Montana Monster


On the opening day of elk bow-hunting season in 2012, Todd Sisson of MDM Supply in Bozeman, Montana, drove through the Gallatin Canyon toward Yellowstone National Park. It was a perfect morning, with a clear blue sky and the temperature around 50 degrees. Sisson’s expectations were realistic for the first day out – his goal was simply to get a feel for his hunting grounds.

As he got out of his truck, Sisson immediately heard elk bugles in the distance. His heart began to race. The elk were just 400 yards away in a draw, so Sisson decided to take a look. As the sun came up, he found himself in a perfect position – down wind and directly in the path of the elk. It wasn’t long before the first cow appeared, then a rag horn (a less-than-trophy-worthy elk). He found himself feeling thankful for the beauty of it all.

Fifteen to 20 more elk passed by, including both cows and bulls, but nothing worthy of Sisson’s arrows, especially since it was still opening day and there would be more chances to come (or so every hunter hopes). He waited an hour or so until it got quiet, then he decided to move.

He moved to another area of the property with the intention of getting some exercise, while taking in the sounds and smells of the woods. Nothing stirred during his hike, but the perfect weather made the walk worthwhile. A half mile later, he heard a small bugle and decided to check it out. As he moved into position, a bull came around a tree and headed straight toward Sisson. It was a small six-point elk that wasn’t worth shooting, so he crawled back 30 yards or so to simply watch the animal in its environment.

Suddenly, the morning calm was shattered by a loud, aggressive bugle from a second elk somewhere nearby. Sisson was startled, especially when he realized that the sound was moving quickly in his direction. Sisson changed position to get a better look. The elk bugled again, and the hunter was stunned at how fast the animal was moving, though it still remained out of sight. Sisson quickly settled on a spot to wait, then hurriedly began to prepare his bow.

A bull burst into view and stopped just 40 yards or so from Sisson’s hiding spot. The hunter caught his breath at the sight of the massive beast. Opening day or not, this was a trophy elk. The animal paused behind a thin tree – a sapling just large enough to prevent Sisson from getting a clear shot. Cursing, he drew his bow and waited for the enormous animal to move. Time seemed to stop, and the sounds of the forest seemed to go quiet, but the beast finally stepped forward and paused. Sisson’s arrow was true, and the bull fell just 50 yards from where it was struck.

Sisson’s trophy turned out to be a huge 331 bull elk. It was the hunt of a lifetime, and one that he shared by posting a photo on the DSG Outdoors page of