Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Montana big game hunting season opener

I liked how my wife put it, "Opening week should be a holiday". I agree wholeheartedly. I opted to skip the weekend rush for hunting and went out today. I was like a kid before Christmas last night, going over my hunting plans as my head drifted off to sleep. I rolled out of the driveway at 615, a late start by most accounts. Down a gated road with my bike in the dark, then off through fluffy white snow for the morning. Didn't see any live critters, save a bald eagle that was spying on me. But I found a nice set of whitetail sheds, matching nonetheless.

Later in the day I met up with a buddy in a different spot and we checked out some new ground. Fat flakes fell sideways out for most of the late afternoon but failed to accumulate. We climbed a few ridges and saw lots of fresh sign. Finally close to the end of the hunt we found a cow elk just 50 yards away. Trying to grow horns on it, we ended up unsuccessful and were only able to take home the adrenaline and a good story. Twelve miles covered today, and big smiles.

Missoulian article on opening hunting weekend: Montanans seemed to ease into hunting season this year, taking advantage of a longer opening weekend to bag a lot more game.

Last year, game wardens at the Darby, Anaconda and Bonner check stations recorded 164 deer and elk at the end of the first weekend of big-game rifle season. The tally grew to 251 animals this opener. But hunters got to start on Saturday instead of Sunday, giving them two days to reach that total, and some had been in the field even longer.....

^^^ Make sure to read the comments, good wolf banter

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missoula brothers both shoot big bull elk in New Mexico

A friend from work recently returned from New Mexico with his 2 sons and two massive bull elk. Very impressive and exciting to say the least. And then top it off, he goes down a week later and bags one too? Come on. Check out the story and photos from the Missoulian

Torrin and Quinlin Roe both bagged big bull elk this fall. That we know for sure.

Other details are not quite pinned down. Torrin is 13. Quinlin is 12. Both boys are determined to tell the story with such competitive intensity, the conversation sounds like a Wild West shootout.

"It's was a lot like regular Montana forest but with more brush," Torrin said of the New Mexico mountains where they hunted with their father, Missoula firefighter Brad Roe. "It was either flat or really, really, really thick."

"And there's a lot more elk," Quinlin said.

"There was a lot of hiking," Torrin added. "About two miles a day."

"Sometimes one mile," Quinlin said. "But some days we went in five miles."

"And the elk were bugling and eating their way around all over," Torrin said. "Sometimes they'd be 15 or 20 feet away."

"The first elk we shot at was in the 340 class," Quinlin said. "We walked right on top of the herd."

Take out all the punctuation and most of the spaces between words, and you get the sense of excitement the Roe boys brought back from New Mexico. Mixed in all that jumble of detail is one more significant point - they both brought back big bragging rights over dad.

"Both boys have beaten my record," Brad said. "I told them these might be the biggest bulls you shoot in your whole life."

After hunting for 25 years, Brad Roe said he wanted to help his boys get a sense of hunting's bigger possibilities. He contacted his friend, Robert Hannaman, a tag consultant with Corvallis-based Magnum Hunt Club. The business helps hunters find tags and guides in 12 states around the nation.

They applied for the New Mexico hunt last April, braving roughly 1-in-700 odds of getting drawn. Both boys landed bull tags for the region's youth hunt, which takes place during the elk rutting season.

"I wanted the father-son thing, but not with 3 million other hunters," Brad said. "I don't know how many times I've been on elk and had someone else shoot them out from under me."


So the family arranged for a week out of school and drove south. They arrived two days before the youth season began, which they spent scouting the territory.

"They got to experience elk bugles all around them, cows calling," Brad said. "These things are yelling their heads off, fighting everywhere."

Rifle hunting during the rut can almost be too much of a good thing. The boys had at least one possible shot on each of the four days they hunted, and sometimes had to dodge as herds rushed to and fro.

In the end, each bagged a 6-by-6 bull. Torin's antlers tentatively measure 335 7/8s points on the Boone and Crockett trophy scale. Quinlin's could be 373 5/8s points. The racks have to cure some more before final measurements are taken. The world record for typical American elk is 442 5/8s points.

The experience exposed a few new facets of the boys' personalities, mother Adina Roe said. Torrin appears to focus on his time outdoors with his dad. Quinlin is the hunting enthusiast, getting into the details of stalking and equipment.

"And I think Brad learned both boys were willing to work hard and not complain," Adina said. "That really moved him."

She was also an advocate for Montana kids attending a hunter safety course, even if they don't want to hunt.

"I love the fact they learn how to handle weapons and be safe around them," she said. "When you live in Montana, that doesn't hurt. And it's a life skill to be able to navigate in the woods and survive in the outdoors. People pay a lot to get sent in the woods and learn those skills. It's physically active. I kind of feel they left as boys and came back semi-men."

As for dad? We'll have to wait for an update. He drew a New Mexico elk tag for this week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall weather and winter outlook - La Nina

JW tearing up on the Ravine Trail on a mild October day.

First off I'd like to say thank you to everyone that reads this blog, I always appreciate any comments or suggestions. Its not always apparent if you guys enjoy the content or not. So if you do, maybe make a crack or wiseass remark every once in a while eh? Thanks for looking!

What a fall we've been having in W. Montana, you couldn't ask for much better weather. The temps have been pretty mild and even on the warm side for most of September and October. This week saw nighttime temps dipping into the 20's but daytime temps still in the 60's. The leaves are beginning to peak in the valley and upper elevations, I think most leaves have dropped. Contrast that last year when had a the super cold snap the first week of October, with many trees leaves getting a "flash freeze" only to remain on the tree all winter. Our garden this year was decent, definitely not as many tomatoes as we've had like 2 summers ago. But the peppers (green, yellow and jalapeno's) did great. Garlic was weak but we had huge onions.

And now on to some hopefully good news, only time will tell but the 2010-2011 winter forecast sure seems to be shaping up for a deep winter in Montana.

AccuWeather.com - Meteo Madness | Henry's Winter Forecast for Dec. 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011

And from Lou Dawson's blog on La Nina

"The meteorologist magician who made our Denali trip a total success, Joel Gratz, comes up with interesting answers. In a Boulder Daily Camera newspaper article, he says during La Niña the PNW and perhaps northern U.S. interior areas such as Montana will get pounded. Indeed, he points out, during the 98/99 Niña season was when Mount Baker got the most snow ever recorded in a single season in the United States. I remember that winter, and the stories of how they had to dig out the chairlift towers before they could start the ski lifts."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Insanity - Wingsuit action

This dude (Jeb Corliss) is crazy, at about 1:40 he actually flies through/under a waterfall, then last minute and half is well...watch it

Monday, October 4, 2010

Camping along the Blackfoot River

I can't say how lucky I feel to have camped the last 2 weekends and wore shorts with flipflops the whole night. Both spots were along the Blackfoot River at fishing access points. How was the fishing? Huh, nothing doing but the chilling, views and beers were great. We're guessing this will be the last camp trip of the season. All in all I think we spent 6 nights camping with the girls this summer. Much improved over last summer with only one night. They are really getting into it and refuse to wear shoes, that's my girls.