Got an elk shoulder season tag for the unit my mom's property is in near Bozeman, MT. Still super elated to have gotten my first elk. Now that I'm home I finally get a chance to reflect. Short version: hiked around a ton, shot an elk, can't wait to eat it. Long version: When we arrived Saturday (12/1) there were elk everywhere, 100+. We saw them 50 yds from the truck while coming up the mile long driveway. I was hot to get us out and get them and fill both our tags but got talked out of it. It was so hard to see over a hundred elk and not be on them immediately. Woke up early Sunday and got ready to hunt. After a week of reports about their patterns we watched as they completely changed. Instead of coming up by the house half the herd walked onto the other property and skirted around. While the other half was MIA. We came up with a plan to make our way up to the back of the property and head them off. After climbing the first ridge and seeing them but not being given an ethical shot (both for not shooting towards other houses and not getting a good broadside shot) we backed out and continued up to the next ridge. Climbed the last ridge on the property and started to glass. We found the herd but they were skylined. Without another ethical shot we decided to back out and find the rest of the herd and hoped we'd get a better shot. We found another piece of the herd on the south of the property but had no way to get close or take a shot that wouldn't go into the road. Bob (my FIL) had a chance at a cow at this point as he was below us on the ridge but it was a very young cow. At this point Bob wanted to wait out the herd to head to where they had been bedding down and Ken and I decided to chase some elk we could see at the top of the ridge on the west side of the property. We climbed the ridge, having to stop several times when they were looking at us. We got to the top and knew they were just over a knob but there was a sentry cow that wouldn't let us close the distance. She was also skylined so I couldn't take the shot. We decided to back out and not spook them. Headed back to the house for lunch and to warm up. I was getting more dejected about us not getting on the herd yesterday. Ken headed home and Bob and I went back out. We set up to wait out the herd coming back to bed down. We waited an hour and I got antsy. I peeked over the hill and the herd we were waiting on was bedded down in the open on the neighbors property. I let Bob know I was going to chase the elk on the west side of the property. He wanted to wait out the herd so we split up. I hiked over and started glassing. Plenty of elk on the ridge but most were 350+ yard shots. I spotted a young elk in a gap between the trees at about 150yds. I could only see the hindquarters and decided to wait to see if it would come out. After about 5 minutes I pulled off the scope and watched as a nice cow walked into the open above the elk I'd been watching. Put the crosshairs on her and let it fly. Watched her kick from being hit and start to run. I climbed down into the creek and straight up the hill, ###### stupid steep hill covered in snow. I was all amped up on adrenaline and wanted to make sure I found her. Got up to where I'd hit her but couldn't find any blood. Worked to where she ran and I found blood about 20 yards away. Started to follow it and found where she first staggered, snow cleared off and the dirt torn up. Went another 20 yards and another spot where she staggered. She then crashed through some brush and I found her at the base of a tree. Exhausted from the climb but so stoked to have harvested my first elk. Hiked back to the house to give Ken a call to help me get it out. Ken arrived and we hiked the sled up to it. The hike was way harder without being fired up on adrenaline. We got it cleaned, in the sled and then wrestled it down the hill. A much more difficult feat due to the snow and how steep the hill was. Loaded it into the truck and off to the processor. Elk was double lunged with a .35 Whelen, 225gr Barnes X at 170 yards. Celebrated with some Barenjager.. Unfortunately the herd moved off the property and after 2.5 days of hard hunting in single digit weather we were unable to get my FIL his elk. The hunt was incredible. I owe Ken a huge thanks for giving us his knowledge from hunting the property for the last 10 years. Gary and Pauline (my stepdad and mom) for letting us come up and hunt the property.