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I've been doing lots of planning and prep work for an archery elk hunt in MT over the past month or so. I had a few small items to buy, had to organize my dehydrated food, am dialing in my bow with some very minor final tweaks (should finish tonight and I just need to keep shooting after that), and have been working out like crazy. I'm going with a couple of buddies who are almost a decade younger than me and have go-go-go attitudes, so I've been doing all I can to minimize the amount of time they'll be waiting for me on the hike in and the packing of critters (hopefully) out. So, biking about five miles, running 2-3, lifting, and climbing the stairs and the dreaded "hill" with a 70 lb pack have been 5 day per week deals for me for the past couple months. I feel great and will start backing off of much of this in 2-3 weeks. The last week I'll just lift and bike to try save my feet for the hunt.

It occurred to me yesterday that I leave in a month! We've got some final detail planning to do, but we're basically ready to roll. I need to do a little bit of final prep the night before we leave (have to make my peanut butter, bacon, and honey sandwiches and pack my trailmix that night), but all I need to do is organize my stuff, do a final cleaning of my water bladder, and load up. Can't wait!!!

I'll post some pics of my pack and gear when if/when I get a chance. I've got an interesting set up for this trip- lots of specialized stuff including the pack, the sleeping gear, tent, food, etc. It's a pretty similar set up to the post I made a couple years ago about a bivy set up we did in ND, but this one will be for a much bigger trip in MUCH bigger country. I can't wait...

Sorry for the rambling, semi-random post. I'm pumped up for the trip and can't wait to get out there. I'll post some pics of the prep work soon.

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Can't blame ya for rambling, I'd be excited too....

Good luck out there, and don't worry about the "kids" you'll be hunting with. Experience and determination beat all out exuberance every time. (well maybe not EVERY time, but you'll be fine grin )

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Nothing like that pre-hunt anticipation!!!

Looking forward to your post hunt story and pics Scoot!!!

I too have that pre-hunt anticipation starting to run amuck! LOL

Douglas, WY bound again in a month for those speedsters of the prairie.


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Good luck, Scoot! I can't imagine the anticipation! I can't wait to hear the recap when you get back. Take lots of pictures for us! I have a feeling you are going to have some great stories to tell. Also, don't forget the Advil PM. Sounds like it might be worth its weight in gold for the type of trip you are going to be doing.

P.S. I got my new bow all set up, finally. Shot it a bit last night for the first time, and love it. Time to get back into this archery game.

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How far west are you going? I can get a lot of info for you from the Hamilton/Stevensville area

Thanks for the offer for info, Sniper. I'm sworn to secrecy on exactly where I'm going, but it's very generally SW MT. However, not as far West as Hamilton (that's right in the Bitteroot Range, isn't it?)

We've got just about all the info we can handle right now- info overload at this point! What we need to do now is get out butts out there and burn up some boot leather! The big picture plan is to hump it back into areas that most people aren't foolish enough to go to. The hope is to get away from most other hunters and get into the areas where there are unpestered elk (or elk that have been pestered from other areas into those more remote areas). I can't wait. I CAN'T WAIT!!! smile

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For your workout hikes with the 70 lbs, what do you use? Just a hiking bag filled with stuff you plan on hauling around?

Sorry BMG, I missed this question. I put a 70 lb bag o' sand on my frame pack. I strap it in with tarp straps and off I go to work my butt off...

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Then another work out hauling corn.

LOL- that'll fit right in with the workout routine! Haulin' the corn for you is the easy part- getting your handicapped hunter out there in the right spot for a shot on a deer is the tough part! I hope you can get your hunter yet another crack at a deer. If I remember right, your hunter success percentage is through the roof!

FYI to any who don't know- regarding the corn above, this is part of the "Twist of Fate" hunt that harvey lee is a volunteer guide for. It's in ND, which makes using corn legal, and is a wonderful cause. Tom (harvey lee) and a whole bunch of people volunteer their time, effort, and resources to make an awesome hunt for a bunch of hunters who'd otherwise have a tough time getting out on a deer because of a variety of physical limitations. It's a really cool deal...

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A little update on Harvey Lee's Twist of Fate outting (not the original topic, but we wandered onto it, so I'll post it here).

