I am fortunate to live and hunt in a state that allows me to hunt the rifle and archery seasons. I can hunt bucks and bulls for the better part of three months! It is a blessing that helps me fill my freezer each year.
My greatest hunting love is pursuing screaming bulls in September with archery tackle. There is nothing like it. Fall is in full splendor. Elk seem to be spread evenly across the terrain and are not overly difficult to find with a little sweat and boot leather. The weather is warm, allowing for enjoyable backpack hunt adventures. Elk are vocal and fun to be around—the pursuit of a close encounter continually entices me.
When rifle season arrives, the elk are harder to find. They are heavily pressured and more luck is necessary to fill your tag in public areas. The advantage of the rifle makes it easier to kill but harder to find elk. So, as the snow and temperatures begin falling and more hunters go to the field, my focus shifts to mule deer. The first legal elk that walks by fills my tag.
Now, I can enjoy my second hunting love: the November rut. Mule deer become less nocturnal and are susceptible to being called in. Eastern Montana lures me with the promise of deer action and the potential for a quality buck. With each group of does glassed, my heart leaps with the anticipation and hope for a buck courting nearby.
I am thankful to live where I do. Being here gives me the full potential to pursue adventure and even have the hope of filling my hunting bucket list. Every hunter goes to the field intending to fill his freezer and feed his family. That is the first priority. Every hunter also goes to the field with hope, anticipation, and imagination of finding the animal that legends are made of. To achieve the legend, adventure must be lived. And the adventure is what keeps me coming back.
- Jess Patrick