We had three generations on our trip to Montana last November. It was my first time that far west and was a long drive from Georgia. We drove for 12 hours each day and it took us four days to arrive in the extreme northwest part of Montana. We spent a day in Yellowstone National Park and then drove the final 12 hours a day to get there. We also stopped at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s headquarters in Missoula on the way there – it was really nice and a nice break.
We started hunting throughout the week and saw deer every single day. It was pretty warm for November in Montana. It had snowed the week before, but rained most of the time we were there.
My dad got his deer on Tuesday, but I was holding out. By Friday, we were elk hunting and went to a place we’d been before. We moved into the woods. We hiked in about two miles, set up and waited. Then we went another mile and set up again while our guide pushed the deer to us. We sat there for about 15 minutes. A doe came in front of us, but 5 or 10 minutes later the big buck came through. He was standing between the trees, so I had to be patient. I shot him right in the back and he dropped. He just sat down. I was so happy to get my first buck! I couldn’t stop smiling.
Our tradition is more about us going a trip together than hunting. We try to choose a different area and different state every year. We’ve hunted Colorado and Idaho, but this was our first time in Montana. I’ve been hunting since I was 12 and finally got my first deer. It was a great time.
I loved seeing all the elk. I was surprised when we saw them in the field in Montana because we’d done everything just to see them. But then, for a minute you don’t really want to take one once you’re finally in the moment. It’s a strange feeling but it’s just about respect and appreciation.
Since I missed two weeks of school, I had to make it an educational trip as well. Seeing all that wildlife in a new area was definitely educational. We stopped at Mount Rushmore too and I learned a lot. I’m so grateful I got to hunt in Montana.Matthew Bailey