In Montana, Up in a Mountain, East, West North or South: Captain’s Column (11.6.14)
By angelamontana

Posted: November 6, 2014

The Captain during an archery season elk hunt

My job description with the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, the Friday morning radio show on KGVO 1290AM/101.5FM in Missoula, and this column is to gather fishing and hunting information and pass it on to listeners and readers. Many folks in Montana fish and hunt. But, the way they pass on information from their fishing and hunting trips differs.

Most anglers will give you the body of water that they have caught their fish in and what they were using albeit in general terms. Elk hunters, on the other hand, are quite a bit more general in the information they give you. Most of the time, when I ask where they got their elk, I get responses like, “in Montana, up in a mountain, east, west, north, or south”.  As a fellow elk hunter, I understand this way of thinking. Fewer hunters, better the elk hunting. I have been on many elk hunting trips where I have not seen an elk for consecutive days of hunting. So, for me to actually see an elk is a thrill.

Last week, I hunted with two different hunting parties, and, on both of those trips, we got an elk. Did you notice I said we got an elk, we did, but I never fired a shot. If I were fishing and didn’t catch a fish but my partner did I wouldn’t say we caught some fish. I’d say “he or she caught ‘em all and I got skunked”. Elk hunting is different. All the hunters celebrate the success of harvesting an elk. In fact, many times, the successful hunter will offer some of the elk meat as a token of their appreciation for helping field dress the elk and packing it out. Elk hunting is a challenge, and when you or someone you are with actually gets a shot and then downs the animal, it is reason to high five each other and celebrate the moment.

Last week, the first elk hunting trip I was with my buddy Jim Swanson from Polson. It was my turn to walk a small patch of timber. Swanson anxiously watched to see if an elk ran out the opposite end of the timber that I walked in. I picked up elk tracks in the fresh snow about 15 minutes after I began walking. I followed the tracks for another 15 minutes, and then I heard a shot. I never saw the elk while I was walking, but Swanson was in a perfect position and shot the 5 point bull elk at 100 yards that I was following.

Two days later, Jaye Johnson, from Charlo, Dan Harper and Dean Hoistad from Missoula went hunting with my girlfriend Berny and me. We walked a couple of miles to get to our hunting area. Once we arrived, we spotted a herd of elk sitting high in a saddle on top of a ridge. We devised a plan to approach the elk from four different directions. It worked, as Hoistad, who had a cow tag for the area, shot a nice size cow elk.

Two hunting trips two elk. Oh and by the way, if you happen see any of my hunting partners in the next few days and ask them where we hunted I think they might tell you “in Montana, up in a mountain, east , west, north or south or somewhere in between”!