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What’s Up Outdoors: Elk hunt starts off fall with a bang

This fall is off to a great start, now let’s see how whitetail and mule deer season goes. But truthfully it doesn’t matter now.

Jamie Dietman with the bull elk he shot recently in western Montana. Contributed

So, the plan was to get a bunch of work done this spring. And that turned into a summer of no fishing or anything fun for that matter.

But all that led to planning a great elk hunt and, looking back, it was so worth it. So if anyone was wondering where I’ve been, I wasn’t doing anything worth writing about.

Related: What’s Up Outdoors: I’m already dreaming of the arrival of fall
Anyway, back to hunting and getting ready for a great fall. I traveled to western Montana a few days early to do some scouting and to look at some new spots and it paid off big time. With warmer than normal temps I knew opening day was going to be about my only chance, so there was a lot on the line.

After finding a spot to hunt with some big bulls, all I could think about was all the little things that could go wrong with the plan. Any little wind switch or for some reason they changed their route and it would be a wasted day.

On opening morning we headed into the valley they were traveling the morning before and got set up, hoping they repeated yesterday’s path. As the herd slowly made their way closer they got a little spooked by something but luckily they mellowed out and kept coming to an opening in the timber where I ranged it at 340 yards. Now I get really excited every time I elk hunt but knowing this might be my chance on a big bull I was beyond excited.


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After letting a bunch of cows and four or five smaller bulls pass, the one I was waiting for stepped into my shooting lane. All I could think was, “Please, please don’t screw this up. Don’t flinch, don’t shake, just breathe.”

I braced myself on the bipod and squeezed, then immediately chambered another round and got back on my scope and saw the shot was perfect and there was no need for another. Within seconds it was over and all the planning was worth it, and all the worrying was unnecessary.

To my amazement another elk season was done in the first hour and for the first time I didn't shoot the first bull I saw, and I’m sure glad I waited. This fall is off to a great start, now let’s see how whitetail and mule deer season goes. But truthfully it doesn’t matter now.

Related: What's Up Outdoors: Elk hunt proves to be a test of physical limits

JAMIE DIETMAN, What’s Up Outdoors, may be reached at 218-820-7757.

Jamie Dietman

Jamie Dietman

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