This country allows us to have the opportunity to hunt and fish some spectacular places in every state. Whether it is chasing ducks out of North Dakota and down to the delta, hunting big game in the Midwest or even going after alligators in Louisiana. Each state has game animals to fish or hunt. One of my bucket list items was to hunt upland birds in Montana. This year i was able to mark that hunt off of my list.
A good friend of mine had been trying to get me to come up to his place in Montana the last couple of years for an upland hunt. But for one reason or another I could not get my schedule to work with his schedule, which was making both of us mad. I have heard from other people in the hunting industry how majestic Montana is as a state and how beautiful it was to be out chasing birds. Well this year was the year that all of the planning had come together for us. I was able to do a two day upland hunt with my buddy and make it out for a day of fishing.
I flew in to Billings, MT and drove north for a couple of hours. I’ve been to the Midwest and even up in to Saskatchewan, but as southern boy from East Tennessee I’m still amazed at the vastness of how far you can see without seeing a mountain. You can almost see the back of your head it was so flat in some places. Don’t get me wrong Montana has hills and it has mountains, which my legs and feet are still filling a little bit. Over dinner we had a great discussion on where and what we would be hunting that night I got in to town. The next morning we drove about an hour and half from the house and saw the mountain ranges and whitetail & mule deer. We walked about 7-8 miles the first day and shot some Hungarian Partridge, Pheasants and Sharptail Grouse. Boy what a day. That night we had fresh Pheasant ka-bobs and sweet & sour Sharptail Grouse. The next day we did another hour and half drive to a different location to get in to the Sage Grouse. This was another great day with a 7-8 mile trek, but it was well worth it as I shot my first Sage Grouse. I have seen pictures of them, but I have never had the opportunity to actually take one of them. I was hoping to make a cleaner shot on the birds so I could get one mounted, but came up a little short. Hopefully the next time I’ll have cleaner shot that will allow for a mount to be done.The dog work was outstanding and difficult due to the swirling wind. We walked by several covey numerous times and were finally able to get the birds up for a shot. I will say there is nothing better than watching dogs do what they are trained for and love to do. My buddy’s two English Setters were two tired dogs after back to back days of hunting. You could tell that they enjoyed the hunts just as much as we did.
Sometimes people take a lot of things for granted, but this avid hunter is very appreciative of all the private individuals, non-profit organizations, federal and local DNR agencies that have a true passion for the hunting and outdoors to keep land available for future hunters like myself to have the opportunity to hunt such a great state. I would recommend a trip to Montana for a hunting trip. Montana’s DNR website MT.GOV has a great feature called Hunt Planner, which allows you to work through a series of questions to help you plan a hunting trip to Montana. I still have an item on my bucket list for Montana and I will definitely be making arrangements in the near future to mark it off the list, but I’m already looking forward to visiting my friend in Montana in 2013 for another great upland hunt. I hope your season is off to a great start. I know Bullet (my black lab) is looking forward to duck season.
Best wishes and take a kid hunting this season,