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October in Montana by Tim Herald

October 28, 2013 by  
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Montana-river-bottomsWhenever I get the chance, I love to go out West and hunt whitetails in October. To me, October is a tough time to kill a good buck in the Midwest or my home state of Kentucky, and whitetails in Wyoming and Montana are completely food driven, no matter what time of year you hunt them. That coupled with the fact that you usually see 100’s of deer a day where they are concentrated along rivers where alfalfa is grown, makes for some just plain fun hunting.

I was going to hunt with famed Milk River Outfitters and owner Eric Albus, but instead of hunting on the Milk River, we were going to hunt on some of Eric’s trophy managed properties a few hours further south. Eric has one place there that they gun hunt that averaged 162” last year, and the place we were hunting had a 158” buck taken about 3 weeks before we were there. That hunter had seen numerous deer over 150” and Eric personally saw 3 bucks over 170 while scouting.

As always, my goal was to kill a mature buck, and as most folks know, I am generally not too worried about score. The first morning my cameraman David and I sat in a cottonwood blowdown watching a wheat field because the previous day’s rain had made the road to the ranch we wanted to hunt impassible. We saw a handful of whitetails and a big group of mule deer, but nothing too exciting.

That afternoon, the sun and wind had dried the roads enough to be passable, so we headed for the ranch that Eric really wanted us to hunt. He told me that until this year, the ranch had not been hunted for almost 10 years, and the deer were definitely not too spooky, especially of vehicles. The ranch had grown a couple of fields of tall arm season grasses where the deer bedded, and the ranch across the river had both alfalfa and corn as a food source. The deer bedded on our side, and our plan was to catch them traveling back and forth across the shallow river to and from the food.

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