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Unit 270 mule-a season of dissapointment
Montana
Contributors to this thread:
phutch30 28-Nov-08
HUNT MAN 28-Nov-08
Big Fin 28-Nov-08
gerald martin 29-Nov-08
dexnrex 29-Nov-08
dexnrex 29-Nov-08
dexnrex 29-Nov-08
dexnrex 29-Nov-08
phutch30 29-Nov-08
gerald martin 30-Nov-08
Hornseeker 01-Dec-08
ELKCALLER 01-Dec-08
phutch30 01-Dec-08
bugleum 01-Dec-08
phutch30 01-Dec-08
br 03-Dec-08
Shoots-Straight 03-Dec-08
woodsmoke 03-Dec-08
phutch30 03-Dec-08
2point 03-Dec-08
phutch30 04-Dec-08
stickm 04-Dec-08
Mul Pwr 04-Dec-08
howler 05-Dec-08
phutch30 05-Dec-08
Griffmandooski 05-Dec-08
HornFerigno 06-Dec-08
Mul Pwr 07-Dec-08
woodsmoke 07-Dec-08
phutch30 08-Dec-08
speedbow20 09-Dec-08
phutch30 09-Dec-08
speedbow20 09-Dec-08
phutch30 09-Dec-08
dr. bob 09-Dec-08
creasy 10-Dec-08
phutch30 10-Dec-08
creasy 10-Dec-08
Fulldraw 11-Dec-08
phutch30 11-Dec-08
dr. bob 11-Dec-08
phutch30 11-Dec-08
Mul Pwr 12-Dec-08
That Kid 16-Dec-08
Mt. man 18-Dec-08
Dry FLM 28-Jul-23
jeck66 31-Jul-23
From: phutch30
28-Nov-08
Im all done. I didnt get one. I did mess up a chance on a mid-upper 180's buck. One evening I was watching a group of 5 does with 5 bucks, 3- 5x5's and a couple forkies, from 3/4 mile away. One was a low 170 deer. Well after about an hour and a half I decided to get in for a closer look to maybe convince myself I wanted to shoot him. While I was scopeing out the biggest 5 point, I noticed another deer slinking away fast. I put the glass on him and about fell over. He was about 27-28 wide, great mass, huge fronts and great backs. I got a quick range on him of 318 yards and tried to get the scope on him. But I couldnt get him to stop. When he did I touched off and he jumped about 6 feet in the air. I really though I had drilled him but he ran about 150 yards stopped and looked back, so I shot again. He turned and walked out of sight. After I calmed down, I ranged the shots the first turned out to be 397 and the second was 455. Not much chance there. I was holding for a little over 300 and 400. In the heat of it I didnt think he had walked that far. Oh well rookie mistake. That is the only pig I saw in that unit from Aug 10-Nov 27. I spent 25 days hunting, 7 days bowhunting and 18 rifle hunting.Plus I put in 15 days scouting in aug. I walked 181 miles in the last 17 days(I have a pedometer on my belt). Over the course I looked over 263 bucks, some were repeats no doubt but the vast majority wernt. Over it all I passed up 4 deer in the low to mid 170's and one in the mid to upper 170's (bow season). This unit has tanked. I scoured it. I was hiking in 2-5 miles each morning and again in the after noon to glass alot of country. I found lots of deer, and plenty of bucks. I would typically see a dozen + bucks per day, they were just all small. Oh well maybe next time I draw a trophy tag it will work out. i hope it doesnt take another 11 years to draw one though. LOL

From: HUNT MAN
28-Nov-08
sorry to hear that. I spend a fair amount of time in that unit every year. This year is the lowest deer population i have seen.I used to see 10-15 in the 80s every year and find a couple of BIG sheds and now nothing at all. It is very sad.HUNT

From: Big Fin
28-Nov-08
Paul:

Had a friend with the tag this year, also. He only did the rifle hunt. He spent 12 days non-stop, and came home Wednesday with his tag in his pocket. His report is the same as yours.

He has shot some big muleys in the past, so he knows what he is looking for.

Too bad about that unit. Wonder when/if it will rebound.

29-Nov-08
My neighbor had the tag as well this year. He looked at around 100 bucks and only saw one that was 170ish. He missed a hurried shot in the pouring rain and ended up with about a 145 inch four point. He was really dissapointed with the quality of the deer. Sounds like the unit is a has been for trophy quality.

From: dexnrex
29-Nov-08
Do you think in part the decline could be attributed to the fact that FWP says if you draw a special muledeer permit that is the only district in which you can harvest a muledeer buck. I applaud the guys that will eat a tag if they don't find the buck they are looking for, but I think there are many smaller bucks shot on the last day of someones hunt because they can't shoot a muley buck anywhere else. My experience is based on another special muledeer area, but the quality seemed to go down hill after they made that rule. I was told it had nothing to do with biology, just that if you draw a special permit you should have to give something up. I would like to see that rule thrown out.

