Category Archives: Backpack Hunting

The Monarch



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


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



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


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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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, all that success sparked against a bit of luck, which sent my arrow flying. And so I harvested a gorgeous Montana archery bull.


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountain Adventure, Trip Reports, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

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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Props to a solid elk hunting partner


“Unsuccessful.” That’s how my partners elk drawing results read. In an area with ample tags, he was one of a few who did not draw a bull permit. Kyle is a brilliant pack designer at Mystery Ranch, the man responsible for the Blackjack, the Saddle Peak, the Naya Nuki and the Fuze, among others. I’ve had the privilege of working with him between classes at Montana State.

Despite the lack of a tag, Kyle has devoted himself to following me around in the woods with over twenty pounds of camera and video equipment in an attempt to capture the experience.  Props to a solid elk hunting partner and friend!

Let’s hear about your hunting partner!?… READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Trip Reports | 3 Comments

Moving In… the Timelapse!

Dana Gleason and Luke Buckingham at the Official Ribbon and Tie Cutting Ceremony!

Moving into a brand new building this January was quite the event!  We captured the three day process through the camera lens… it only took 10,369 photos stitched together to make this video!… READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Disc Golf, Fire and Trail, Military & Tactical, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Mystery Ranch on Denali, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, Trip Reports, What's Hot | 1 Comment

Dana goes REALLY BIG on the Facebook Pack Giveway!

Dana had more fun than should be allowed... check it out!

Did you win?!  Watch the video to find out!!!


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Disc Golf, Fire and Trail, Military & Tactical, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, What's Hot | 10 Comments



My introduction to antler hunting was a parody.  Seventeen elk sheds the first year and ten the second led me to think I had found a honey hole.  Assuming the following years would produce equally high yields I sold many of them to a local chandelier builder.  $350 was the reward – I had hoped for $900.

The secret spot was discovered the third spring.  Snowmobiles and four-wheelers had scavenged the place.  I witnessed two individuals chase down a six point bull on their four-wheelers, hooting and hollering, trying to get him to drop his antlers.  Their arrogance and lack of respect disgusted me.  Ethics should play a role in all types of hunting.

I’ve been shed hunting for eight years now.  After the grandeur of the first two years, I’ve come to value the antlers I find a whole lot more.  The sentimental value of each one, even if it’s chewed up, has more worth than the money they fetch.  Although the chewed up sheds usually do become dog bones.

My house is loaded with deer and elk antlers.  They are the primary decorative piece, despite my family’s and roommate’s objection.  In my kitchen alone there are twenty two … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountain Adventure, Trip Reports | 12 Comments