Howdy Friends –
2015 started out like any other year for us, we had a full summer schedule on the books and looked forward to the fall run as nearly 70 % of our clients were repeat clients or referrals. And then the phone rang! A young fellow by the name of Kenny Low was on the other end inquiring about information obtaining an outfitter permit in the Bob Marshall Complex. We visited in detail about any potential opportunities that we could think of and at the end of the conversation; I told him if he couldn’t find anything, he could always make an offer and buy the K Lazy Three…
Less than a week went by and Kenny called back and asked if we were serious about selling the K Lazy Three. I was silent for quite some time before I responded that I wasn’t sure but we could sit down and talk about it. In the last couple of years, Julie and I have started to think about scaling back, but had not really put a timeline on what or when that would be. After all, the K Lazy Three has been a major part of our life. We have put in long hours and the tens of thousands of miles in the saddle to build the outfit up that we are proud of and represent as one of the “Best in Class”, in the services that we offer. So we decided to show Kenny the ropes this season to make sure the reputation of the K Lazy Three continues well on into the future.
We had 8 summer pack/fishing trips into the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas.
Highlights included the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Stewardship packtrip in June where we serviced 28 people and had 43 head of stock in two separate camps. In July we had retired outfitters Sam and Gary Duffy come to Meadow Creek with some of their former clients for 8 days of rest and solitude. The group had been on several other pack trips throughout the years and at the end of the trip, they thanked us for all the hard work by the crew, the outstanding horses that they rode, the great food in camp, and proclaimed it was their best packtrip yet, and vowed to return in 2017. In August we had a group of 8 guys on the Scapegoat Mountain trip. In the 18 years providing outfitted pack trips in the complex, this was the best one that I can remember. The fishing was great and the majority of the trip was spent riding high elevation off trail country. This included white knuckle riding on a mountain goat trail to get to the plateau on top of Scapegoat Mountain and it took a venturous soul to explore the nearly 10 miles of cave system at Green River. (We went about a ¼ mile in!) In early September we packed in the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists for their continued research on the Westslope Cutthroat Trout.
September also meant hunting season is here! During the archery hunt in the Deer Creeks, the bulls were in full rut and we called in 12 bulls during the 5 day hunt! All 4 hunters shot at bulls at 30 yards or less, but only managed to connect on 2 bulls. It was one of those hunts that you just did not want to see come to an end! The archery hunts have been so exciting and productive, that we are planning on expanding to 2 hunts for 2017.
Off to the Scapegoat for the September 15th early season rifle opener. Guy and Kenny ran Camp Creek and proceeded to chase around one of the biggest bulls we have ever seen in that country. Guy figures him to be in the 360 -380 class. Also on the hunt was 14 time return hunter, Sean Batunkyi from Pennsylvania. Sean has harvested a few smaller 5 and 6 point bulls over the years but keeps coming back looking for the “Big Bull”. Early one foggy morning, Guy spotted the big bull and the hunt was on. Working the terrain and fog all morning got them amongst the herd. Guy also had another hunter from Pennsylvania along on the stalk and just as they were getting into position for a shot on the big bull, the second hunter pulled up his gun and shot. Guy asked him what he had shot, but did not get a clear answer. Upon further inspection, the second hunter had shot a spike bull and the big bull made a clean get away. In an instance, Sean’s once in a lifetime bull was gone… But Sean is booked in for his 15th time next year, in pursuit of the big bull. Kenny had a pair of hunters from New York and nearly had the daily double in the head of Camp Creek, but Tony was able to make the long shot to harvest his 5 point bull. We got it going in Meadow Creek as well when Kerry took Brian for the long hunt up Scotty Creek. The 6 point that they were after was very vocal but refused to leave his cows. A 3 hour cat and mouse pursuit ensued. In the end, Brian has a nice 6 point to take back home to Vermont. Bill brought his son out from North Dakota in pursuit of his first elk. On the last day, William had an opportunity to harvest a cow and decided to do so. Just after he had shot the cow, a nice 6 point stepped out of the timber. Most of the time patience’s pays off, but William was extremely excited nevertheless. Guy found another curious 5 point in Camp Creek and his hunter claimed his prize.