From: dexnrex
29-Nov-08
Do you think in part the decline could be attributed to the fact that FWP says if you draw a special muledeer permit that is the only district in which you can harvest a muledeer buck. I applaud the guys that will eat a tag if they don't find the buck they are looking for, but I think there are many smaller bucks shot on the last day of someones hunt because they can't shoot a muley buck anywhere else. My experience is based on another special muledeer area, but the quality seemed to go down hill after they made that rule. I was told it had nothing to do with biology, just that if you draw a special permit you should have to give something up. I would like to see that rule thrown out.

From: dexnrex
29-Nov-08
Do you think in part the decline could be attributed to the fact that FWP says if you draw a special muledeer permit that is the only district in which you can harvest a muledeer buck. I applaud the guys that will eat a tag if they don't find the buck they are looking for, but I think there are many smaller bucks shot on the last day of someones hunt because they can't shoot a muley buck anywhere else. My experience is based on another special muledeer area, but the quality seemed to go down hill after they made that rule. I was told it had nothing to do with biology, just that if you draw a special permit you should have to give something up. I would like to see that rule thrown out.

From: dexnrex
29-Nov-08
Sorry, not real computer savy!

From: phutch30
29-Nov-08
I dont think that is the cause. This unit was smoking 2 and 3 years ago. There are lots of smaller bucks just no big ones. Personally I think its a combo of too many buck tags, too many doe tags and predation. A little bit of it may be related to the nutritional content of the forage. Most of the wopper bucks were shot within 5 years of the fire. Who knows. But I would caution anyone putting in for this unit to not expect to see much for deer over 170. There are a few still there. Im sure a couple of pigs probably came out.

30-Nov-08
Phutch, I heard some rumors of poaching being a part of the problem? Do you think it could have something to do with it?

From: Hornseeker
01-Dec-08
Sorry to hear it Paul...I've heard the same story over and over again now this year and last year... bummer...

Ernie

From: ELKCALLER
01-Dec-08
I think that it is probably the same reason that we all saw few deer this year. WOLVES! WOLVES! WOLVES! Their tracks were all over this year. We NEED to get a handle on these preditors or we will have nothing to hunt soon!

From: phutch30
01-Dec-08
Wolves may be part of the problem. I had 4 IN my camp at bobcat saddle on Thurs morning. When I opened the door to the tent they were about 25 feet from my truck or 35 feet from me. Kind of cool but creepy too. I think there are several reasons the combined have had a significant impact on this unit. Like I said before finding bucks up into the 160's wasnt a problem. Just the 170+ bucks were scarce. So unless the wolves are trophy hunting they cant be the only reason.

From: bugleum
01-Dec-08
phutch: That was a great article that you wrote for the new eastmans bowhunting magazine. Hopefully someday i will be able to experience what you did on your ram hunt.

From: phutch30
01-Dec-08
Thanks. I didn’t like the way the edited it though. They left some stand-alone sentences that don’t really make sense. No one else seemed to notice though so maybe its just me. If you draw a ram tag DO IT WITH A BOW. There is no reason you cant kill as big a ram with your bow as with a gun. They are pretty approachable in the rut.

From: br
03-Dec-08
Hey guys,

would any of you support a shorter general deer season (Statwide or Region spacific) by a couple weeks with intent to lighten the preasure on the older mature bucks during the rut? The season would not have to end completly but limit the weapon use to muzzleloader/shotgun/handgun/bow and cut the centerfire rifles.

03-Dec-08
Br, this area had good bucks just recently, shorting the season on a limited entry area would have no effect. One part of the problem in 270 is the Native Americans have found out the good hunting there. I personally have seen them with deer, and seen them harvesting deer in 270. I have heard through the gossip line that a taxidermist in Missoula is paying them $100 a head for horns worth mounting. If this is so he should be chastised and harassed for this..

From: woodsmoke
03-Dec-08
1. Poaching is a very real threat to this area. Most of it is open, accesible by car/truck. Poaching takes place both during the general season and archery and even before and after the seasons are closed.

2. High pressure on the "trophy" bucks has reduced the numbers seen too. The same thing has happened all over this state for years.

3. Combine the above with poor years of feed and then a rough winter many animals don't survive.

From: phutch30
03-Dec-08
Poaching may be a issue but I never saw anything bigger than a 3x3 near a road. Im sure that some big ones are caught there but every deer over 150 I saw was at least 1/2 a mile off a road. However I only spent 2 days driving around the unit in gun season so maybe more big deer are close to the road.

