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Rut Buck Photography by Mark Johnson

Riverbottom farmland in southwest Montana is the quintessential western whitetail hunt, and there is no better time to be there than during the late November rut. A drop in temperature and a dusting of snow the night before will set the big boys to searching for does in estrus, caution be damned. So let that little guy walk, and his older brother might soon follow.
A hot summer of target practice, fetching arrows, and tweaking gear comes down to one moment, when a single shot at the pump house is all that’s offered—and all it takes. Sixty yards of blood trailing is pretty much a foregone conclusion in fresh snow. And if relations with the landowner are solid, it won’t be that much farther to the truck.

Last November we found photographer Mark Johnson perched in a Montana riverbottom treestand as his friend and fellow Gray’s contributor, Denver Bryan, closed the deal on a beautiful 10-point buck in full rut.

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Gray's Sporting Journal MMN
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(photos by Mark Johnson)

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