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Elk Hunting at the 5E Ranch


The 5E ranch is located 100 miles north of Billings Montana in the foothills of the Little Snowy Mountains. It consists of 5200 acres (over 8 sq. miles) of some of the most unique hunting land in the state. Eight coulees (they could be called canyons) cross the land as it slopes from forests of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas fir into pasture land and wheat fields. The property is owned and managed by Dave and Rosalie Hein and their son Abe and his wife, Jessica. The 5 E ranch was homesteaded in the early 1900’s by Rosalie’s five great uncles, Albert, Edgar, Harry, John and Ralph Wildin. These brothers were from Gloucester England and chose their brand to represent five Englishmen, hence the 5 E Ranch.


Numerous elk, white tale and mule deer, antelope, and wild turkeys inhabit this land. Coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, black bear along with a variety of upland game birds, bald and golden eagles contribute balance. The ranch is watered by 8 springs developed with water tanks, 14 ponds, some of which are very large, and two wells. In a semi-arid land this water is vital for both domesticated and wild animals.


The Heins have also developed an elk bow hunting guide service, which is operated by Dave and his son Abe and assisted by Rosalie and Abe’s wife Jessica (www.bowhuntelk.com).


I enjoyed a guided hunt on the 5E ranch and found the accommodations to be first class.  We stayed in a log cabin that had been built in 1915 and was renovated in 2000. It was decorated in a western style with a modern kitchen and bathroom.  Our home-cooked meals were prepared and served in the spacious ranch house.


We hunted in such places on the ranch as Hidden Valley, Bull Meadow, Coulter Spring and Kohn’s Coulee.  Elk and deer were unbelievably numerous. However, I want to share my hunt at Abe’s spring in Norman’s Coulee.


This coulee is a ravine over 100ft. deep and a mile long. Dave and I descended through giant Ponderosa and Douglas fir along with the occasional aspen. We reached Abe’s spring, which was in a shady cove. Water was piped from the spring to a 100-gallon tank, which was full and overflowing with clear, cool water. The runoff supplemented the creek and within a hundred feet we found six elk wallows (wallows are mud pits that elk love for laying and playing.


My blood was pumping and anticipation was flowing through me. I was camouflaged and had been well sprayed with cover scent, juniper and sage filled my pockets. I was ready.


I had a great view from my position in this fairyland valley, which was lush with colored grasses and towering trees. The aspens were turning gold and bushes and shrubs were of amber to bright red.


Soon four turkey gobblers were having a bachelor party. Their prancing and strutting fascinated me.


Dave gave a few elk calls and a few moments later there was movement on the west skyline. A cow elk appeared followed by a majestic bull elk. He was a six by six, which means six points on each side of the horns. What a crown! They walked back and forth for a while the bull bugled. Then another bull elk came crashing down the steep east side. He was sliding and bugling and he finally came to a stop on a ledge. He was a satellite bull (one without a mate) and when he saw the bigger elk coming down from the west, he ran, sending rocks flying. He was not ready to attack the king. The six by six came down the hill with his cow and he stopped 40 yards away between two trees, within bow range. A third bull bugled from the top of the coulee.


I looked at this majestic creature, at his horns, which were probably five feet wide and four feet high and I listened to him bugle.


I could not lift my bow higher. I have hunted all my life but I could not take this majestic creature.


Go and have children and grandchildren. Be the great one! I can’t take you,” these thoughts ran through me and then the beautiful animals were gone.


Dave was understanding and stated, “Even though I have been a guide for over five years, I never tire seeing these great and majestic creatures!”


Philip Neese



The following article was written by a hunting guest named Philip Neese and appeared in the Saturday, October 18th, 2008 issue of the “News Hopper” in Aitkin, Minnesota.

News Hopper Article