The following is my trip report from a recent adventure with Powder River Outfitters for pronghorn.  The report is based on a North American Hunting Club format.    

Grading format:  Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, Not Applicable
 
Three pronghorn feed near a water tank.  Can you spot the third?. 

1) Outfitter: Powder River Outfitters booked through Close Encounters booking agent Gary Martin.

2) Owner: Powder River Outfitters, Ken Greslin.  Close Encounters, Tom Close.

3) Address:  Powder River Outfitters, Box 678, Broadus, MT 59317.  Close Encounters, 989 Highway 48, Luck, WI 54853.   

4) Phone: Powder River (406)436-2538.  Close Encounters, (715)472-8253.

5) E-mail: Powder River, pat@davegardnercpa.com.  Close Encounters, tom@closeencountersbowhunts.com.

6) When: August 15-19, 2009

7) Where: Broadus, MT

8) Guided: Fully   

9) Drop: No

10) Transportation to hunting area: Truck driven by guide. 

11) Accommodations: Mobile homes for sleeping accommodations.  Separate kitchen/dining house.    

12) Trophy hunt only: No

13) Species hunted / harvested: Pronghorn / none.

14) Tools used: Compound bow.

15) Land hunted: Private

16) Cost: Booked at rate of $1300 per person for five day hunt including food, lodging, guiding and trophy care.  Check with outfitter for current rates.  Additional costs:  Travel (shared) $112.00, licenses/tags $246.00, tips $66.00.    

17) Challenging terrain adversely affect hunt: No

18) Did weather adversely affect hunt: Yes     

19) Quantity of game: Excellent

20) Quality of game: Excellent

21) Guide’s Competence: Fair   

22) Guide’s Hunting Ethics: Fair

23) Condition of Equipment: Good  

24) Food: Good   

25) Trophy care: Not Applicable    

26) Meat care: Not Applicable   

27) Number of outfitted / guided hunts for myself: 8

28)  Recommended: Yes        

29)  General comments:  The area around Broadus was suffering from some pronghorn winterkill and the weather through out the summer had been wet.  However, there were plenty of good bucks.  Temperatures were mild and it rained every day but one.  Not good for a water hole hunt.  Spot and stalk was the right method to use in this weather, but the guide and outfitter didn’t seem interested in employing it for anything other than a few hours one afternoon.  After some significant discussions with the guide we fit in about three stalks before heading to the blinds in the late afternoon.  At one point the guide encouraged me to jump out of the truck and shoot a pronghorn – one of my absolute pet-peeves.  The guide didn’t believe wind-direction was of concern.  There weren’t enough blinds in our guide’s area of responsibility to hunt the wind properly.  The blinds had no peep holes to look out of except the saw kerf around the windows.  We left the morning of the fifth day amidst further rain storms.  There was some confusion regarding a $50 difference between the Close Encounters contract amount and Powder River’s contract amount.  I’m still confused on that issue.

Bottom line is I relied on the booking agent (who hunted with us) and failed to talk to the outfitter before and during the hunt to clear up problems that could have made the hunt successful.  The weather did us no favors.  I honestly have no doubt that had the weather been hot and dry shooting opportunity would have been close to 100%.

You can find a more detailed, three part story of this trip here, Pronghorn – Rained Out.

30) Contact me at dustyvarmint@hotmail.com if you have questions I can answer.

happy hunting, dv

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