Hunters head west for Montana sharp-tailed grouse

Boof, a black Lab owned by Duluth’s Mark Helmer, hustles back with a sharp-tailed grouse that Helmer shot last week in eastern Montana. (Sam Cook photo)

Rick Francisco, Mark Helmer and I spent a few days in the wide-open spaces of eastern Montana hunting sharp-tailed grouse last week. Native birds, native prairie. We camped in the “hay yard” of farm friends we met last year. Look for the story in Sunday’s Duluth News Tribune.

Rick Francisco of Duluth surveys an expanse of native prairie before a monring’s hunt in eastern Montana. (Sam Cook photo)

Mark Helmer relaxes in camp with some of his friends. (Sam Cook photo)

We camped in the hay yard of our farm friends, David and Shele Christoffersen. (Sam Cook photo)

Mark Helmer (left) and Rick Francisco sort birds after a morning sharp-tailed grouse hunt in eastern Montana. (Sam Cook photo)

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