Category Archives: Backpack Hunting

The Trio – Part 2

MR4

By: Zack Boughton – MONTANA WILD

We got out for another awesome hunt with our friend Tyler a few weeks after our first bear hunt. This time, the landscape was greener and the animals were more awake.  After a long morning of hiking and glassing elk, we made a gamble and switched locations.  We were positioned along a steep ridge where we’d seen lots of sign the year before, but as we climbed the mountain, we crossed snow drifts that were still 3-4 feet deep. We sank to our knees with every step, breaking through the crust, just trying to find the pockets of green.  As we slipped along, I noticed a tan spot on the hillside that didn’t look quite right.

A look through the binos revealed a beautiful blonde bear feeding at about 600 yards, a doable shot but only if the bear stayed put. We moved up the road and Tyler got the rifle set up. The bear proceeded to claw and tear at a rotten stump, only pausing for a moment in a head on position before lumbering off and slipping over the ridgeline.  Sh*&!  We regrouped and dropped into the bottom.

It was Tyler’s first … READ MORE >


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The Trio – Part 1

MR5

By: Zack Boughton - MONTANA WILD

The speedometer dropped rapidly as I banked a hard left off of the highway and onto the loose gravel of the mountain road.  Snow banks stained dark brown with spring mud marked the way up and away from the river. We were back in the mountains and it felt good – it had been too long since we’d seen the white peaks looming in the distance.   With the sun rising I pushed the gas pedal deeper, anxious to burn some rubber off the old boots.

Western Montana saw record snowfall this winter – with Missoula getting almost 40″ in February alone.  Winter had been a long one, but the green of spring could finally be seen peeking through on some of the south facing slopes. It was late April, and though the landscape was still bleak, I had a bear tag to fill.  We set off loaded down with camp and food but still making good time. By mid-morning we had set off up a broken ridge to see if we couldn’t find our first bear of the year.

A day and a half later we were headed home.  Sign was nonexistent and we … READ MORE >


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Jungle Bears

The anticipation was building.  Our Mystery Ranch packs were loaded to max capacity.  3 cameras, 16 camera batteries, 2 audio recorders, handfuls of AA & AAA batteries, 2 Garmins, 19 Mountain Houses, 1 Snowy Mountain Rifle Co .300WSM, 2 water filters, 4 bear tags, and 3 guys looking for an amazing Idaho bear hunt.  We hoped the planning we had compiled over the past 6 months would finally come together on what would become our hardest hunt to date.

I laced up my boots and made one last attempt to collect my thoughts before hitting the 10 mile hike to our camping location.  We had all the necessary gear to accomplish our goal in 7 days.   Now we just had to put the pieces together and take the pain that comes along with carrying +70lb packs.  The country we were hunting was a beautiful backcountry landscape and helped us push through the aching pain in our shoulders and feet.  The only thing that stood between ourselves and our camp for Day 1 was a 1600′ vertical ascent.  What looked like a maneageble open hillside on Google Earth, turned into an overhead jungle of brush.

We clawed up the mountain, busting … READ MORE >


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NICE Metcalf

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INTRO

Based in Bozeman, Montana, Mystery Ranch has had a decade’s long heritage in hunting. Our Internal Frames from the old Dana Design Terraplanes in the 80’s and 90’s to the NICE Frame systems we have today, share a robust framing that controls the outlandish loads required to pack in a camp or pack out a trophy. Carrying unreasonable loads in unreasonable terrain and circumstances is second nature to us, around the world and in the backcountry of Montana. The progression of MR hunting packs, based off our military influences, moderated and edited by Mark Seacat and our in-house crew of hunters, has ultimately landed us here with the lightest weight NICE Frame pack we’ve ever made. Introducing the NICE Metcalf.

DESIGN

Kyle Christenson on designing the Metcalf:

At Mystery Ranch design is a communal ongoing process. We strive to wow our customers by integrating their ingenuity and feedback directly into our products.  Our direct sales approach gives us immediate access to those who use the product creating a tight feedback loop for development.  The NICE Metcalf in no exception, as it has been developed by hunters that not only use our gear, but use it hard!  The NICE Frame

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The Monarch

12

BY: MONTANA WILD

Man vs. Elk.  It’s a battle that consumes the minds of thousands of hunters each year.  To me, elk hunting has become a passion and a lifestyle.  I love the challenge and the places that it takes me.  I don’t have a long history with elk, it’s only my third year chasing the wild beast, but it’s something that has become a part of me.  This year I once again drew a Missouri Breaks tag.  After failing to arrow a bull there last year, I made it a goal to return and get redemption.  After 5 grueling days I was without an elk once again.  At that point, the decision was made to swap the open country for the dark timber of Northwest Montana.  I already had a location picked out as I had done some scouting there this summer.  Trail cameras had shown that some mature bulls were inhabiting the area.