October can typically be the time of the year when the herd bulls become most vulnerable and this year was true to form. I had been working a deep growly bugling bull for the first two hunts, but not only had I not killed him, we had not seen him yet. On the 3rd morning of the hunt, as Dan and I were hiking up the ridge in the dark, Dan stated that he would be ok shooting a cow today. I said let’s just see how the day unfolds. 10 minutes after sunrise, I spotted a cow 200 yards from us and a few seconds later, a bull appeared behind her. Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the bull was totally covered up by branches and there was only about a 2 second window where he passed thru an opening. After the bull passed thru the opening, I realized how big he was and was fearful that we would not get a shot. Another 5 minutes went by before the herd grazed back out into some scattered timber. After some not so suttle prompting of Dan to “take him”, the shot rang out. It was a beautiful sight to see the huge 370 class 6 x 7 finally on the ground after 3 weeks of pursuit. And I have no doubt that Dan would have shot a cow that morning and have been thoroughly satisfied with his hunt. On day 4, Per from Sweden, was stepping up his game as he had come along way for his hunt and wanted to be successful. I matched him up with Logan, as their stride covering the mountains, seemed comparable. (aka Logan likes to go hard all day, every day!!) Late it the afternoon, after scaling to the top of Pyramid, (8700 + feet) Logan spotted a herd with 2 bulls, a mere 600 yards away from them. The spot and stalk was on and Per took his 6 x 6 in the throat at 40 yards. On the last hunt, it seemed like the bulls were playing possum with Tony. He had a rifle capable of making the long shot and early on I put him to the test. A beautiful ivory tipped 6 x 6 in Lost Pony, finally grazed into position and Tony had a rock solid rest for the 440 yard shot. The bullet landed well to the right of the bull and so opportunity # 1 was over. On the next day, we tried a closer shot on opportunity #2, but the bull standing looking at us at 60 yards away, left unscathed as well. On the very next day, Tony decided to take it a little bit easier and stay closer to camp. After finding a great spot next to the creek for a rest, Tony’s eyes got a little heavy. The splashing of the water upstream awakened Tony and it was not a mirage, it was a real live 5 point bull drinking out of the creek, and opportunity #3 is in front of him! Tony said he seen the bullet hit the water to the right of the bull even though he was 70 yards away. Cousin Joe also took the honor of being the only hunter that I ever had, be able to shoot at an elk from the fire pit in front of camp. I said “at an elk” because the first year 6 point went into the timber and left the usually sure shot Joe, shaking his head.
Its November now and finally our first snow has arrived. Guy and Jerry are taking 16 year old Jackson and his dad up the Boulder drainage in hopes of filling his coveted mountain goat tag. The snow is a lot deeper at 9500 feet this time of year, but the long hair on the billies keeps us going back. Meanwhile, in the Deer Creeks, Sean Ward gets his very first elk and it’s a nice first year 6 point. Syd and Paul get their mulie bucks and finally we hear from Jerry that there will be 4 more for supper, Jackson got his goat on the first day of the hunt with one shot and the K Lazy Three is now 17 of 17 on mountain goat hunts.
