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Discussion Starter #1
Well I have to say that this hunt began after a very unhappy regular season. I had cleared my schedule to go with friend over to his private ranch in Western Montana. He bailed on me two days before we were supposed to leave, their had been an accident at the mine where he had worked as a grade inspector. We both had drawn special cow only gardiner late hunt tags for the same weekend, February 7 and 8. We also both wanted to shoot nice bull elk and decided to use the late tags if we didn't see anything. I went on to the Big Hole Ranch. I hiked nearly thirty miles and didn't see a single decent bull. Many 4 pointers though. I even considered shooting one. Well I got back with the promise that he would get some time off before the season ended on December first. He never did. I was really disappointed.

When February came around he had that weekend off, they give two day passes a friday and saturday or saturday and sunday. We got the friday and saturday. That thursday had been wonderful, into the 40's, no bad weather predicted, few hunters that would be there. You know, a perfect weekend. Well if anyone here has ever hunted in gardiner for late season elk, you know that the weather can turn oin a dime and drop 8'' of powder in just two hours. Well it didn't do that. It dropped 15 degrees and 20 inches of powder by friday evening we were thoroughly trapped in the mountain. I had my 1971 F100 4x4 and we had two arctic cat snowmobiles with us but we had decided to use them only for retrieval as other hunters were on the mountain. My truck got stuck on a log that had been buried by the snow. We finally got the snow machines out of the truck and parked them off to the side. We had hiked approximately 75 yards uphill to find 30 cow elk grazing in the valley below us. Mixed in were several spikes so we decided to get closer to pick out the best one. We spooked them with 300 yards to go. We were in luck though, because somebody spooked them to us. I raised my new Rem Model 700 in .300 Win Mag. and the rifle went click. I thought I had a misfire but I had forgotten to load a round in and the bolt was frozen shut, there was no moving that thing. My buddy raised his "peashooter" Dakota 76 .375 H&H Magnum. I remember the gun making the loudest noise I have ever heard from a gun. He had recently had a muzzle brake installed. He only shot once and then handed the gun to me. When I looked through the scope there was nothing left that I could shoot. I was pissed off at my rifle. We waited about 5 minutes and then got up, we couldn't see if he had hit anything. We stood up to find two cows laying dead about 50 yards away. One through the top of the lungs and one through the top of the shoulder, base of neck but definetly through the spinal column. I gladly took the spine shot animal. Thats the most fun I have ever had. There was a lot more to add like the hotel giving away our rooms and us sleeping in my truck and finding the food in the cooler frozen solid, finding one of the snow machines with only enough gas to get it back into the truck. Grabbing the wrong box of bullets for the .375. Forgetting the scope caps, the basic stuff. The worst was probably gutting one of the elk with a pocket knife because my buddy left his in the truck. Oh well. tons of memories.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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This certainly sounds like a story that needs expanding on, 99.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So um, what would you like to know?
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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What caused your bolt to freeze up - ever find out?

Why did the motel give your room away for? Had you confirmed the reservations?

Finding the food frozen, did you gnaw on it anyway, or go find a nice cafe with hot meals?

Whose pocket knife did you gut the elk with - yours or your buddy's? If he left his gutting/skinning knife in the truck, what happened to yours?

When you loaded the snowmobiles, had you filled them with fuel, or was that a forgotten task in the rush of loading the gear?

If you had the 2 cows down, what was the need for more .375 ammo - did you go ahead later and try to fill the bull tags?

Just some questions that were bouncing around in my head after reading the good story, 99. Probably every calamity that could happen has confronted me on one hunt or another through the years, so I can chuckle at your problems and remember those of mine in the past. Remind me to tell you of the Ruger M77 in 7mm Rem Mag that wouldn't fire when a 6x6 was centered in the crosshairs in Colorado back in the mid-80's!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I never found out why the bolt froze. Functions pefectly today and has operated when it was colder, just friggin happened. You know.

I don't know why the motel gave our room away we were about an hour late for our reservations. I had a flat tire.

I set the cooler under my truck with the lid open and it thawed in about an hour.

I loaned him my skinning knife, not a big deal, I have gutted elk before with the same gerber sp2.

We borrowed the snowmobiles, my guess is that there was a fuel leak on the machine in question. It was full when we left.

We didn't need more ammo, he had some 500 grain TBS bullets, he forgot the 350 grain corelokt ammo that would have dealt significantly lower recoil and not (illegal in montana) killed my elk as well. Well I don't know if it wouyld have killed my elk or not but there isa good chance.

I have never had a hunt go so awry on me before. I have hunted with this guy before and will again in the same are with the same situation and event he same weekend. It was just really weird.
 
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