t's said that a trophy mule deer is the
most difficult trophy to collect these days. Here at Cowboy
Heaven Consulting, hunting big muleys is a special passion of
ours, and we've spent many years in pursuit of those mossy-horned
bruisers. In the process we've learned a great deal about
where to find those big guys, and perhaps moreso, where you're
not likely to find them. The majority of elk hunts offered
in western MT are promoted as combination hunts, with deer also
a possibility. With a few exceptions, which tend to be
toward the upper end of the price scale, your odds of killing
a seriously large deer in the same areas you'll be elk hunting
just aren't too great. On most of the elk hunts we offer,
the possibility for a 22-24" mule deer scoring in the 150
Boone & Crockett point range are at least reasonable, but
if you're looking for a genuine trophy deer in the 180-200+
B & C range, for all practical purposes you should dedicate
a hunt just for that. There's a handful of deer of that
caliber in some parts of western MT, but for a host of reasons
that even professional biologists don't agree on, while elk
populations are exploding in the west, mule deer are in decline
in many regions. Not everywhere, though!! We are
familiar with regions in eastern MT that consistently produce
trophy bucks, with awesome trophies over 200 B & C taken
nearly every year. For instance, check
out the adjacent photo of my buck taken in 1998. He's
perhaps the trophy of a lifetime, 29 6/8" wide, with a
net B & C non-typical score of 205 7/8. He's
an exceptional buck, but we represent outfitters who average
around 175 B & C points, and provide a realistic chance
at one of those 195-200+ B & C brutes. We feel
that eastern MT is vastly underrated as a trophy mule deer destination.
Most people seem to gravitate toward states like Arizona, Utah,
and Nevada, but you're facing long drawing odds to get a permit
in those states. In Montana, you can hunt big mule deer
every year if you desire! And we do!!
While mule deer are our special passion, Montana also offers some outstanding whitetail
deer hunting. We're familiar with areas where there's potential for a mind-boggling
200 point whitetail, although you certainly can't plan on coming home with one of that
caliber. A whitetail in the 150 point range is a good possibility, though.
Plus, Montana offers one of the longest hunting seasons anywhere, a full six weeks of
archery and five weeks of rifle season. So, let's go deer hunting.....
Warning: These hunts book up real fast, with a high proportion
of returning clients. That's the kind of operation you want to go with, obviously,
so plan ahead and book early!!
- This is the operation we mentioned earlier that averaged
an incredible 185 B & C points. Alas, due to drought
that number has slipped a few notches the last two years (but
this outfitter and the adjacent one below are still taking
muleys that compare real favorably with any in the west).
It consists of several private ranches in eastern Montana,
including one that has a long-standing
reputation as the place in Montana to kill a Boone
& Crockett class muley. The outfitter is absolutely
top-notch, and takes his game management seriously.
In fact, he is retained as a wildlife management consultant
by several of the premier trophy hunting ranches throughout
the west. Harvests are strictly limited, and adjusted
from year to year as necessary to maximize trophy potential.
You simply won't find a higher quality operation anywhere,
at any price. These hunts are in high demand and book
up fast, so don't delay if a giant muley is high on your list.
$4750-$5800, depending on ranch and time of season.
- We talk to a lot of people in our research, and this outfitter's
kept coming up in muley discussions with our sources.
Not only do their clients collect some of the biggest deer
taken statewide every season, but even some of his outfitter
peers say he's perhaps the best hunter amongst them. An average
score of 175 B&C for 2003 speaks for itself. These are
combination hunts; after you get your deer you can hunt turkeys,
upland birds, varmints, or go fishing. We're thrilled
to be offering these hunts, as well as his Bighorn river fishing
trips and varmint hunts. Accomodations are at a deluxe
lodge, with hunting taking place on carefully managed private
land that offer an excellent chance for a wallhanger muley.
Five-day hunts cost $4000 1 X 1, $3500 2 X 1.
- This operation has maintained at or very near 100% success
for over 16 years now, and consistently take trophy class
Hunting takes place on vast tracts of private land; their
own ranch as well as leased property of neighbors in the Powder
River basin. Combination hunts the first two weeks of
the season provide excellent chances for both deer and antelope,
as well as Merriam's turkeys, upland birds, and varmints.
The final three weeks of the season are primarily deer hunts
during the peak rut, although opportunities for birds and
varmints are also available. The cost for both the combination
and the trophy deer hunts are $3000 2 X 1 for a five-day hunt.
1 X 1 is an extra $700.
- Everybody should experience a hunting trip in the famous
Missouri Breaks, and who knows, it could prove habit forming.
This is one
of, if not the, top outfitter in the Breaks. Fourth-generation
working ranch family hosts a wide variety of hunting &
fishing opportunities, but we're mainly talking deer at the
moment, so.... This is one operation that also has superb
whitetail hunting. 20,000 acres of private land, plus
a staggering amount of BLM, C.M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, and
other public lands provide near-limitless opportunity, and
consequently they have run within spitting distance of 100%
success for a real long time now. Modern accomodations
are available at the ranch, and a mobile camp trailer provides
flexibility. Cost is $2700 for a fully guided 5-day
hunt. You can add two additional days and make it an
antelope combo for an additional $500.
- New for '04, we're tickled to be offering hunts with another
very highly regarded Missouri Breaks outfitter. The Breaks
some dandy mulies again, and this outfitter also really shines
on whitetails, not to mention antelope and archery elk. 100%
opportunity on deer and antelope since 1991, with 97% capitalizing
on that opportunity, speaks for itself. 5-day archery deer
hunts start at $2250, and you can add antelope and elk (unlimited
licenses available on both) in every possible combination.
5-day rifle mule deer hunts are $2750, with very limited availability
high-end whitetail rifle hunts for $3500. Antelope can be
added as a combo to the rifle hunts for an additional $500.
Lodging varies with the hunt, and ranges from fully furnished
cabins to camper trailers and wall tents. High game densities,
4X4 accessibility, spot and stalk cover, experienced local
guides, and the Break's proven record for trophy production
put this one on the short list.
- These archery or rifle hunts take place in the Big Snowy
Mountains of central Montana, on over 40,000 acres of primarily
Success rates have run from 85 to 100%, over a twenty-plus
year period. Hunting methods cover the spectrum of rattling,
calling, still hunting, spot & stalk, and tree stands,
depending on season and species.. This hunt is priced very
reasonably at $2300 for a 5-day rifle deer hunt. Add a day
and make it a deer/antelope combo (90%+ non-resident antelope
drawing odds in this area) for only $2650. 6-day archery deer
hunts are $1800, 7-day archery deer/antelope combo $2200,
6-day archery deer/elk combo $2750, or archery hunt all three
species; 9 days for $3600.