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SEPTEMBER WHITETAILS S TA F F A R T I C L E GARTH JENSON & JEFF WARREN PROFESSIONAL HUNT ADVISORS GARTH’S HARVEST When most hunters think of whitetail, Montana is not the first state that comes to mind, but when you live out west, your options become a little more limited. Mule deer is still the overall dominant deer species in Montana, especially since the EHD bout in 2011 that took a heavy toll on the state’s whitetail population. Since then, numbers have rebounded pretty well in most units throughout the state to where the statewide whitetail population estimate is now over 220,000. I apply every year in Montana for deer, elk, sheep, and mountain goat, but I typically return my deer/elk combination license for an 80% refund if I don’t draw my special permit on years that I have other hunting commitments. However, in 2016, Jeff Warren and I did a little research and through our good friend, Tyler Ferris, we secured a piece of 10 JEFF SETTING UP A TREE STAND private property for a modest fee to hunt the first part of September in a whitetail-rich environment. of the overall quality, but the price was right, so we jumped on it and started planning a summer scouting trip. When it comes to whitetail hunting, I am a novice, so the fact that I had Jeff, who has had countless hours of hanging stands and reading sign in whitetail woods, on my side was very comforting and had me hopeful for things to come. We didn’t have a lot to go on for the piece of property we would be hunting as it was a new piece that Tyler had tied up just a few months earlier, but he assured us there were plenty of whitetail. He wasn’t 100% sure We headed up to Montana the first part of July with optics, tree stands, and a bag full of trail cameras to survey and find the routes the deer were using to come to and from their bedding areas. We hoped to throw up a few tree stands to allow them time to adjust to their presence. The first evening we arrived, we glassed the north property and it became apparent that we had not been steered wrong. We looked over about 25 bucks, with at