Success Story: Big Sky Public Land Bulls ft. Braedon Pennington

December 20, 2022 4 min read

Success Story: Big Sky Public Land Bulls ft. Braedon Pennington

Big Sky Public Land Bulls ft. Ambassador Braedon Pennington 

By Braedon Pennington

The quest for my first bull elk continued this year after myself and three of my close friends drew our big game combination tags. Was this going to be the year I finally got to walk up and lay my hands on a public land bull, something that I have dreamed of harvesting since I was a little boy! Fast forward after seven months of preparation of gear and escouting on the hunt wise app looking at locations we have hunted before and new territory getting a game plan, it was time to hit the mountains!

Mobile hunting is a key factor in success when it comes to hunting elk and mule deer in the mountains of Montana and we were ready for the task. With my  Sumpter packed full of my gear we hit the mountains in hopes of gaining intel looking for fresh sign and trying to locate the herds of elk migrating out of the mountains into lower ground.

The next couple days consisted of miles hiking and glassing draws, and mountain sides looking for a bull.  In amongst those first few days of glassing and scouting I spotted a mule buck that caught my attention and decided to put the stalk on him, closing the distance on him I was presented a clean ethical shot opportunity and dropped him in his tracks. A beautiful 3x3 buck my second and biggest mule deer to date.

With being mobile and deep in the cut you better be prepared to pack out your harvest and that is just what I had to do, but thankfully I had my trophyline sumpter pack and put the internal frame pack to use, making a breeze for carrying all my meat and head out! Riding the high of filling one tag in the first few days of the hunt and gaining the intel we were looking for on elk we headed into the last three days at this location with a great feeling of getting within range of a bull. These days were like all the others, we would split into groups of two to cover more ground and find the best glassing points to locate the heard. Going into the last evening at this location I spotted a herd of fifty cows and three bulls, just onto the private ground unfortunately.  As light faded and watching the group fade off over the ridge, I told myself – “tomorrow is going to be the day. We have been on elk all week and they have been cutting the distance closer each day, they are going to slip up tomorrow morning and be in the draw we have watched all week.”
As the last morning approached, we ate our breakfast and game planned what was the best option for our final morning hunting in this location before we packed up and went and checked out a different location. [something we as a group had planned before the trip started]. As a group we all agreed to get to the glassing point overlooking the draw we have seen good sign in. Scanning the area right after daybreak I spotted what looked to be a big body animal coming out of the draw, it was a BULL not only one bull but three!
The excitement and nervousness running through my body was next to none as we all gathered ourselves and got into position to try and harvest these bulls. Our one buddy ranged them at 650 yards, as I dialed my turret to the proper calculation and settled into the scope in the moment everyone was stunned, like is this really going to happen on the last morning in this area. It was a now or never moment each of us picked out a bull we were going to try to shoot. 1….2….3. and the cracks of guns went off. The moment I have waited for my whole life just became a reality, a moment I got to share with three of my best friends.  But to sweeten the pot, we got all three of the bulls. As I walked up to my bull and laid my hands on him for the first-time emotions were flooding my body, I was in pure shock, is this real life did I just end the quest to harvesting my first bull, HELL YEAH, I DID! 
These are the moments I live for; memories being made with some of my best friends that will last a lifetime. This is why I hunt, the highs and lows, the unexpected surprises that keep you coming back year in and year out. Its truly an obsession and one that I truly enjoy each year!
ABOUT: Braedon Pennington is a Trophyline Ambassador, mainly running mobile hunts on whitetails and occasionally helping out a saddle event, you may have even seen him at the outdor show in Harrisburg PA this past year! 



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