Hunting River Breaks

Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
50
I am fortunate enough to have been invited to hunt some private land in Eastern MT and about 1000 acres is Yellowstone River Breaks (I went out and bought a lottery ticket shortly after getting this invite) So, having never hunted river breaks and only hunted deer in timber and mountains, I am trying to size this place up and make a plan of attack.
Is is best to hunt along the river bottoms and catch the animals coming down to water or is it better to get above the breaks and glass down in to them and try to not skyline myself?
 
Last edited:

Cahunter805

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,774
I’d also stay high and glass down into those breaks. If you can be on a high point before light and watch some of those canyons for deer movement.
Also be prepared to shoot out to 300 yards at least. Practice shooting off your backpack/shooting sticks/prone.
 

HuntInWild88

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2018
Messages
962
Location
Mountain Home Idaho
Absolutely try and stay above just also try not to silhouette your self on the sky line.. easier said then done I know. Find a good finger with the river bottoms in front of you but so that you can still see up into the canyon. So It's a little hard to tell elevation difference on the picture but I would go on any of the red spots depending on wind.
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20211027-193838_Chrome.jpg
    Screenshot_20211027-193838_Chrome.jpg
    189.4 KB · Views: 125

coop22250

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
2,796
Location
Palmer AK
The canyons close to the river will usually hold deer, glass till your eyes hurt. They will have a nasty escape path out the back of the canyon, usually a saddle or depression if they are spooked. Mule deer in there are like sheep when they are spooked, but will usually stop and look back after a short while. If you bump one go ahead and get your range finder out get set up, you may get a chance.

They may lay in the timber or sage brush on a hill with a wind to their back with a view, smell danger from behind and see it from the front, I like to walk cross wind if given the chance when approaching an area, hoping they are facing forward and I’m coming in from the side.

Also the first advice I was given when hunting the breaks, you can get in places where you can’t go up and you can’t go down, can get ugly. Also depending on the area, there can be some nasty holes and washouts you can fall into, can be a mud bridge over it like a sink hole, so pay attention to under you well.
 
OP
PanhandlePilgrim
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
50
This is great stuff guys, thank you. Keep it coming... I've read the mud over there is a force to be reckoned with and I appreciate the warning about going in to those breaks especially since my dad, grandfather and uncle will be joining me and none of them are in the best shape but all think they are still young enough to dive in to canyons that even I dont want to go in to.
This type of hunting is all new to me having spent all my time in Idaho and Washington and a little in Missouri so I will be a little out of my element here but I am looking forward to the change in scenery.
 

WCB

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
1,707
I am going to make an assumption that you are probably close to irrigated fields on your side of the river. Those deer will move back and forth from those fields to the breaks. Those deer may also not even be using the river as a main source of water, especially if there is snow or other areas they can get it (irrigation ditch stock damn etc).

Those deer are going to come up out of the breaks onto the tops and travel to feed. I would personally spend a night and morning just glassing what you can hunt from a good distance and figure out what drainages/areas the deer are dropping into in the mornings and coming out of in the evenings. Try to catch them in those areas and if possible try not to go running around down in the breaks stuff unless you are going after a deer or at least a couple days into the hunt.

I'm not saying don't peak in there but you may be able to kill a deer or two fairly quick without having to get into their cover (breaks). Even more so if you are able to hunt it in Nov. If it was just you by yourself I would say hunt it however but 3 guys hunting that area could blow deer out rather quick considering there is no way to have the wind right for all of you and be hunting different drainages.
 

ManyBullets

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
199
Practice shooting off your rearview mirrors too. Make sure to put the vehicle in park before firing.

Often overlooked details of hunting private.

Otherwise I think you're on the right track here. Post some pics when you're successful.
 

hobbes

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
1,831
Glass, glass, and glass some more. Find a buck that you like and make a plan to move in on him. They can disappear fast in that country into tiny (or big) folds in terrain that you can't even detect. Once you make the decision to go after a buck, especially one that's not bedded, don't screw around getting to him. If he's bedded, you probably have more time. During the rut, even bedded bucks can disappear quickly.

The opposite holds true as well. Bucks can appear out of thin air in that type country, especially during the rut.
 
Last edited:
OP
PanhandlePilgrim
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
50
It's a pretty awesome opportunity. It's a family ranch that only has a few deer killed within the family each year. They also don't do the Block Management program or sell landowner tags.
 

MT257

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
861
Are you hunting south of the river? Don’t be surprised when you see white tails up in those draws. Walk the fingers and be ready if your on the south side. That’s some good deer country.
 

Bcleck90

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
444
Location
Alabama
Glass, glass, and glass some more. Find a buck that you like and make a plan to move in on him. They can disappear fast in that country into tiny (or big) folds in terrain that you can't even detect. Once you make the decision to go after a buck, especially one that's not bedded, don't screw around getting to him. If he's bedded, you probably have more time. During the rut, even bedded bucks can disappear quickly.

The opposite holds true as well. Bucks can appear out of thin air in that type country, especially during the rut.

^This. Don’t just assume a buck isn’t there. If you find deer understand you can’t see everything. It’s deceiving country and you’re not seeing everything regardless of what you may be thinking.
 

coop22250

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
2,796
Location
Palmer AK
Congrats, I love that country! A lot of pressure on public there any more, a good chunk of private is an amazing chance.
 
Top