The Hunter's Rush

By Brent Cooper
Montana, DIY, Public Land

Brent Cooper - Hunter's RushFebruary/March 2013 EHJ (Issue 135) - The dull drone of an alarm clock is not usually met with feelings of excitement; but today was different. There is nothing that can subdue the excitement of what hunting in a previously unexplored part of the state brings to me. Not even a noisy, warbling, electronic-reminder of what is normally associated with a long workday. Today is different.

Any hunter will agree that new territory brings new enthusiasm to the sport, even on a day when I’m not expecting to do much hunting myself. Today I am the wingman, an extra set of eyes that will be assisting my brother and father with their pursuit of harvesting a bull elk in this unexplored area. I did, however, bring along my deer tag and my custom All Bull 7mm just in case we happened along the buck that I had been holding out for.

Once we arrived in our desired location, we spent the evening surveying and scouting the area before the sun faded over the mountains. We must have decided correctly because it didn’t take long for us to spot an abundance of wildlife, including a great number of deer. I could almost feel the deer tag heating up in my pocket, as I had a hunch I might find the monster of my dreams. We unpacked and settled in for the night.

We started the next morning with nature’s alarm clock and glued our eyes to binoculars as we patiently watched the sunrise. I could never take this scenery for granted. It wasn’t long before we spotted a large herd of elk, and within minutes our gear was packed and a game plan was prepared. Only a couple hours and a few miles my father and I were in a perfect position to scan for elk. With our binoculars out again, I couldn’t help but recognize what perfect mule-deer country we were in. I was barely into this thought when I thought I heard a deer blowing just above us. I spun around and was surprised to find a herd of elk standing less than 300 yards above us. I quickly relayed the information to my father, and within minutes his elk tag was filled.

With my father’s elk tag filled and my brother’s still in his pack, the thought of me finding a buck unexpectedly became more attainable. After four hours of packing out my father’s trophy, I was already thinking about getting back into the highcountry to find the mule deer that I hoped would be waiting for me. He didn’t know it yet, but I would be coming soon. Exhausted, we unpacked and settled in for night number two.

The next day began much the same as the last; packing, scanning, and lots more hiking. My brother and I started seeing sign that some bulls had recently vacated the area, so we took our time working our way into a basin stopping regularly to overlook the hillside. The crunchy snow was nothing but a disadvantage, so we decided a better game plan would be to pick a perch to sit quietly and let our binoculars do the heavy lifting. We scoped a perfect location and started walking.

Brent Cooper - Hunter's Rush

For a full account of Brent's adventure, go to page 22 in the February/March 2013 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.