When in Montana… Whitetail, Elk & Pronghorn Hunting

As the saying goes, “When in Rome …” Well, when in Montana you take the opportunity to hunt!  My experience with hunting has roots with my dad in upstate New York. Hunting and shooting were two of the things we did together as a father/daughter team when I was growing up. For the past decade my focus has been on competing which left little or no time to get out in the woods. With my last match the IDPA Nationals in September I got to take advantage of a full season of antelope, whitetail and elk hunting.

Having hunted only whitetail deer, I have really enjoyed learning about elk and pronghorn. In Montana, antelope season opens first.  Out on the plains we stalked a small group of five does and a buck to within 260 yards. I took the opportunity to fill my doe tag. Antelope is now one of my favorite types of game to eat and hunt!

Opening day of deer season I had a shot at my first big buck. He’s by far the largest whitetail I have seen in person both in size and his rack. I fired once, a hit from my .308 right behind the shoulder from about 230 yards. We found him just 20 yards from where he was shot. It was a pretty exciting afternoon for me to say the least!  A big thank you to my husband for setting me up with one of his rifles for the season, especially for this shot.

We took a couple of trips into the mountains in search of elk. I brought my camera with me in hopes to get some good photos. A highlight of one of our scouting trips was watching mountain goats pick their way along a rocky peak. As for the elk hunting, I have never seen a live elk up close and it’s definitely on my wish list! We viewed a herd over a mile away and despite lots of hiking over hill, dale and stream, we had no luck getting closer for a shot with either rifle or camera. Maybe next year!

You just don’t realize what you have missed out on until you get a chance to experience it again. After a successful competitive season, it’s been a complete joy to be able to close out the year spending time with my husband and just being outdoors together. We even brought our toddler out with us a few times.  Though we didn’t see much on those trips, nor did we expect to, it was so much fun.  The sights were spectacular and we have plenty of photos to capture our memories.

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