Knee-Deep in Snow Not Bucks

By Aeric Reilly
Montana, 2011, DIY, Public Land

Aeric Reilly - Knee-Deep in Snow Not BucksOctober/November 2012 EHJ (Issue 133) - This hunt all started with a plan…well sort of a plan. A few dozen phone calls were made on where we were going to hunt for mule deer, and our plan changed at least seven times. A week later we came to the eventual conclusion on the Rocky Mountain front. I had only been in the area one other time for a sheep hunt that my good friend Guy had drawn a tag. He spent two weeks and many miles on horseback to make sure he found the right ram. He eventually shot a nice 186- inch ram.

We had originally planned on going north to hunt along the Canadian boarder, but the tough winter last year had us second-guessing on what we would find for deer. There were also reports of blue tongue across the state affecting white tail numbers as well. So we made our plan and met up for a cold and snowy adventure. We were unable to get the horse trailer up to camp due to two feet of snow and a 25-foot camper trailer and pickup stuck in the middle of the road.

We were able to help the hunters get the trailer unhooked and turned around the trailer with a tow strap and some prayers. After helping those guys get unstuck we decided to leave the horse trailer and ride the horses to camp. We left Andy to ride the horses up to camp and Dave broke trail with his pickup chained up.

We set up camp in the deep snow after shoveling off a 14x14 spot for the tent and feeding the horses. It snowed off and on for most of the day and then cleared up at night. When we woke up in the morning it was snowing and didn’t look good. We saddled up and went for a ride in the snow that was above the horses knees. Unfortunately we didn’t see much that morning and the snow kept coming down and visibility was low.

The decision to pull out of camp was easy because we were already pushing snow with the bumper that night and it was snowing hard again. We were going back to another area that I had harvested a whitetail buck in 2007. We were riding state land and we were about four miles in when we found some mule deer. It was right before dark and we had a little time to decide if we thought that there was a shooter in the bunch. We tied up the horses in a draw out of sight and crept around the bottom of the hill to get a closer look at the deer. We saw lots of does and smaller bucks, but nothing that interested us that night. At about dark thirty we saddled back up and rode out. Good thing the horses know where the horse trailer is no matter where they go!

Aeric Reilly - Knee-Deep in Snow Not Bucks

For a full account of Aeric's adventure, go to page 46 in the October/November 2012 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.