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Right out of a western movie, meet Jake Ingram of Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

Right out of a western movie, meet Jake Ingram of Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

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Question: What do you get when you combine true wilderness hunting experiences in which the only way in to your hunting camp is by mule and horses with breathtaking views, high mountain lakes, deep timber, high country parks, and the Continental Divide?

Answer: You end up with an adventure you will not soon forget.

Our Dream Sporting Trips writer spoke with Jake Ingram of Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters in Havre, Montana, as he was on his way to a local banquet.

Jake has been hunting since he has been old enough to hold a gun. In fact, he got his first cottontail when he was only 4 years old.

Tired of thinking exciting hunting trips exist only in Zane Grey novels? Or in old western movies? Think those kinds of hunts are a thing of the past?

Good news! Authentic wilderness hunts are alive and well, and Jake Ingram of Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters in Montana can make it happen. With a caveat on the website, Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters says right up front that their hunts, while extremely rewarding, are not for everyone. "They're not easy, nor should they be, for this is PURE HUNTING!" 

Dream Sporting Trips

Thanks so much, Jake, for taking time to talk to us. Tell us, how did you get into this business? What made you decide to become a hunting guide?

Jake Ingram, Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

Truth is, I've enjoyed hunting all my life and there's nothing I'd rather do.

Dream Sporting Trips

Where do you take your clients to hunt?

Jake Ingram, Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

We primarily hunt in Unit 280 which is located in the Rocky Mountains near the Continental Divide in Central Montana. 

Dream Sporting Trips

What is your personal favorite game to hunt?

Jake Ingram, Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

Archery elk hunting is my favorite, and I have personally harvested four bulls with my bow as well as called in numerous for other people. I've also harvested 14 elk with my rifle. My clients primarily request to hunt elk, too.

Dream Sporting Trips

Is there a particularly exciting hunting adventure you'd care to share with our readers?

Jake Ingram, Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters, LLC

I've had so many exciting hunting adventures, it's hard to choose only one. One story does come to mind--when I shot a huge bull elk with my bow and a mountain goat with my rifle, both in 2010. I was going through a lineman apprenticeship at the time and working in Colorado when I drew the coveted Montana elk tag. I also happened to draw a Montana mountain goat tag the same year, which is also a difficult tag to draw, and I wasn't sure how I could adequately scout for both due to the fact I was working out of state at the time.

I was only able to make it out scouting once for each animal prior to the start of the season. In the short time I scouted, I was able to find some animals and determined where I would camp and what areas I would start hunting. Another fortunate turn of events was that my employer had transferred back to Montana just two weeks before the start of the archery season.  

I made it out on opening week of archery season and was able to find a good bull and hunted him for three days before I had to be back to work. I didn’t get him, but felt confident I would be able to find him the following weekend.

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday and woke up Thursday to go to work, and it was pouring rain. The crew voted not to work and I told the boss I was taking off for the weekend to go hunting. I had a 250 mile drive to get to camp and I didn’t know if I would make it in time to get in an evening hunt or not. I made it with about an hour and a half of shooting light left and actually heard a bull bugle right from where I was camping. Due to the late hour, I decided to check out the bull I heard bugle rather than going after the big six-point I had hunted opening weekend.

I bugled on occasion to keep him located as I closed in on the bull. Fortunately, he was very cooperative and bugled back almost every time I threw out a bugle. I circled around to get the wind in my favor and worked slowly over a ridge to find him slowly working down the drainage. It took about five seconds of looking at this bull through my binos to know he was a shooter. I began surveying my options on how to close the distance and quickly came up with a game plan.

He was moving down the drainage and quartering into the wind, and I was able to get behind a finger ridge running down to the bottom of the drainage he was in. I was covering ground fast and decided to pop over the finger ridge to reevaluate my position when I thought I was within 150 yards. He had stopped and was raking a small tree facing straightaway so I dropped back over the finger ridge and cut the distance in half.

The next time I took a look, he had stopped raking the tree and was walking straightaway and was going to walk behind a very prominent knob. He went around the knob to the left so I went around the knob to the right. When I peeked around the knob he was standing broadside grazing, and it took a fair amount of effort to keep my composure. I ranged him three times at 56 yards, drew my bow and checked my level and sight at least three more times to make sure everything looked right.

I kept telling myself, "Your 60 pin is red; it’s the 5th one down, aim a little low, check your level, breathe, focus."

I settled my 60 yard pin low on his chest and let it fly. As the stalk had taken the majority of the hour and half of daylight that was left, I was running low on light. The arrow disappeared as I let it go with nothing but the reaction of the elk to tell me I thought it found its mark. After taking a GPS coordinate of the spot I shot from, I went to look for any sign of hitting the bull.

With my headlamp now on, I made circle after circle looking for blood or my arrow. Not finding either, I thought the best choice was to leave him for the night and return in the morning with some help. I made it back to my pickup three hours after dark and made the two hour drive back to the nearest town.

I called my good friend, Mike, and asked him to meet me in the morning to help me try and find a bull I thought I had hit but wasn’t certain. He kept asking me how big I thought the bull was and all I could tell him is that he was BIG.

After a very sleepless night, Mike met me and we made the drive back out to the look for the bruiser. Luckily, due to the rain that had gotten me out of work on that Thursday, the bull had left fairly predominant tracks in the mud from where he took off running after I fired the shot.

I put Mike on the tracks and then circled uphill and in front of him to glass for the bull in case Mike bumped him as he followed the tracks. Mike did a fantastic job staying on the tracks and found the first drop of blood about 300 yards from where I had shot him. With that little amount of blood on the ground, I figured the shot must have been a bit high and the blood was staying in the chest cavity. After another 200 yards or so, Mike found the back quarter of the arrow broken off with good blood on.  

Mike and I packed him out on our backs. We boned out about 300 lbs. of meat and 98 lbs. of hide, head, and horns. It took both of us two trips to carry it out.

He scored 408 and 6/8 and was the fifth largest bull in the State of Montana to be killed with a bow.

Dream Sporting Trips

Wow, that's amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with our readers! 

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Who's ready for the hunt of a lifetime?

Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitters provide fully guided hunts which include a guide, saddle horse, camp cook, all meals, sleeping accommodations, packer and pack animals to transport all your gear and game, as well as field care and caping of all animals harvested.

Their wilderness hunting camp is reached by horseback, a trip of 2.5 hours to the main camp. Their full service camp consists of very comfortable 14' x 16' wall tents with tarp floors, propane lanterns, large wood stoves and sturdy cots with foam pads. The 16' x 34' cook tent is very well stocked, lots of food, tables, seats, a large wood stove, a propane cast iron restaurant grill, and a propane four burner stove and oven unit. They have a full time cook that prepares some amazing home cooked meals complete with homemade desserts. Main camp also consists of a tack tent, hitch rails, and a full set of corrals. They pack all supplies in by mule string, including around 340 bales of certified hay and over a ton of feed supplement. At times they use layout camps in order to save horseback riding time from the main camp to the outer areas. This also helps to spread out the hunting pressure. These camps are comfortable with cots, foam pads, and heat. The guide and hunters help with the cooking. These camps are usually two to three hours from the main camp.

For more information on Scapegoat Wilderness Outfitter hunts and how to contact them, click on this link:

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