The amount of feed is not an issue here, especially this year. Feed was in plentiful supply.

This unit has tanked in 2 years or less. Its not any one thing. It has to be a combo of several issues that have all come to a head. I spoke with dozens of elk hunters that commented that "last year they saw several big bucks but none this year".

I spent 15 days in Aug and another 7 days in early Sept looking for an upper 180 deer and couldnt find one. Im sure there were some but not like in years past. I dont think this unit grew many big deer this year for what ever reason. I looked over 163 4x4 and 5x5 bucks in those 22 days all of them were 130"-175". I dont think the 180+ deer were poached in July.

From: 2point
03-Dec-08
phutch30, I am curious did you spend any time in the sleeping child drainage. I heard a couple of pigs came out of there this year. I never seen the bucks or pics, so what I heard was second hand and could be BS, I am just curious. 2point

From: phutch30
04-Dec-08
I spent the first 4 days of archery and the 14,15,16 of Nov in there on fresh snow. During archery I passed on 3 mid-upper 170 class deer. I never saw a deer over 150 in there during rifle. I will say this after running down several monster deer leads. One mans pig is another mans 160 class deer. I actually had a guy bring show me a buck rutting does up on a open ridge that he said was a monster, I quote "like 190+, Im positive". I put the spotting scope on him and the buck MIGHT have gone a couple inches over 170. Nice frame, 27 or so wide but nothing in the forks or mass department. I am sure some big deer were shot. Maybe I just had crappy luck in finding big deer. I passed on a 30-31" buck that another guy shot. It was basisically a giant 2 point. Front and rear forks were about 2" long. The guy who shot it was thrilled , biggest deer he had ever seen. It was a brute, but not what I wanted.

From: stickm
04-Dec-08
hey paul, that unit did tank in the last 2 years for some reson, dont know why ,but its sad to see that the big buck numbers are way down from 04,05,06 there were some nice bucks killed then,and i've seen a lot of shooters and a lot of bucks since then just not in the last two years, you did the right thing by not shooting a buck you didnt want. anyway congrats on your elk hunts

RICK

From: Mul Pwr
04-Dec-08
Paul, Sorry I couldn't be of more help to you. I thought about you all season long. Truth is I had nothing to offer. Craig Barret (CB Ranch) killed a 160 buck which was the biggest his "team" could find for him. I can't believe the decline in numbers and quality from last year and especially from what it was 3+ years ago. I commend you for sticking to your standards and not deciding to just "punch the tag" toward the end. Not sure what the problem is over there. Realistically I'd have to say it's a combination of things. Wolves & poaching to mention a couple. I know several landowners who have found dead bucks with the racks cut off and I've seen more than a few in the back of the F&G truck as well as confiscated bucks at Hamilton Pack. I also think that too many permits in the good years took their toll. Part of the problem with that is like you said.... people who think the 150-170 bucks are shooters. Can't grow 180-200+ racks if we kill them before they get a chance to grow. Sure curious what the future holds in 270. Sorry you drew on such a tough year as I'm sure the weather didn't help either. Again though..... I commend you for being such a dedicated and honorable hunter.

From: howler
05-Dec-08
I wonder iof the decline in horn has something to do with the cooler spring/summer we had this year, The cooler weather was statewide and we are hearing similar reports statewide, there have been some real nice deer taken no doubt but it seemed that over-all the quality was down a tad.

From: phutch30
05-Dec-08
It wasnt anything to do with the weather. There was high quality feed up thw wazoo. There is enough feed in that unit to feed twice the deer herd that is there now. I am not really upset that I didnt kill a deer. Im much more upset I waited 11 years to draw this tag only to get it after its tanked. Oh well I thank everyone that gave me help along the way. I also appoligize to those I jumped on for saying the unit had it fact tanked. I just didnt want to hear it. But it was so true. I dont think a good bow hunter would have too much trouble finding a 170 buck in this unit, but I wouldnt hold out for much bigger.

05-Dec-08
PHUTCH30, I didn't get to read your Ram article. What month was that. Also when do the Sheep rut and what area were you in?

From: HornFerigno
06-Dec-08
I live in Hamilton and a friend had the tag this year. He spent lots and lots of days and nights after work during bow season. Ended up settling for a 160ish buck. I would not use my preference points on this tag.

Elk and deer numbers in the bitterroot are in the toilet. I blame everything on the biologist that just move from here to the Seeley. I hear he is using his same snake oil sales up there now. If you hunt in the Seeley, get ready for John Vore to publicise how incredible your hunting is and change the quotas so that your herds get hammered to hell.

ok the wolves dont help either.

