A quick trip to Montana

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Rick Todd, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

    With pheasant hunting seeming to get tougher every year here in WA, I've been heading over to the Choteau Montana area at least once each year. My brother called a couple weeks ago and suggested a quick trip. So Thursday I left work in Bellingham at 11:30, picked up my brother and another bird hunting fanatic in Woodinville and made it to Missoula about 10 pm. Left there about 5:15 and were hunting a farm near Fairfield MT by 8 am. Spent the night in Choteau and hunted Saturday at a couple farms we have permission to hunt. Left about 3:30 pm and made it back to Sprague around 9:30 pm (gaining an hour). Home a little after noon on Sunday. We got 9 pheasants and a sharpie and had a great time. Friday it was 10 degrees with 20 mph winds-ideal bird hunting conditions! Saturday it warmed up into the high 20's with no wind and blue skies. My one year old Setter is going to be an outstanding dog. She had several points on roosters (and some of them I managed to hit!) She also tracked a wounded bird and started to retrieve it before one of the Labs took the bird from her! She is a sweetheart! A great weekend! Rick View attachment 37057 View attachment 37058 View attachment 37059
     
  2. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    Thanks for sharing. I've hunted pheasants in Montana for the last 5 years and had a great time every year. Sounds like you've got a great hunting dog in the making.

    Also love the idea of a quick, if long, road trip.

    Steve
     
  3. andrew

    andrew Active Member

    Rick,

    Next time give me a shout I'll drive to Montana with you! :thumb:
     
  4. Scott Salzer

    Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Very nice!

    Don't you hate that "You are pathetic." look from a dog after you miss the shot.

    Nice country.

    MB
     
  5. Roper

    Roper Idiot Savant

    Hey Rick, for a power trip to MT and back it looks like you had a good time. Nice vistas, birds, and handsome setter...I'm jealous...
     
  6. ganglyangler

    ganglyangler Bird Dogs and Fly Rods

    Rick, you are living the life! Sounds like a lot of fun. I know what you mean about the Washington pheasant hunting, pretty tough and every bird is earned. Good looking pup there!
     
  7. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

    Rick, Im glad your pup is performing well, And by the way the great pumpkin outfit looks cool. Jim
     
  8. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Sounds like a very fun weekender trip. I've hunted the areas you mentioned, got family in Fairfield which helps. I love the vistas, people and the birds but I prefer to hunt a little earlier in the season. Of course, my cousin reminded me that they have had snow in every month of the year at least once in her 60+ years as a Montanan. Their fishing is unparalleled, too. Lots of small streams no one every bothers that hold lots of nice fish. Montana is probably the best "cast and blast" state we've got.
     
  9. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

    Jim-The pumpkin suit is quite becoming don't you think! My brother especially hates the orange Cabela's hat, but it is fur lined and very warm! In Montana, they don't require hunter's orange to hunt upland game, so the Montana guys we often hunt with when we are there are all dressed so it is hard to see them-not too safe IMO!
    Karl-We always do the week of opening of pheasant season over there. The guy who has arranged most of the property for us to hunt is a fly fishing guide from Whitefish who grew up in Choteau. On opposite days, we fish with he and his buddy, also a guide, on the MO usually. He always tells us stories of fishing Flat Creek, the Dearborn, and Deep Creek. The Tieton River is also supposed to be good. We wouldn't have gone if the road conditions had been worse. Opening day in 2009 we had 0 degrees as we crossed Roger's Pass and it was 2 degrees when we left the Big Sky Motel in Choteau the next morning with 3 inches of snow! Freezeout Lake was already frozen in early October! This year it was 50's and 60's opening week. You never can tell about the weather in that country. BTW, the author Ivan Doig (one of my favs) lived up near Depuyear and wrote a lot about that country-worth reading!
    Andrew-we were actually looking for a 4th guy for this trip-I'll keep you in mind! Rick
     
  10. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Nice report. Those are some good looking birds.
     
  11. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    I remember opening day 2009, that was the closest day I ever spent hunting upland. I mean it was cold (9) , the wind was blowing, snow on the ground, my damn Jetboil wouldn't light so no hot tea or lunch. We quit early that day for sure. This year was better weather but fewer birds. Still had a great time with family, friends and Montana. Did a few days the Jefferson and Madison, caught some great fish. Love Montana in the fall.
     
  12. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Sweeeeeet!!!!!
     
  13. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Glad somebody is enjoying my home state & you certainly did! Pheasant hunting WA is actually pretty good . . . it's the finding that runs-up the mileage (just ask my old knees). Well done!
     
  14. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

    Jim-It would be fun to get together some time and chase some WA birds. I hunted for years in the area from Ringold to Moses Lake. Used to lease a couple farms and belonged to a gun club. Over the years it went from great to mediocre but I still get over there a time or two each year. As I was leaving the Fairfield area on Saturday evening, right at dusk, I saw at least 1000 pheasants feeding in wheat stubble fields in about 3 miles of County Line Road. This is also a low pheasant year in that area! I don't think I ever saw something like that in WA-maybe once or twice in the St John area! Rick
     
  15. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Let me know when . . . you would certainly be most welcome. There are areas close to that along the Touchet, but it's nigh impossible to get permission.