head to check on the bedded does below her and sure enough a stud of a buck had slipped in undetected.
He was standing broadside at 110 yds with the naked eye was easy to designate a shooter. Already in a solid shooting position it didn’t take long for Stephanie to find the buck in her scope. Emotions starting to take over, she squeezed the trigger when the crosshairs stopped on his shoulder and down he went.
Oneshot was all she needed to punch her first ever rifle tag. In fact the last time Stephanie shot a high caliber rifle was back in the late 90’s for gun safety training!!
Having learned a few tricks from husband Tayler she carefully carved all the meat off and bagged it up. Loaded it on her backpack and slowly, carefully retraced her steps back to the vehicle making it there just before nightfall.
It is rare for someone who has never shot a deer with a rifle to go after such a rugged experience such as this. 3 miles in packing out 70lbs of meat and head.