We arrived at the trailhead at 5:30AM.  This would be the first time we’d be camping out of our Long Bows, and we were excited to see how they’d handle the challenge.  The packs loaded nicely, and I can say I could comfortably hunt for … READ MORE >


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The Wolf Days of Winter

MT Wolf 2012 Pack 3
Featuring

BY: MATT CLYDE

Randy Newberg, of On Your Own Adventures, called and asked if I would be a guest hunter on his show for a Montana wolf hunt.  I was excited and thankful that he would call me to join him, especially considering I had zero wolf hunting experience.  Randy and I talked, and we both understood this hunt wasn’t likely to end with much in the way of wolf footage, and even less likely to end with a dead wolf.

But Randy and I both have the same philosophy when it comes to hunting: The odds might be stacked against you, but the odds drop to zero if you don’t at least give it a try.

We spent five straight days hunting for one of Montana’s most elusive creatures.  Our expectations were low, so we were thrilled when we spotted our first two wolves late in the afternoon of the first day. Under normal circumstances, we would have had a shot at them, but the camera guy was unable to locate the animals in his viewfinder, so I had to pass on the shot. I was learning, painfully, that trying to capture the harvest on film adds a significant … READ MORE >


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6500 In A Year

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BY: MARCUS HOCKETT

After winning the Mystery Ranch 6500 in the BAYED contest on On Your Own Adventures Forum – Hunt Talk, I’ve been trying to give this pack the workout it deserves.

Immediately, this pack became my go-to pack while shed hunting and bear hunting in the spring and carrying the spotting scope and other goodies.

Over the summer I took it everywhere with me.  The 6500 carried my gear deep into trail-less areas several times, on quests for cutthroat and golden trout.

Trying to get away from the crowds while paddle-fishing on the Missouri, I got a chance to haul out my first critter for the pack.

The pack even got to come to work with me a few times. Working on the Charles M. Russell NWR, I helped dig out a 75 million year old Elasmosaur fossil.  I packed in bags of plaster and five gallon water jugs for the crew using the NICE Frame and Load Sling.  I even packed out the skull of the beast encased in rock and plaster. It was the heaviest load I’ve ever carried.  The pack did great!

August through November the pack never went more than a few of days … READ MORE >


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The Hills

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By Peter Moore

“You going to be able to make it to The Hills this year?”

That’s what I asked Sam as soon as my unsuccessful bow season ended. Sam is my hunting partner of six years, but he’s never around these days, busy training for the 2012 Paralympics’ Cycling events, while traveling the country as a motivational speaker.

“The Hills” is our annual hunting trip, and since Sam grew up hunting, he should know that tradition is everything.

He could only squeeze one long weekend out of rifle season, and it was all we needed to pack up the Sprinter and head north. We drove five hours and talked about where we might find some big Mulies, knowing that in late October, the deer hold high, waiting ’til mid November to head down to the wheat fields to rut. We settled on putting our MR packs, and our legs, to the test and hauled up to a high ridge line where we could set up camp.

The weatherman called for 50 degrees and calm and was wrong as usual. What he meant was 30 degrees with 70-mile-an-hour gusts – not necessarily the conditions you want when camping on a … READ MORE >


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FEATURED POST

Immersion

Immersion means more days in the field, which yields more opportunity to mingle with elk, to learn from the elk, and perhaps to release an arrow.  And so I immerse myself in elk.  They have me captivated.  Every day that I scout, photograph, and hunt elk, I learn something about them and their behavior.  One thing learned is one thing gained, and that gaining is how I define success.

On the evening of September 23, … READ MORE >

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Who do you call?

Mikes Elk 2

By Tom Foss

Mike drew a prime moose tag this season, and he was out scouting some new country. At first light, he saw a fine herd of elk, but his main goal was to find one of the big bull moose he knew hung out in these hills.  Eight hours later, just before dark, he decided to wander a ways over toward the elk – four miles to be exact. A couple of cow calls, and suddenly a satellite bull was in his lap. He released an arrow at 35 yards, the razor-sharp broadhead did its work, and he heard the young bull hit the ground.

It was late and dark with no cell service. He hurriedly gutted his elk in prime grizzly country, and grew rightfully nervous on the hike out. With the smell of blood on his hands, he jumped at every shadow.

He remembered the landowner’s words when he asked for permission: “Have at it son, but watch out. There is an ornery griz in there. He chased us in our quads and almost ran our hired hand through a barb wire fence.”

He’d spilled the guts and the meat was cooling, and as he headed … READ MORE >


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