From: Mul Pwr
07-Dec-08
Ditto Phutch30... feed everywhere. More than ever! Elk racks were great this year. I know more than a couple 270 tag holders that ate their tags this year. I also saw several bucks at the game check that looked like decent 250 unit shooters and knew before I asked.... they were 270 deer that you wouldn't have looked twice at a year or two ago.

I wondered where John Vore relocated to. I guess I'll read the "Look out Seeley Swan" thread now.

From: woodsmoke
07-Dec-08
For once the feed was plentiful because of the snow pack and the late spring gave us moisture we didn't have in the past. But the feed was of poor quailty from what I could see as it dry cured because we had no rains which I truly believe led to poor horn growth. If the grasses can stay greener longer and cure from a hard freeze in Spet. the critters are much better off.

Elk use both browse and graze all year long. Elk are much more able to adapt to browse. The browse was much less effected by than the grasses in the grazing areas.

From: phutch30
08-Dec-08
Wood smoke, I have to disagree. The forage in 95% of this unit didnt cure out until way after the velvet came off in early Sept. before that it was very lush up high where most of the bucks were. Even after it cures, the protien content doesnt really change much. All you really lose is the moisture not the protein and other nutrients. Also, Mule deer are much more of a browser than elk.

From: speedbow20
09-Dec-08
150-170 isn`t a nice buck?

From: phutch30
09-Dec-08
Depends. In many areas it is. Not in a unit that historically spit out several dozen 180+ bucks a year as well as several over 200".

From: speedbow20
09-Dec-08
Ya, i kind of knew that, I was just ribbin`. I could shoot those 160 class bucks for quuuuuiiiite a while before I got bored with `em tho!

From: phutch30
09-Dec-08
Yup but if you wait 11 years for a tag you really dont want to fill it with a 160 deer.

From: dr. bob
09-Dec-08
Just seen a photo of a muley shot in 270 with a gun looks like about 210.

From: creasy
10-Dec-08
I know what pic you are talking about doc, and that thing has been bouncing around the internet for year,,

From: phutch30
10-Dec-08
I wouldnt be suprised if a couple of pigs were shot. But no where near the numbers that were shot even 2 years ago.

From: creasy
10-Dec-08
A total of 53 bucks went through the Darby check station from HD 270

The buck I think dr bob is talking about was shot in 2006

From: Fulldraw
11-Dec-08
I guess it was a good thing that I didn't draw that tag this year. Hopefully the 160 & 170 class bucks you guys were seeing will be 180+ bucks next year, and maybe I will get lucky and draw a tag.

From: phutch30
11-Dec-08
i really hope it comes back.

I just got an email titled 41" MT buck from 270.Email said it scored just under the state record. When I opened it I had to laugh. It was a friends 270 deer from 2005. It grossed 199 7/8 but due to the front fork configuration it netted 173.

From: dr. bob
11-Dec-08

dr. bob's embedded Photo
dr. bob's embedded Photo
heres the photo

From: phutch30
11-Dec-08
Yup, thats Matts buck. It was shot in 05. Not this year. Lucky SOB hunted 1 day and got him in angle draw. Those little crab claw fronts killed his net score. Those giant g4 were counted as Non typ points. Still who would pass a deer like that 31" wide and long tines.

From: Mul Pwr
12-Dec-08
Angle Draw huh.... not too surprising I guess. That area is under hunted for the unit. Got that pic from Garo this morning and just knew it couldn't be this year. Will the unit make a comeback? Hard to say but it went downhill so fast I guess it could bounce right back.

From: That Kid
16-Dec-08
I am am from that district and my family has been hunting it for three generations now. Its not just the mule deer that are down this year, the elk harvest in 270 was down 45% and I didn't see half the white tail I normally see in my areas. To a degree poaching is a problem, The wolf population in 270 is way too high now and is only getting higher I had a friend last year that shot an elk up off of the Mine road, the wolves were on it before it could go down.On The poaching factor, I think a lot of the big land owners in that area are probably taking a few. I know of one very large ranch that everyone sees elk go onto but the bulls mysteriously disappear each time. And don't forget the bloody massacre from a few years ago when the FWP decided we had to many elk so they opened a few days of the season for either sex elk. I was up there during the first day and got the hell out after being shot at. Anything that moved got shot. The main reason for the bucks not showing? Poor management.

From: Mt. man
18-Dec-08
Funny, I got that same picture in an e-mail today claiming it came off a late hunt in Idaho....LOL.

From: Dry FLM
28-Jul-23
What did you see for elk in the unit?

From: jeck66
31-Jul-23
You are resurrecting a 15 yr old thread!

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