Montana BHA Member, Kim Blakowski shot her first elk and got engaged all in the same outing. This is her story.
4:30 AM....we’re up, dressed, fed, horses are saddled and we are off – chasing the elusive elk. My boyfriend Chris and I are setting-out on horseback, rifles in hand, hoping that we’ll need the horses to pack an elk out for us. This is my second year hunting elk and so far I have been unsuccessful in prior bow and rifle seasons.
As we work our way up the mountain the terrain becomes very steep. Chris, my boyfriend, ties my horse’s lead rope to his horse’s saddle horn and leads them both up the mountain.
I follow closely behind. We approach the top of the mountain and just as we’re almost there my horse loses his footing on some loose shale and starts slipping backwards. It all happens so quickly, yet it replays in slow motion – my horse falling over backwards, pulling the lead horse with him, tumbling end over end down the hill until they tumble out of sight.
I just knew my old horse was dead! We slide down the mountain only to find both horses grazing in the grass at the foot of the mountain. Incredibly, not a single scrape on either one. The lead horses' saddle is completely upside down, but that’s it. Talk about a miracle!
My nerves are shot, so I tell Chris I'm going back to camp with the horses and suggest that he go ahead and hunt without me. After a short discussion, we decide to take the horses back to camp and hike up one of the mountains nearby to glass for elk.
We hike, glass and scout for a couple of hours, then decide it’s time for one of our favorite parts of hunting... an elk nap. We find a comfy spot and doze in the sun for an hour or so then set out again.
We hike for what seems like hours till we find a good looking spot, where we stop to glass the mountain across from us. A group of 5-6 hunters is walking around, laughing and being plain loud. Unbeknownst to them, a nice bull is bedded down on the hillside just below them.
Eventually the hunters walk away and we sit and watch the bull in hopes that he will get up and present me with a shot. After about two hours he finally gets up, takes a couple of steps, then stops. Chris ranges him at 363 yards. I shoot and he drops.
My first elk, how exciting! We hike down the mountain we’re on and up the next to get to my bull, a beautiful 5x5. It’s getting late in the day and so we immediately start cutting and quartering it.
About half way through, Chris says "So...... do you want to get married?" Such a romantic man.
Of course I said yes! We were married exactly a week later on Halloween. We went to South Africa for our "Huntingmoon", a 10 day plains game bow hunt. We continue to bow hunt anything/everything we can get a tag for, enjoying the beautiful Montana wilderness every chance we get.