Focus On Trophies Plus


Published: February - 2000

Over two decades ago, while living in Montana, I hunted the southeastern corner of that state for whitetails and mule deer. In those days, the quality of the hunting available in this area was a well-kept secret, and access was still relatively easy to obtain. Now, more people are aware of the hunting potential here, and most of the better ranches are tied up - especially those with larger bucks. Thankfully, there are a few good outfitters you can contact in this area.

One of the best is Mike Watkins, owner of Trophies Plus. He not only hunts private land in the southeastern corner of Montana, but also in adjoining Wyoming and South Dakota. His ability to field hunts in more than one state is a big advantage, too, as it creates the possibility of your tagging more than one buck on the same hunt. And don't think for a second that hunting any of these states offers less than trophy quality potential.

My son and I have both taken whitetails scoring in the mid-160s and mule deer to 32 inches wide in this same general area. The best whitetail I know about here scored in the high 180s. Let me hasten to add, however, that a reasonable expectation here is a whitetail scoring in the 130s, a mule deer scoring in the 150s and an antelope in the area of 14-1/2 inches. Watkins told me that the best antelope he killed last year almost made B & C and his best typical mule deer scored 185 points. His biggest whitetail scored 165 points. Not bad.... As for hunter success rates, Watkins says he enjoys a nearly 100 percent rate on antelope and around 90 percent on deer. Hunters who don't score are typically looking for something special, he says.

Each year, Watkins hosts around 40 mule deer and whitetail hunters, plus about 15 antelope clients, allowing him the opportunity to provide plenty of individual attention. Odds of being drawn for a special permit are normally over 85 percent, while in the general drawing........(continued)

 
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