Three of us spent four days hunting sharp-tailed grouse in northeastern Montana last week. We had hunted North Dakota in the past but moved west in order to avoid some of the oil activity there. We found fewer birds in Montana than we had in North Dakota, but we spent part of our time in Montana checking out habitat and hunting spots that were unfamiliar to us. Some panned out. Some didn’t.
We tended to find birds in native prairies near buffalo berry and buck brush, which grow in the creases of the land.
We had access to plenty of land through the state’s Block Management Area program similar to Minnesota’s Walk-In Area Program. Both programs allow hunters to hunt on private land, for which the states reimburse the landowners. The difference is that in Montana, hunters must sign in before hunting a BMA. The landowner gets reimbursed based on the number of hunters who hunt the land in a given year.
Typically on this trip, we sleep in tents and live close to the land, preparing our own meals on campstoves or small grills. Campground space is at a premium where we were. We met a woman at a small-town convenience store who said she and her family would welcome us to pitch our tents on their property, which we did. The Christoffersen family took good care of us. One evening, Shele Christoffersen and her son, Bailey, brought cake to us where we were camped.
Here are a few more shots from the trip: