Preparing for Archery
Season in Southwest Montana
Physical Condition & Typical Shots
Intercepting, shadowing and using calls can be strenuous work. Being
healthy and physically fit will increase your odds greatly during
archery season. We recommend that our hunters start building,
strength and stamina several months prior to their hunt. It takes
great skill to make a kill being winded, full of adrenaline, and
being in the high country. Practicing shot positions (i.e. sitting,
kneeling, uphill, downhill, through timber and around obstacles such
as branches and limbs), will increase your familiarity with your
bow, thereby increasing your chances at a kill shot.
2007 Archery Bull
Any primitive or modern archery weapons are welcomed provided you
are comfortable shooting them. Crossbows are illegal to use in
Montana. Most of our hunters use compound bows that shoot up to
300fps. Draw weights are between 60-80#. The most important thing
to remember is to be comfortable and be familiar with your
equipment. Practice, Practice, Practice…
A simple cow call is the most important call to have. The guide or
archer typically needs to stop the animal in his shooting lane. We
have also had success stopping a bull in flight after we get winded,
this can give the archer another shot. Cow calling after a bull is
hit will also settle him down and generally he won't go far. The
best hands free cow call is a diaphragm. You can also be proficient
without any artificial calls. Typically your guide will use a bugle
certain days to locate. Generally in our area we will see elk in
meadows and depending on the situation will employ several
techniques. Decoys, bugling, raking of trees, cow calls (estrous,
mew, and lost). If you have a call, practice, practice, practice…
Sights, Arrows, Rests & Quivers
Multi- pin sights are most common now and have replaced the
adjustable single pin sights. Be comfortable shooting up to 50
yards. Durable sights that have protective covers around the pins
are best. Sights are the most common piece of gear that break.
Most all hunters are shooting carbon arrows with vanes. Aluminum
arrows with feathers have worked in the past but can be more
A favorite rest is the whisker biscuit. This arrow rest takes away
most of the variables that you may encounter in the field. If you
are comfortable with the drop-aways, keep using what is working; you
certainly get better arrow flight with this type of rest.
Quivers should hold 3-6 arrows. Hip and pack quivers have been
notorious for being cumbersome and noisy. I like to carry only 3
arrows in the field. But have at least a dozen in camp. A hard case
to house arrows is recommended for your trip out here and into camp.
Fixed 3 bladed 100-125 chisel tips are our favorite head. Muzzy,
Thunderheads, or something comparable is adequate. Ideally we want a
complete pass through. Two holes in an elk means more blood to
follow, a better trail, and better chance at quick recovery.
Do not bring expandable broad heads. They are not getting the
penetration we need on elk. They do fly better but we have
experienced deflection and malfunctions.
Bow sling, Binoculars, Rangefinder
So far my favorite bow sling is the Primos. It offers easy on and
off, protects your string and cam and it is comfortable. We have
leather bow scabbards on the horse but it is nice to have that added
protection that this sling offers.
Lightweight 10x42 binoculars is ideal for the country we hunt. A
range finder has been one of the best improvements the archery
industry has developed so far. Every new environment that you hunt,
your judge of distance will need to be tuned. No better way than
with a decent rangefinder.
Backpack & Fanny Packs
Backpacks are generally recommended for carrying lunch, water, extra
clothing, and other personal gear/equipment. The pack will be tied
to the saddle opposite your bow so that it is well balanced. Then,
when you get to hunting it will be taken along while your horses are
Clothing & Staying Warm
Believing all the marketing about what this type of material can do,
and how you can't survive without it can get expensive, Capalene and
Polypropylene claims it is easy to dry and you will die with out it.
When I have moisture collecting on my body I want something to wick
it off. With the ability to dry your clothes every night, the
comfort, warmth and breathability cotton provides is hard to beat.
Everyone is different and has different needs. It's hard for me to
replace wool, cotton, leather and silk. If you are the type that
sweats a lot then you might consider some of the synthetic
under-layers, although I have found that they stink in a few days,
they are cold, not breathable and uncomfortable. Bring two pairs of
gloves, two types of warm hats and heavy socks (i.e. SmartWool).
Be sure that any clothing you buy is made of quiet material,
sometimes the slightest foreign sound makes all the difference in
spooking a bull. For the same reason, new boots should be well
broken in prior to arrival.
I recommend bringing 3 pairs of footwear: A lightweight slip on pair
you can use around camp, a type of outdoor slipper; a tennis shoe
style hiking boot for warmer weather hunting; a Gortex, light
Thinsulate (or comparable) leather, 200gram, 8" high boot, you will
probably use this the most. All our saddles are equipped with over
sized stirrups to accommodate some wider boots.
Climate, Altitude, & Hydration
The weather during archery season can be anything from 70s and sunny
to 10 degrees. If you are coming from sea level you will experience
15% less oxygen at our altitude of 7800ft. It generally takes a day
and a half to partially acclimate (and up to 6 weeks to fully
acclimate). This means your body is producing more red blood cells
to deliver the additional oxygen required. Staying hydrated is the
key ingredient to ward off nausea, fatigue and headaches. I carry a
1 qt. water bottle. This gets me through the day. Coffee, alcoholic
beverages, and smoking are strongly discouraged during the first
couple of days before arriving and the first couple days in camp to
help avoid Acute Altitude Sickness.
You will find very useful information on the pages of this
website, but we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
After browsing, we invite you contact us by filling out our
Request Form for elk hunts. Call 406-220-0755 for trophy mule deer
hunts and fishing trips.