December/January 2013 EHJ (Issue 134) - It had finally arrived. It was Wednesday, October 26th at 4:00 p.m., and I was headed to pick up my good friend and hunting partner, Jerrod Schmauch to head out mule deer hunting. Jerrod would be along for the ride with extra packing capability and extra eyes. I had drawn one of the most coveted deer tags in the state of Montana! You actually have better odds of drawing a bighorn sheep tag in some units than you have of drawing this mule deer tag. Last year 4,878 people put in for the 45 tags that are allowed, making your odds of drawing this tag less than one percent! But, you can’t draw it if you don’t put in!
After a few scouting trips and talking with many previous tag holders, I had decided to secure the services of an outfitter. Since the area we would be hunting is almost a three-hour drive from my home west of Missoula, we would need a place to stay. Why not stay with the guy who knows the area best? That man was Remi Warren. Remi owns and operates Montana Outwest Outfitters, located in the heart of this unit. My decision to use his services would prove to be my best with this tag in my pocket.
We arrived at Remi’s home just after dark and got settled in with all of our gear. There were some successful elk hunters there that were getting ready to leave the next day. They were all full of stories that we listened to while admiring some of their elk racks. To ensure that I take a good buck that I would like, Remi said that he would like us to look over several bucks over the next few days before I decided to pull the trigger.
The next morning came after a long sleepless night due to my anticipation for the hunt. We would be hunting the next four days to see what we could find. Jerrod is always one that likes to make a prediction of the hunt. Our first morning as we got up he made the statement, "8:45!”
"What do you mean by that?” I asked him?
He said that his prediction was that I would shoot one by 8:45 this morning! Wow, talk about pressure!
Well, 8:45 came and went that morning with no buck down. I think we looked over about 20 or 25 bucks that first day, but nothing really piqued our interest just yet. Remi had many vantage points that we would go to and glass, usually turning up deer at every point.
The second day, Friday the 27th, started out with the same "8:45 a.m.” statement by Jerrod, but again that time came and went with nothing. We headed into some different country this time and spent much of the morning behind the binos and spotting scope, revealing several more bucks but nothing worth pulling the trigger on. That afternoon we hiked up a ridge into an area Remi said should be good to glass towards the evening. It took us about an hour to get up in there, but it was a really nice area that had some timber on it with long finger ridges covered in sagebrush. We saw a couple of really nice bucks in there, along with what looked like a shooter that was probably two miles away and too far for a stalk that night. We ended up coming out of there in the dark that night with our headlamps. This would end up being our hot spot over the next couple of days and we would get very familiar with this spot before the hunt was over.
For a full account of Dave's adventure, go to page 14 in the December/January 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.