400 Inches of Heart-Pounding Adrenaline

By Travis Mann
Montana, 2010, DIY, Public Land
400 Inches of Heart-Pounding AdrenalineJune/July 2011 EHJ (Issue 125) - I’m what you might consider a lucky man. I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country with wildlife right out my door. I have a wife who is my hunting partner and loves the outdoors and a challenge as much as I do. Growing up in Utah, hunting was a lot more difficult, with all the restrictions we are given there, and it has honestly made me appreciate the opportunities I have been given since we moved to Montana six years ago.

My wife introduced me to this area and way of life, after meeting her in 2005. I admire so many things about my wife - not many men can say their wife has no problem getting up and going out hunting on her own, or can call in a nice bull on her own. So yes, I feel like I’m living the dream.

All the hours of research and being in the mountains with my family over the years has helped me learn how to become productive in this area. This fall, we had several encounters and opportunities for harvesting nice bulls, giving us high hopes for what may lie ahead – and the elk seemed to be more active than years past.

One September night, as my wife and I sat on a ridge overlooking the area, we heard a distant bugle. My wife cow-called and just below us a bull returned her call.Hearing just how close this elk was, our hearts began to pound and we quickly moved toward the bugle. Splitting up and getting in position, we called for over 15 minutes, getting him close enough to see he was a nice mature bull. We just couldn’t put it together to get a shot with our bows.

I have been fortunate to share these memories and hunting lessons with my wife, father-in-law, and a few close friends. My father-in-law has really been the one who has taught me everything I know about elk hunting and this area.

The archery season came to an end, so we geared up for the rifle hunt and our excitement was growing knowing we had a good chance this year. My wife and I had matters that required us to be out of town during opening weekend, but luckily for us, the weather was terrible, making those days miserable hunting. Driving home through the storm on Sunday night, we checked the weather and had a break coming our way. This was great news! The elk would be on the move, so my father-in-law and I made a game plan for our morning hunt.

I hardly slept a wink that night and before I knew it the alarm rang at 5 a.m. I jumped up, put on all my gear and was off for my hunt. As we saddled our horses and loaded them up in the trailer, we spoke back and forth asking each other’s opinion of what would happen that day.

Before I knew it, we were at our hunting spot and on the backs of our horses. I remember it still being somewhat dark as we road in, looking up at the big Montana sky, and watching my breath I thought just how much I love the hunt and love the area we were in. 

Travis Mann

For a full account of Travis' adventure, go to page 22 in the June/July 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.