The End of the Hunt

If you live outside of Montana, you think Montana’s are all about trout fishing. They are, but it’s hunting that really motivates many (most?) Montanan’s. Big game season is over, sans a few shoulder season and damage control hunts. Upland birds are nearing the end (Jan. 1), which will leave the shivering and lonely waterfowl hunters, who will have a few more weeks in January.

By all accounts, it’s been a good hunt for most. I’ve seen plenty of nice Elk and Deer in the back of trucks, being drug to the road, on Facebook and Instagram, and in the local news. Big game hunters had some of the cold and nasty weather they need to be successful. Some years we don’t at all.

Upland bird hunters had a great season, at least in our area. Excellent weather for the most part as well. And it looks like those who chase them right to the end will have some pretty good conditions to finish the season with.

Duck hunters are in the midst of it, and from all reports local hunting has been pretty good. Not enough super nasty weather, I suspect, but those with access to good fields are having success. Julie and I were in Bozeman the other day and the Three Forks area was black with birds.

While I don’t hunt all that much anymore, I do occasionally hit the field with local guide Michael Kowalski and haul my camera along. Yesterday we enjoyed what will likely be my last day in the field with his uncle John Kowalski, legendary local hunting and fishing guide. As well as guiding fly fishers in the area, both of these outdoorsmen guide upland bird hunting for PRO Outfitters in Helena. PRO runs what is likely the best upland bird hunting operation in Montana. Probably beyond.

Here’s a few images for those interested in bird hunting on this Saturday morning. Montana is beautiful.

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