By angelamontana

Posted: July 6, 2024

Fall is the legal time to begin hunting. Usually, September means the start of deer, elk, and other hunting. In Big Sky Country, bow hunting for elk is the most challenging hunt of all. Sure, there are those guys that get access to critters eating off a hay pile, but most hunters need to be on public land. Chances during the hunt will be few and you know what you will get if you fail to shoot or miss. 

Shooting an elk is not hard. It is all the other factors that happen to get you that shot that matter as well. An old Bull Elk or big buck did not get big by being stupid. Trophy elk and big bucks have survived a lifetime being pursued by unskilled and unprepared hunters. 

Back in the day before hunting seasons, you could hunt when you wanted to. Hunting was about eating. With more competition, the wild shelves could be bare. Successful hunters developed and maintained skills year around. 

When pioneers set up a village or fort, the native people would hunt out the area around the developed settlements. Hunting grounds 10-15 miles from the newcomers would be hunted out. Any pioneer hunters would come up short and have to move away. 

Today we need to polish our skills before hunting season, to be successful when we get that one best opportunity to fill just one tag. After hunting season ends, our perishable shooting and hunting skills decline. Aging does not help. 

If you want to tag out, get out now! This is when you begin practicing your archery skills. If we could hunt year around, our skills would grow and stay fine-tuned. With only a few months of hunting season, practice is required. 

Practice shooting from various positions, elevations, uphill, downhill, and at a variety of ranges. I use a fifty-yard bow range and place an arrow holder every ten yards. Start shooting at fifty yards then move to 40 and so on. Take one shot at each range moving closer to the target then back again. Pick a spot on the target away from other arrows. If you hit other arrows, they just get damaged and ruined. 

Wear the gear that you plan to hunt in. Use the same hat, glasses, jackets, vest, releases, etc. Discover an issues or problems before you get a shot at a critter. You may get just one opportunity to tag out and do not want any excuses. Make all your misses and mistakes before the season starts. 

It is not too early to begin scouting. Look for water holes, wallows, and other sign. Develop a plan and use your GPS to locate honey holes. 

Hunt hard, hunt harder!

Montana Grant

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