A deep dive into the backcountry of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to hunt elk highlights the wildlife, wide-open beauty, and difficulty of hunting in truly wild places.
The second installment of Argali’s “Hunting the Last Wild Places: Yellowstone Country” hops one state over into Wyoming. The film follows hunters Brad Brooks and Andrew Jakovac in an early-season archery hunt for elk.
Argali doubles as both a creative house and a gear shop specializing in backcountry hunting. Brooks and Jakovac’s films take a bit of a different angle by placing much of the story within the realm of conservation education.
Their first film in the series covered the Frank Church Wilderness, and it’s one of my personal favorites. I was curious to see what Brooks and his crew put together this time. And it didn’t disappoint.
A Focus on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Aside from the hunting trajectory, the film is a wildlife trove of treasured footage and educational history on the GYE. Most folks aren’t aware that Yellowstone country expands far beyond the confines of the national park. In fact, it covers an area that is approximately the size of Indiana, crosses into three states, and encompasses 22 million square miles.
The wildlife footage in the film is particularly striking. With the majority of Yellowstone footage shot roadside in Yellowstone National Park, it’s rare to see true wild footage of creatures in untrammeled habitat.
And it spans this film in droves. Hunting this type of grizzly habitat is both formidable and interesting. Watching this film will make you curious about lens lengths and the thoughts that go through hunters’ minds when watching a grizzly sow and her cubs on their hunting grounds.
Why You Should Watch This Film, Even If You Don’t Hunt
What’s it like to spend 10 days in the backcountry hunting for elk? Jakovac and Brooks take us through that journey. It’s camaraderie and collaboration, and a lot of miles on the ground. And it’s really difficult. You’ll see what it’s like to hunt at dawn and dusk, to hear the big bugles of bulls rip through the air, and feel how close the calls are when a missed opportunity rolls by.
You’ll also see the kind of country that hunting can take you to. As a hunter myself, I’ve learned that the landscape is not simply a destination or a view; it’s a place to be respected and experienced holistically. And hunting takes you into a landscape like nothing else. This film captures that beautifully, from the big mountains to the high stretches of timber that elk love.
Above all, it’s a film that tells a story without forcefulness and with a respect for the viewer unlike most in the hunting world. Again, Argali Outdoors nails it. I’m already looking forward to the next installment.