By Jill J. Easton
Whether he or a client is carrying the bow or gun, Remi Warren is obsessed with hunting. He leads a life most of us would envy, if we had the stamina.
The 24-year-old from Conner, Mont., spends two months a year searching out and taking trophy animals in Montana’s Bitterroot River basin during both archery and firearms seasons. And when he's not actually hunting, he’s scouting, practicing with his bow, or writing about it.
The fall of 2009 was a good one for Remi. He took an elk that scored in the 370s, a 15-inch antelope, two muleys and a Coues’ deer. All were trophy animals, but they pale in comparison to the muley he took Sept. 12.
Remi had heard rumors that a giant muley had been seen in Montana’s District 270. Not only did he have a tag for that area, but he was also familiar with the Bitterroot’s east fork.
When a client tagged out on the second day of a five-day hunt, Remi was free to fill his own. After gaining permission from the rancher, he and a friend loaded up video equipment and headed in search of the rumor.
“We topped the mountain before sunup,” Remi said. “After glassing, we decided to move down the slope. It was windy and cold up top.”
When they crested the next ridge, they saw several deer running up a steep hill.
“While the deer were heading out, we actually saw the big buck in the group,” Remi said. “That’s when we knew the rumor we’d heard was true.”
Hoping to intercept the herd, Remi ran up the opposite side of the mountain. He beat most of the deer to the top, but he spooked a group of does. The rest of the deer were about 120 yards below him.
“I knew if I hunted smart and was patient, there was still a chance,” he said. “Being above the deer offered a slight advantage. Even so, sneaking up on an old wary mule deer is never easy.”
Remi lay down and glassed the antsy animals, waiting for them to calm. There were some nice bucks in the bunch, but he couldn’t see the big one.
The terrain was rugged. Remi estimated the slope angled down 45 to 50 degrees.
He eventually noticed a 3x3 bedded in the shade of a large ponderosa pine. Since big bucks often use younger, nervous animals as sentinels, this looked like the most likely spot to find the big guy. Remi stalked slowly and carefully down the steep hill nearly 400 feet to get closer to the young deer.
He crept until he was about 55 yards above the 3x3, and then he decided that if the big one was nearby, he didn’t want to shoot downward. He backed out and skirted the bedded buck.
“I couldn’t see the base of the pine where I thought the big one might be, so I had to stalk down as close as possible to where the 3x3 was bedded,” Remi said.
He moved to the next ridge and worked down until he was almost even with the young buck. It was a difficult sneak since trees and bushes were sparse. Even the grass, no more than four inches tall, was thin.
“Finally, I saw the tips of the big buck’s antlers about 25 yards below me, but on the next ridge,” Remi said. “It was tucked under a ledge between me and the big tree.”
There was no time for more glassing or planning, however.
The smaller buck spooked. It had no idea where the danger was, but it ran, and the big one followed. They went up and across a narrow canyon near a ponderosa pine. The older buck ended up on the same side of the pine as Remi, directly across the canyon.
“I mouth-grunted, the sound echoed, and the big deer stopped,” Remi said. “I had time to use my rangefinder. It read 47 yards.”
But the giant deer saw him.
“I was busted. It was looking at me, and I had no choice but to take the slightly quartering shot,” Remi said. “If I hadn’t, it would’ve been miles away in a matter of minutes.”
The arrow sliced through liver and lungs, and the buck ran about 60 yards before collapsing.
Even with all his experience with trophy animals, Remi was surprised when he reached the deer. It was a typical 5x6, not including eye guards, with heavy fronts and incredible mass — the trophy of a lifetime for most hunters.
For the 24-year-old hunter, however, this one merely raised his personal bar.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Remi and his Montana Outwest Outfitters, log on to www.montanaoutwest.com.
– Photos Courtesy of Remi Warren
This article was published in the Winter 2010 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.