I took my son and nephew out to chip in a tiny bit to help with the hunt. Harvey lives quite a long ways from where he guides for the hunt, but it's just a short drive for me, so I offered to get stuff ready for him. I grabbed a "weed swisher" (one of those hand run weed wackers that you swing like a golf club- not sure what they're really called), some round up, some tempo, and three 50 lb bags of corn and headed out there.

My son Ryan was in charge of the two little sprayers and of course, his bb gun.


Logan, my recently turned 12 year old nephew insisted he could handle a 50 lb bag of corn. I wasn't sure if he'd make it, but he's one tough, hard working kid, so I let him have a crack at it. Logan probably weighs 75 or 80 lbs (I'm totally guessing, but he's not a big kid), so for him to haul the corn the 250 yards down to the ground blind was pretty impressive, at least to me. I loaded up the other two bags and we took off. It turned out that Logan was right and he made it! It was very hard, but he did it- tough kid!


I thought the big job would be to cut down a fallen tree limb that fell in front of the blind. I was wrong- the big job was the mess of weeds that were in front of the blind. Here's what they looked like...


That pic is in the middle of the shooting lane, so obviously we had some work to do. I didn't want the kids to run the saw, so I started doing that. Logan went to work witht he "weed swisher".


Being seven years old, it was tougher to get Ryan involved, but he did a little work, then got busy rousting up crickets, grasshoppers, and anything else that he might try shoot with his bb gun.


Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of the finished product. However, it should be good to go! We chopped down all the weeds, cut down the tree limbs, sprayed round up, sprayed the inside of the blind with tempo, cut a little path for the handicapped hunter to get in the blind, dumped corn, and hung a camera. Harvey, I think it's ready to rock and roll!

It ended up being a fun morning that we mixed a little work into. Once done with the work, we walked a tree row in search of anything the boys could shoot at with the bb gun. Here's a pic of Logan shooting at a bug of some kind and Ryan shooting at a giant mushroom growing out of a tree. It doesn't take much to make those boys happy. A bb gun, two young boys, and the beautiful land we were at equals a lot of fun!



Harvey, when the rest of the corn is ready be sure to let me know- I'm happy to run out there and take care of that. I'll be stuck with my buddies and brother to do the work, so it might not go as well as it did with Logan! grin Seriously, we'll take care of that job in no time flat, so let me know when it's ready.

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Awesome Scoot. That's saves me 550 miles of driving and alot of time. You and the boys made prepping for the Twist of Fate hunt very easy this fall. It is amazing how tall those weeds grow evey year, even when it is so dry.

After the hunt, Please feel free to go out and hunt the ranch all you want and feel free to go to the west fields and woods from the house and the big woods and field to the north of the river where you shot that nice buck a few years back. There's 2 sections you can hunt where you would like. If you have any questions on the boundries, just ask and I will let you know.

Tell the boys thanks so much for the added help and hopefully they cleaned out the cricket population. Thanks for the Tempo in the blind also, should help some with bugs.

Again, thank you so very much.

Thanks Sniper for the good luck wishes sent. Last year even with the deer herd down, we filled all of the hunters tags for the 1st time in 12 years. Always close but never 100% kill. Will be a tough time to follow that fall hunt.

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You bet, Tom. Like I said, it was a fun morning for us! When the corn is ready, so are we! Let me know and we'll get it out there for you.

...and thank you, Tom, for your constant generosity out there. I'm extremely appreciative and saving you the trip and doing a tiny bit of work is just a drop in the payback bucket for sure.

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You mean Scoot cut my winter supply down and did not dry it? Does look in the photo like some taller weed in there.

We have alot of weed around the ranch but I have never seen any in that location, maybe a new crop.

Very low value weed up there. Much if not all of it all was planted during the war for hemp rope. Lots was sprayed by the Federal Gov a few years back but there is still a few stands around.

There at one time was a 5acre patch that grew about 7-8ft tall. Lot's of weed there.

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LOL! I have to admit, I had the thought- "isn't that what weed looks like?" I can identify a lot of weeds (grew up on a farm), but don't know diddly about that kind of weed...

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