A pair of father and son combo’s provided the firepower for the second hunt. Charlie got it started on the first day by passing up a 400 + yard shot and later we were able to harvest his first bull elk at 60 yards. Joe was a proud Dad to be standing in the picture with his son and another nice 6 point bull. Later in the day, Jeff finally persuaded Logan to let him shoot a respectable 4 X 5 mulie than was close to the horses. Surround and conquer was the game plan mid-week, as we had spotted a 5 X 5 bull grazing by himself. We surrounded the ridge and Ben was the lucky one to get his eyes on the bull first…
On the third hunt we had all return clients, so they knew what was ahead of them. Charlie wasted no time and as soon as the snow storm cleared and we put the warming fire out, he bagged a nice heavy horned 5 X 5 mulie. On the next day in was another surround and conquer hunt. I had spotted a big mature 6 point bull and the game plan was set into motion. Eric was on point when the bull tried to give us the slip, but in the end the huge 6 point bull is headed to Washington State. Don has made a career out of making the extremely long shot with us. He is set up for long range shooting and can back it up. He has harvested a bull at 730 yards and a mulie at 570 in years past. I found a bull bedded on the last day of the hunt, but even this distance was just a little out of range – 1550 yards. We were able to move down the canyon and get the distance to just under 1000 yards and then waited to see what the bull is going to do once he decided to move. Nearly an hour passed before the bull got out of his bed and to my surprise, he started heading in our direction. It looked as though if he stayed the course he would end up around 500 yards across the canyon from us. Once the bull got into the 700 + range, Don started to ask when he should shoot. It wasn’t easy to convince Don to wait as the bull steadily marched closer. Not only did the bull get to the 500 yard mark, he eventually worked his way straight across from us and had his head down feeding at 404 yards. It must have seemed like forever to Don, but I finally give him the green light to shoot. One more final adjustment to the scope and the shot was launched. The bull jerked his head up and looked around; it had appeared that the shot had missed. Don took slow and steady aim again and set a second one toward the bull, again the bull looked around, then started to work his way down the mountain. As I was in the middle of cussing Don’s shooting ability, the bull started to tumble and slide down the mountain. Upon closer inspection, the bull had 2 holes about an inch apart, placed perfectly behind the shoulder. Don’s long range attempts are still perfect with the K Lazy 3! Jennifer, Kevin and Kurt also took some nice mulie bucks to finish out the season and 2016 is in the books.
I hope you had an exciting and productive 2015 hunting season. We just finished up our Scapegoat Wilderness and Deer Creek hunts with this season being another successful year! We harvested 14 brow-tined bulls and 8 mule deer bucks, which gave us a 42% harvest and a 65% opportunity rate. The 2015 animals can be viewed at http://klazy3.com/photo-gallery/ Be sure to call several references for any hunt you decide to go on, we list ALL of our previous years hunters at http://klazy3.com/hunting-trips/montana-hunting-references/
Our 2016 Scapegoat Wilderness 2 on 1 hunt rates are $4500.00 per person, divided as follows. $600.00 down to book your hunt spot, $1500.00 due 5/1/15(once your license is in hand), and the balance of $2400.00 is due upon arrival for your hunt.
Our 2016 Deer Creek 2 on 1 hunt rates are $3200.00 per person, divided as follows. $600.00 down to book your hunt spot, $1200.00 due 5/1/16(once your license is in hand), and the balance of $1400.00 is due upon arrival for your hunt.
Due to the passage of citizen’s initiative I-161 on November 2nd 2010, the guaranteed outfitter sponsored license is no longer available in Montana. All licenses issued in 2011 – 2015 were on a random draw. However, the non-resident combination license (elk/deer/fishing) has had a 100% success rate every year in the draw and there were around 1200 licenses still available through the fall hunting season. For the 2016 season, I anticipate a 100% success rate for the combination license as well, providing your application is submitted prior to the March 15th deadline.
Montana also has a new non-resident preference point system that allows 75% of the licenses to go to the applicants with the highest amount of preference points. Give me a call and I can help you through the application process. Even if you are unsure about your future hunt plans in Montana, it is a wise decision to start building preference points for use in the future.
2016 License Rates: All licenses have a March 15th application
Combination (Elk & Deer) (Deer only) (Elk only)
$1001.00 $597.00 $851.00
2015 was a year of big change for the K Lazy 3 and in the end Kenny Low proved he is a worthy individual to carry on the “Best of Class” traditions of the K Lazy 3 in the Scapegoat Wilderness. In 2016, I will continue to work with Kenny to make sure the past and future clients of the K Lazy 3 continue to have memorable trips into Montana’s Wilderness. Julie and I will continue to outfit and ranch in the Deer Creeks, so whether it’s the Scapegoat Wilderness and Kenny Low or the Deer Creeks and Brett & Julie Todd, we will be here to help guide your next great backcountry experience!
Julie and I would just like to thank everyone who has helped us over the last 20 years, whether it was guiding, packing, cooking or helping Julie on the ranch. We have been surrounded by some awesome friends and great family. We also want to thank everyone for the GREAT memories and life-long friendships we have made, and hope to continue building on those well into the future!
20 some years from now, when I am nearing the end of my run in the mountains, it won’t be all of the animals we called in or stalked and harvested that I will recall; it will be the friendship and camaraderie of the back country experiences that I will cherish. See you on the mountain next year!