Editor’s Note: Wendy LaCrosse Drake from Libby, Montana, has been elk hunting for 6 years and has been a member of the Mossy Ok Pro Staff for about 5 years. Her favorite pattern is Mossy Oak Treestand, because she believes it best fits the terrain where she hunts - primarily northwest Montana.
I really love to elk hunt, but I also enjoy white-tailed deer hunting. One afternoon I was hunting by myself, and I spotted a nice white-tailed buck. I decided to go after it. The buck was going up a hill. So, I hurried, got ahead of the buck and went to the top of the hill, thinking he would come up, and I could take him at the top. But instead of staying on the course of travel where he was, the whitetail turned and went back down the hill. The weather was terrible. We had about a foot of snow, and the snow was still coming down, while I was trying to catch up to this buck. When I saw the buck go down the hill, I went down the hill after him. There was a road just a little ways from the bottom of the hill. I thought the buck probably had crossed the road. But when I saw another buck, I wasn’t sure whether this was the same buck I’d seen going up the hill, or whether he was a completely different whitetail. This buck was going back up the hill that I had just come down. Once again, I climbed the hill, got to the top and waited for the buck to come to me. Eventually I was about ready to give up the hunt, and I had sat down on a log. To be honest, I was worn out from going up and down this hill.
As I was trying to catch my breath and rest, I spotted a deer about 40 yards away under a tree, trying to get out of the snow that was falling. Very quietly, I raised my bow, drew the arrow back and took the shot. Although he was only a 4x4, I thought he was a nice buck. I dragged the buck about 1/2-mile to my truck, however, I knew I couldn’t load him up by myself. I called my mother-in-law, and she came and helped me load the buck in the back of the truck, so we could take him back to the cabin. We skinned and field dressed him and then took the buck to the butcher.
If we get into late winter, Eric will go out in the morning by himself to try and take an elk. Then, he’ll usually come in at lunch, and the two of us will go elk hunting in the afternoon. But on this day, he was hunting with a friend. So, I left him at the house, and I went out to see if I could take a deer. In Montana, we can take whitetails or mule deer. Our deer season comes in at the same time as our elk season. Archery season begins in September and ends in the middle of October when rifle season begins. Rifle season runs until the end of November.
I was really amazed at taking my first buck with my bow. I never had wanted to hunt and take an animal with my bow. I had enjoyed shooting my bow in tournament archery, but I just didn’t really know if I wanted to take an animal. However, after that first deer hunt, I was hooked on hunting! Eric had been encouraging me to be a hunter and take animals with my bow, but I wasn’t very interested. But then one day, we were out hunting and spotted a buck that would score 130. Eric asked me to take the shot. I shot at the buck and saw him go down. When I walked up to the buck, I started crying. I was crying because I was so excited - not because of any remorse. I told Eric, “Let’s do this again.” After that first buck, I could hardly wait for the next deer season to start.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oaks Pros Know Bucks and Bows” on Amazon. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.
For information on making jerky from your elk and other big game animals to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book.