Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mountain Time

Several years ago, a bunch of nationally known archers predicted the next world record whitetail would be harvested somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. This never materialized and odds are it won’t. While it is possible for a record deer to come from just about anywhere, one look at the record books will show your odds are about 20 times greater in the Midwest and the grain belt of southern Canada than anywhere else.

However, there are some outstanding opportunities to hunt oversized deer in the Northern Rockies. The whitetails inhabiting the foothills of the Rocky Mountains are large deer, often achieving live weights between 200 and 250 pounds. Most hunters who traveled west are after elk, mule deer, and bear. They generally overlook the whitetail. This limited hunting pressure is exactly what the whitetail needs to grow big. Also, the country is steep and rugged, which discourages many hunters and offers superior seclusion for the deer.

Out west deer numbers dwindled dramatically the further one gets from crop fields. Though the numbers of deer in the mountains is limited, the percentage of big bucks within the herd is extremely high. The odds of encountering a trophy buck in the Rocky Mountains is as good as any public land hunting on the continent.

Low deer density and the vastness of the area generally prohibit effective stand hunting. The name of the game out west is tracking and still hunting.

Still hunting is one of the purist forms of hunting. Very few people will ever master still hunting. Most people think still hunting is simply taking a walk in the woods and hoping to run into something big and brown. This rarely happens. The best way to think about still hunting is to picture a moving stand. The idea is to move slow and deliberately enough to see the deer before he sees you. This requires extreme self-control and discipline. Generally, after a couple of hours of still hunting I’m left physically and mentally exhausted.

The vast majority of people who attempt to hunt whitetails in the Rocky Mountains will give up, go home, and never return. Those with the mental discipline and physical strength required will find it high adventure.

Good luck And Good Hunting,

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