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My First Montana Mulie

February 2020
Story by Jeff Seacrist
State: Montana
Species: Deer - Mule

My father, brother, and I headed to Montana in November for an elk/mule deer hunt with Montana High Country Tours. Having hunted with this outfitter a few times in the past, we knew what to expect. However, we did not anticipate the weather being 50 degrees in mid-November. Opening weekend, it was -17, but here we were in mid-November and it was 54 degrees when we arrived.
The elk hunting proved to be tough given the temperatures. The elk just weren’t on the move. We found a couple pockets of elk, but the bulls were few and far between and they just weren’t cooperating with coming out of the timber. 
After three tough days of chasing mountain ghosts, my guide, PJ, and I were working an area of public land we knew held a few good bulls. My father was with us, but he decided he would stay high on the ridge and find a tree to glass under. PJ and I set off at first light to start working some of the ridges in this area, confirming that no bulls were feeding. Not five minutes later, we found a nice, tall mulie buck. It was tempting, but we didn’t know if there was a bull just beyond the next ridge with it being so early in the morning. Although I was itching, PJ convinced me to wait it out in hopes of a bull and a promise we would come back and shoot that one after we got a bull. I agreed, and we continued working down and over a few more ridges. Later in the morning, out of ridges and now at the bottom of the drainage, I sat regretting not shooting the tall mulie.
Working our way back up the last ridge, a group of five does and fawns crested over the ridge no more than 50 yards in front of us. Watching them closely to see if the tall mulie was chasing them, my heart sank when he wasn’t with them. I watched them trot off and out of sight. 
A few minutes later, we had worked up to a flat spot on the ridge. I caught some movement on the side hill to my right. It was the does and fawns trotting around the side hill. All of a sudden, I saw a much larger deer with them. I quickly realized it was a buck. Waving PJ over, we confirmed it was a much nicer 5x5 than the tall mulie we had seen that morning. We set up on him at around 320 yards. A shot from with my custom model 1999 Montana Rifle in .300 Weatherby made short work of him. 
I had my first Montana mulie. My father watched the whole thing from 1,000 yards out. PJ and I were able to drag it up to a road and hiked out to get the truck. We picked up my father for some final pictures. What a memory!