John's Journal...

You Won’t Strike Out When Hunting With Central Montana Outfitters

Change Terrain, and Hunt Another Big White-Tailed Buck

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I love to do any type of hunting. I’ve learned many years ago that some of the biggest white-tailed deer in the nation live in the Northwest. And, although I love to hunt mule deer, I truly enjoy hunting big whitetails.

So many big mule deer live in this are where Central Montana Outfitter hunts that Schearer usually can find that mule deer buck of a lifetime for any of his hunters within one or two days. My roommate on the hunt was Slaton White, the editor of “Shot Business” in NYC. I’ve hunted with White on another occasion and had known him for several years. I enjoyed being in camp with him almost as much as I enjoyed hunting. A new friend I made on this hunt was Chad Adams, pictured today with his mule deer. Adams took his mule deer on the second day of the hunt, and like me, he really enjoyed our bird hunting in the middle of the day. But on the fourth and fifth days of my hunt, I was the only hunter in camp who hadn’t tagged out. “John, I’ve got another big whitetail that’s been coming out of a canyon, passing by some hay bales and feeding in a big alfalfa field,” Click to enlargeSchearer told me. “I’ve been seeing him almost every day for the last two weeks. This afternoon, I’ll put you out at the hay bales, and that buck should walk within 50 yards of you, an easy range for the Optima Elite .45 black-powder barrel.”

When Schearer took me to the hay bales pied up three stories high that afternoon, he told me to, “Stand here by the hay bales, and look for that big whitetail. When he comes by, take him.” I knew that a better vantage point would be to climb to the top of the hay bales so I could see much further, have my scent much higher in the air and be more likely to spot the big buck long before he got within black-powder range. I also knew Schearer wouldn’t suggest to any of his hunters that anyone attempt to climb a three-story hay bale. The liability would be too much. So, once Schearer was out of sight, I climbed to the top of the hay bales and made me a little room inside the bales that I could peep out of it and see into the back of the canyon where the buck should be bClick to enlargeedded-down. I also could watch the area all the way across the alfalfa field, which was 1/2- to 3/4-mile wide. About 1-1/2-hours before dark, I started seeing deer, including a doe and a fawn and some small bucks – all passing to within 50 yards or less of my stand. As I studied the back of the brushy draw, I watched as a doe stood up and looked nervously behind the spot from where she’d been laying. Then I saw him! I don’t know exactly how many points this monster whitetail had, but he was much bigger than 150 B&C. He had some abnormal points coming off his main beam, and he was the type of buck you dream of seeing. He was as tuned-in to that doe as someone who was watching TV with only one channel from which to choose. He never was more than 25 feet behind her. When the doe and the buck headed my way, I had to calm myself down to get ready for the shot. An old fence row was about 370 yards from my three-story hay bale. Once again, I’d used my Bushnell range finder to check the distance.

The doe started moving out of the back of the draw and arrived at the fence row with the buck following her. She bedded-down on the fence row, and he bedded-down about 30 yards from her on the same fence row. “All I’ve got to do is wClick to enlargeait for that doe to get hungry and come to this alfalfa field, and I’ll have the opportunity to take the biggest buck of my life,” I told myself. But as the shadows got longer, and the temperatures dropped, the doe stood up. Instead of taking the trail by the stack of hay where I was and out into the alfalfa field, she turned right around and went back in the brushy draw from where she’d come originally, taking my trophy whitetail with her. All I could do was watch as they vanished into the deep brush. Then just before dark, I had two huge mule deer come out of the brush, move to within 100 yards of my hay bale look-out and start to fight. Both of these bucks were shooters, and I was tempted, since my tag was good for a mule deer or a white-tailed buck. The battle ended as the light faded even more, and both of these mulie bucks walked to within 30 yards of my hay bales, headed toward the alfalfa field. I’d already cocked the hammer and picked out the biggest buck. I told myself, “This shot is a chip shot.” I put the crosshairs on the big buck’s front shoulder. However, when he stopped, instead of squeezing the trigger, I put my thumb on the hammer and let it down. I said to myself, “I may regret this, but I really want to take a big whitetail. So, I’ll hunt this big white-tailed buck again in the morning in the draw at first light. If I don’t see him by 10:00 am, I’ll get the .270 barrel from Chad, put it on the Optima Elite in place of the .45 caliber black-powder barrel and hunt a mule deer tomorrow afternoon.”

To learn more about CVA’s top-quality black-powder guns, click on

For more information on Central Montana Outfitters, call or email Chad Schearer,;; (406) 727-4478

You can learn more about Bushnell’s quality products at

Tomorrow: The Final Decision About Mule Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "You Won’t Strike Out When Hunting With Central Montana Outfitters"

Day 1: I Found a Couple of Them
Day 2: Tomorrow: The Adventure Begins
Day 3: Take a Break And Hunt Pheasants And Partridges
Day 4: Change Terrain, and Hunt Another Big White-Tailed Buck
Day 5: The Final Decision About Mule Deer



Entry 385, Day 4