20 November 2009
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Published on November 20th, 2009 @ 06:03:35 pm, using 434 words, 2784 views
Week three brought another non-typical week of Montana elk hunting. When a client says “I’ve never seen so many elk in all my life” that’s not normal elk hunting, but we’ve heard that a lot this season. When two first-time EVER hunters harvest elk, that’s not typical. When someone harvests an elk on his 49th birthday while helping his brother track an elk, that’s not typical. When two pals harvest elk 3 miles away from one another on the same night, that’s not typical. 100% opportunity and success, that’s an oxymoron in fair chase elk hunting-not typical. However, all this and more happened during week three here at Dome Mountain Ranch, I guess we’re a non-typical kind of place.
Every elk that came off the Mountain came out in pieces. A testament to how easy it WASN’T. Although I do occasionally see a full-bodied bull elk in the back of a pickup heading north from the park boundary, my experience tells me that it probably hit the ground pretty close to that pickup, and regardless of the size of the horns, I bet those stories aren’t near as interesting as the ones you’ll be hearing this weeks hunters tell.
There’s always a certain breed of hunter who fully accepts all the risks, welcomes the pain and does so with a smile day in and day out. This attitude is a prime ingredient for any successful elk hunt. Successful hunters are those who take each thin moment of their hunt with purpose and tenacity often without tangible incentive (though it sure helps) and faith. In the end, they define their own success when they’ve hunted to the highest level of their ability, spirits never waning, the next day never coming soon enough and ending way too quickly. They took their hunt personal, just like we do.
This past week was so good, I’m wise enough to take a moment of silence and just reflect even if it all hasn’t sunk in yet. Carpe diem for me was multiplied through each hunter’s adventures. When things seem too good to be true I question the moment. Tonight, I’ll enjoy it without question.
We’ve got one more week of regular season Montana elk hunting left. The mountain will rest again for a few days, so will the guides, so will Len and I. The only thing that seems typical this season is the weather; it’s just unpredictable, pretty much typical.
Thanks for reading-See You on the Mountain! Visit our updated photogallery!
Jim “JB” Klyap, Outfitter #7843
14 November 2009
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Published on November 14th, 2009 @ 11:28:09 am, using 221 words, 576 views
It’s mid-season now and I spend nearly every waking moment thinking about Montana elk hunting. I recently came across some statistics from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks which I thought could serve as a testament to the quality guided elk hunting we provide.
Overall, less than 10% of all hunters harvest a bull elk. Since we cannot legally hunt cows in our area, we focus on bulls. Because our hunts offer something for just about everyone, we often take elk hunters with limited experience or physical ability, yet we manage to keep our success rate above 50% with nearly 100% opportunity. While we cannot make or take the shot, we have learned to put hunters in advantageous positions nearly every day of their hunt. This is only possible with a solid crew of guides and well executed planning.
Many clients have commented on the value of our “hunter preparation” program. I sincerely agree that this has made the difference between successful hunts and otherwise negative experiences. We plan to improve and add more information here as well, which is only available to our clients, not the general public.
It’s great to see all of our management efforts, which have allowed hundreds of elk to move in, come full circle. This of course means the makings of the hunt of a lifetime for any hunter.
09 November 2009
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Published on November 9th, 2009 @ 02:15:21 pm, using 732 words, 2651 views
“If You Ain’t Bleeding, Sweating or Puking, You Ain’t Huntin’ Elk”
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the overall average success of hunters taking bull elk is less than 10%. We’re proud to say we’ve buried those statistics by 70%. All of our hunters for two weeks in a row this season have had 100% opportunity and enjoyed the opportunity to hunt wild Montana elk in their natural habitat.
Our second week of rifle elk season added quite a few adventures, and very happy hunters. While the successes of a week of hunting is always something to appreciate, what seems to stick in my mind is what I saw after we’d packed out the final bull of the week on the last day of the hunt. Keep in mind, this wasn’t the first bull we’d taken during the week. Matter of fact, if you like numbers, we’d just finished up 35 days of high action, 100% opportunity elk hunting in a week, that’s a lot to talk about.
While waiting for the boys to make the turn I was able to glass some long wind-swept grassy ridges, contrasted by old growth dark timber. These are places well off the property of the ranch, yet have always offered the feeling of endlessness. Several bunches of elk grazed here. It felt good to see them return to places that could grace the center-fold pages of any elk hunting magazine. Weeks two and three can’t get here soon enough, there’s a few hundred elk, but they’re not alone up there.
Most magazine articles and TV shows focus on one hunter, not a group of 7, plus 5 guides and other friends that stop by Dome Mountain Lodge to get a whiff of some of that positive elk hunting energy. It was great to have Dave Scovil and Lee J. Hoots in camp this past week. I know there’s plenty to tell, so we will be looking forward to our upcoming review in “Successful Hunter” magazine. I guess both these gentleman have a point when they told me we should think about offering trophy Mule deer hunts.
Then again, Lee might be able to tell you a bit about the elk hunting!
We took several nice bulls and some trophy Mule Deer this past week, saw hundreds of elk, presented clients with great opportunities, but more importantly we shared the mountain and the hunt with an incredible group of individuals that may not have shown up as elk hunters, but certainly left here as life-long members of a this very exclusive club. My thanks again to all of you for your positive attitudes and willingness to give elk hunting a chance.
Elk hunting is a process. Many people book a hunt here with the mere mention of “private land-lodge hunts”. While this has always played a role in our successful hunts, fact is, much of the time, we’re taking elk on public lands, since we have use on thousands and thousands of acres of US Forest Service. Harvesting a Montana bull elk isn’t easy, and there’s no “magic potion", all it takes is an individual effort with passionate realistic preparation, unforgiving hard work, covering miles of brutal terrain, dealing with constantly changing weather, embracing 30 mph winds, timing mountain-naps during sky-darkening snow storms, finding heat during bone-chilling rain, shade in blinding sun, and the will to climb that mountain, then wake up the next day and do it again. That doesn’t sound like a very good sales pitch, but the cold hard truth, as painful as it sounds is the very reason we’ll probably see everyone who hunted with us this past week again next season.
Now that we’re approaching the latter half of our Montana elk hunting season I continue to be impressed with the results of good people coming together for one of the few things we can do in this life that really gets us away from it all, bringing a simple clarity and well-deserved satisfaction to our world. As each moment in elk country passes, we hunt it like it’s our last, and each memory of those days seems to overflow in my head, then the first-light of the next day arrives and the sun again shines on our mountain, and taunts the spirit of the hunter in all of us, time’s a waisting, lets go.
Thanks for reading! See you on the mountain.
JB Klyap, Outfitter #7843