Edge Hunting Billings MT

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Woodston Diversion Dam
(406) 657-6218
316 North 26th Street
Billings, MT
Other Activties
Hunting; Wildlife Viewing; Winter Sports

Fresno Reservoir
(406) 247-7298
P.O. Box 30173
Billings, MT
Other Activties
Boating; Fishing; Hunting; Picnicking; Water Sports; Winter Sports

Custer National Forest
(406) 248-9885
1310 Main Street
Billings, MT
Other Activties
Auto Touring; Biking; Camping; Fishing; Hiking; Historic & Cultural Site; Horseback Riding; Hunting; Interpretive Programs; Off Highway Vehicle; Picnicking; Recreational Vehicles; Visitor Center; Wildlife Viewing; Winter Sports

Sports Authority
(406) 656-3888
Rimrock Village, 100 N. 24th Street West
Billings, MT
Services
Golf Hitting Cage, Golf Trade-In Program, Ski-Snowboard Rentals & Jr. Season Lease, Ski-Snowboard/Bike Tech Shop, Firearms/Hunting, Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Delivery & Assembly
Hours
Monday - Saturday: 9:00am - 9:30pm
Sunday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Holiday hours may vary.

Tims Gunsmithing
613 5Th Ave
Laurel, MT
 
Almena Diversion Dam
(406) 247-7714
316 North 26th Street
Billings, MT
Other Activties
Hunting; Wildlife Viewing

Nelson Reservoir
(406) 247-7298
P.O. Box 30137
Billings, MT
Other Activties
Boating; Camping; Fishing; Hunting; Picnicking; Recreational Vehicles; Water Sports; Winter Sports

Sunshine Sports
(406) 252-3724
304 MOORE ST
Billings, MT
 
Laurel Rifle Club
406628460
Po Box 21
Laurel, MT
 
Laurel Rod & Gun Club
(406) 628-6292
Riverside Park
Laurel, MT
 

Hunt the "Edges" for Deer

Author: 
Jim Boyd

The massive buck eases up through holly, elm, gum, bay and oak trees. He skirts a dense tangle of trees and a blown down white oak, ever so slowly. At 6.5 years old, he is one of the monarchs in the forest.

Normally secretive and entirely nocturnal, these shortening days find him still roaming in spite of the coming daylight.

A light dusting of frost lies on the ground, the first of the year, and acorns crunch underfoot, but hunger is not on his mind.

Romance is, however.

The cold weather is like a spark plug to him – he is keyed up and very alert…

Not quite yet daylight, he stops below the crest of the hill, allowing the slightest of wind currents to come gently to him. Using the incredible power of his nose, he is searching for what he must find – a receptive doe… while he must remain aware of any foes that may be in the area. He knows that a fight can erupt at any moment this time of the year and he is entirely unafraid – but still wants to know of other bucks in the area.

He knows where his pawed areas are and he will check them.

Soon. 

Moments pass and only the faintest aroma of male comes to his nose… nothing to indicate a receptive female.

Scanning left and right, he is also very aware of an increased human presence in the woods and constantly searches for that scent, as well.

Moving upwards, toward the crest of the hill he stops and rakes his antlers, slowly but with tremendous force, on a 5” cedar that he has used a signpost for the last three years. Shredded bark falls as he grinds the tree. The trunk of the tree is twisted and gnarly looking from years of abuse. 

The black darkness that was pure night a moment ago has begun to fade to shades of gun metal grey… but still he stands, listening and checking the wind currents…

Finding no news on the now freshening breeze, he steps fully into the old logging road. The road separates the planted pines on the top of the hill from the old hardwood growth as the land falls down toward the creek. 

Scrapes dot the road for many yards in both directions under the overhanging oak limbs. Some of the scrapes are 48” in diameter and 4-5” deep and many reek of fresh urine and feces. The licking branches are laced with male buck smell.

Completely shredded pine trees also line the area, some bent over and destroyed by the aggressive bucks in the area.

This is a deer intersection, where trails all converge. It is the equivalent of where Main meets First Street in Anytown, USA… It is a gathering place for does and bucks alike… even more so during the rut – as the scrapes and tree rubs all indicate.

The buck moves forward to the deepest of the scrapes and begins the process of raking deeply into the dirt and then raising up on his hind legs to gain the higher of the licking branches, biting and chewing to leave the most scent possible. He knows many bucks and does visit the area and wants to take full advantage of this – by leaving his “prese...

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