Each elk season is a rebirth for a bow hunter. The smell, sounds, and feelings of the forest are a great way to wake up in September. Elk hunters only have so many seasons in their lives. Many of my buddies are finished chasing elk through Montana’s mountains and valleys. Younger hunters prefer firepower to string and stick hunting. Many of them wait for rifle season.
There was smoke in the Madison Valley but not up high. I was hunting alone so I had to avoid the deep cuts, valleys, and thick forest. The weather and temps were perfect. Hunting over a 12-mile walk yielded no rubs, beds, smells, or fresh sign. The area, in the Gravelly Mountains I hunted, usually has elk.
My guess is that the elk are still in larger herds and near water and thick cover where I did not go. Wolves and bears have forced elk to stay in large herds longer for protection. The rut in this area is usually around the 14th-20th. Somewhere in there, there will four days of wild abandon.
On the way to hunt, I saw no camps, hunters, or tracks in the road. The only hunter I saw was on a 4-wheeler. John is 84 years old and still on the hunt. His bow was at the ready and he was prepared to deal with a huge bull. We all hope to hunt effectively for decades to come. I told John, that he is my new hunting mentor.
“Finding a good hunting buddy is harder than finding a good woman!” John and I both complained about how our old buddies are dead, sick, lazy, or just gone. He is celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary and me my 40th. Our wives both now think camping is seeing a tree out the window of a Holiday Inn. Perhaps we will hook up and hunt together.
Hunt hard and Hunt Harder!
For more Montana Grant hunt him up at www.montanagrantfishing.com.