16 Jan Montana River Bottom Revenge
Montana River bottom revenge!
Hunting with Jeff Jerome of Deep in the Bush Adventures
You know when you meet someone for the first time you either know you want to hunt with that person or you don’t. This was one of those exact moments we met Jeff Jerome and right off the bat we knew this was going to be a long friendship.
Jeff has only one gear and it is full throttle forward with no backing up. He has run his Montana outfit for nearly 20 years and although he is a crazy Wildman from New York he is a father, husband, and a guy who is willing to help anyone. His stories will keep you laughing for days, his drive is second to none for his clients to have success and his hunting skills are top notch.
We have been hunting with Jeff in both his Montana outfit and his Saskatchewan bear camp. We have not been successful on every hunt but that never stopped us from going back hunting with him. He is not one of those guys that spent a million bucks on the lodge to entertain, he is always in search of retaining more land to keep his clients and friends in some of the best hunting you could imagine.
We had hunted two previous years with Jeff in Montana for whitetail deer. Each trip we saw some great deer and even though we all worked together moving sets, chasing the movement it seemed we just couldn’t put it together. It was not Jeff ‘s fault but rather the weather seemed to switch winds once we got the patterns figured out, or high winds just stopped the animal movement. Whatever could go wrong did.
Many would blame the outfitter but when we saw the game, we continually kept saying we knew they were here. So last October we headed from Colorado up to Jeffs’. RJ was going to experience his first western whitetail bow hunt and we knew who better to go with then Jeff.
The pre-scouting paid off for Jeff & Jake built an elevated Muddy blind up on one of the alfalfa fields near camp where they had great deer movement. On our way there we found out they had a massive flood and the field was underwater…. We thought what the hell! Another year of getting our butts kicked in! So we didn’t hunt the field for the first couple of days but rather sit on high vantage points to try and figure out what they were doing. The bucks were staying to the NE and not coming into the fields even though the water had subsided and left the field. But sure enough after a few days they did return and RJ did get a shot with his Hoyt RX3 at the big 10Pt but ended up just missing with his arrow dropping short of the distance.
He was heartbroken but Jeff and everyone did what they do and got RJ’s spirits back up and told him everyone misses and that is part of the hunt. While all this was going on I was actively trying to move on a couple good bucks we knew were in the area. After seeing a lot of smaller bucks nearly on every sit, Jeff found a spot he wanted to hang a new set. So after our morning hunt we packed in our Muddy ladder and hang-on and quickly put it up knowing it was going to rain that afternoon. In which we liked the idea to help wash away some of our scent in the area. The rain would pass that evening and we kept checking the wind to make sure it would be good for our new sit. We woke up and sure enough we had our wind, so Jeff took us out and Terry & I walked a few hundred yards and got into our new river bottom set.
It wasn’t long until we spotted some deer coming off the fields from feeding all night and a nice 8pt came right to us, and actually smelled our scent from the afternoon before hanging the set. He was nervous but didn’t have a clue where we were. Some does and yearlings feed through and we could see a bunch of deer in back of us heading to the bedding coming off other trails. All of a sudden I whispered to Terry good buck at 1 o’clock. So when we get up in stands of blinds we work together trying to survey over all the area and we mark off our 12:00 spot and then direct where we spot something to get a quicker fix on position.
So Terry was watching all the deer in back of us and as I whispered good buck, Terry never thought it was the size he was…. Surprise and the sits and close encounters for the past two years just proved our hunch that hunting with Jeff would be incredible. The buck had kickers, and never knew we were there. He slowly walked from our left to right following the creek line; I had ranged the distance before and came to full draw. He was walking a bit faster so I came to full draw holding my pin at 25 yds. on his chest let out a bleat and he stopped looking in our direction and before he knew anything my FMJ tipped with the trusty Spitfire was on its way and went right through the bread basket and he only ran 40 yards or so and piled up.
We quickly texted Jeff & Jake to let them know we just shot a buck, and his quick response was “Be there in a few.” They were back at camp getting ready for more hunters coming in. As they approached we already had recovered the buck and dragged him to a spot to load him on the cart and get him out of our new honey hole spot. I will never forget the look on their faces when they came around the brush and saw the buck, it was awesome. There on the ground was a 170+ Montana whitetail and thanks to the constant drive of Jeff for always trying to locate new spots for everyone this buck got the one-way ticket back to IL.
Even though he was a monster of a whitetail, the ultimate was with all the game movement we had seen we all decided to get RJ and Keenan up in that set once we got the right winds again and it took two days but they were set up in the am.
When we got the text buck down! I can honestly tell you we all went crazy and the dad in me kicked in and wanted to get there as soon as possible.
We loaded up the deer cart and off we went to the river bottom honey hole stand and as we were walking in we saw deer all over and hurried up and glassed and could see RJ was standing with bow in hand so we just sat down right in the trees and watched. For about an hour we could see him and Keenan up in the stand filming and watching. He never shot but was just enjoying all the deer around them and laying down some great footage.
We got in there once all the deer walked through and the smile on both of these young men were worth it all. RJ had shot his first Montana buck with his Hoyt bow and his bud, Keenan, who is his field producer just got it all on camera. It was such a proud moment to see what all Vicki & I had created would be in good hands for the future.
Jeff made RJ and Keenan track the buck and he only ran about 50 yards or so. I have to admit there were a couple of tears that rolled from this dad and knowing how Jeff is so committed to his kids and the outdoors it was one of the highlights of my life and can’t thank Jeff & Jake enough.
The moral of the story is simple, don’t judge a hunt by cutting a tag, we followed our gut and knowing Jeff and understanding his drive to success for everyone it may not happen every hunt but when it does, WOW it will be priceless. Jeff is the real deal and if you’re looking for a great western hunt with no BS, you need to talk to Deep In The Bush Adventures with Jeff Jerome.
We will hunt with him for as long as he will have us…