Author Archives: steve-drake

Fire and Corn

Featuring: Saddle Peak

“We are having way more fun than they are,” said Jake. He wasn’t kidding!

On the 4th of July weekend, I found myself perusing through Yellowstone Park en-route to my family’s cabin just east of Cooke City. I had no expectations for the weekend and expected nothing more than a lackadaisical few days, all while enjoy the beautiful scenery that the Beartooths have to offer.

With that said, you’d be a fool to drive into the Beartooths not toting ski gear. I’m no fool! On the morning of the 4th I drove up to the Beartooth Plateau in search of snow. Things were looking grim at the Wyoming summit. After descending the last switchback before the Gardner Lake pull out, I turned around and was treated to a pleasurable sight. Gardner Headwall’s north and south lines were very skiable!

With my gear on in minutes, I hitched a ride back up the switchbacks to the summit and then anxiously trekked across the plateau to the top of the southern aspect of the headwall. The line hadn’t been skied for at least a week – I was more than happy to track it up with some big GS turns. Smooth, steep, … READ MORE >


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Only in Montana

sheds

As March came to a close, one of my favorite past times came into full swing – shed hunting! This was the year of the deer antler. Between my dad and I, we found fifteen deer sheds and two elk sheds.

Come April 10th, shed hunting turned into turkey hunting. Archery hunting for spring gobblers proved to be just as difficult as last year. I inadvertently found myself in bow range of far more elk than gobblers.

After four weeks of turkey hunting, winter came back with vengeance! The mountains around Bozeman got nearly fifty inches of snow in three days. I quickly steered some of my study time for college finals to the mountains. You can ask anyone who skied that storm and they’ll agree that it was the best snow of the year. As for finals – I passed.

Spring Black Bear hunting was next on the list. As a relatively novice bear hunter, the only sightings I’ve ever had were flukes. This spring, with the help of a friend, I turned my occasional bear sightings into multiples. Every day for about two weeks, I left work right at five o’clock to archery hunt a nearby mountain range … READ MORE >


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Reflections on this Year’s Deer Hunting

rifle look thru

 

As luck would have it, I tagged out on a beautiful bull elk on the fourth week of this year’s archery season.  With eight more weeks of hunting, I had the opportunity to broaden my horizons and focus hard on finding myself and two others some wall hanging bucks.

October 25th, opening morning of the Montana rifle season, friend and co-worker, Kyle Christenson and I trudged through knee deep snow and headed into high country.  At first shooting light we were surrounded by mule deer.  We saw eight bucks that morning but never took a shot.  Two weeks later, we went back to the same vicinity and Kyle took a gorgeous whitetail.  It was his first big game animal, one he’ll have a hard time topping.

The next week, friend and roommate, Sean Schroff and I went in search of mule deer. Frigid temps and inclement weather pushed some of the larger bucks down into the lower elevations offering us some great opportunities.  Sean was able to reach out and touch his first mule deer.

With seven days left in the season it was my turn to give it a go.  I went to an area that … READ MORE >


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Speed Goatin’

After three weeks of countless spot and stalks on Montana speed goats my patience and motivation was wearing thin.  It was my last evening of hunting before college started and the pressure was on.  In a last ditch effort I snuck down a coulee on a barren piece of public land.  I failed to spot any goats before I headed in.  Regardless, my hopes were high.

Two large snake skins and a musky smelling puddle of urine had me on full alert as I crawled my way down the coulee.  A half mile into the section I poked my head out to take a look at the surroundings.  I spotted a mature buck bedded on a hillside about two-hundred yards away.  It was time to try my luck at flagging.  I ducked back into the coulee, pulled out a white tee shirt from my pack, and held the shirt in the air as to get the buck’s attention and hopefully spark his interest.  Sure enough, he zeroed in on the white shirt and began running right towards me.  Right then, adrenaline started pumping through my veins, my heart rate spiked, and my breathing became rapid and somewhat uncontrollable.  The buck … READ MORE >


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