For me, driving across Montana at this time of the year for me is as entertaining as it is informative. With each bend in the highway to accommodate a river or mountain, there seems to be a landmark of some kind that tells the history of our state.
Fall brings hunting season and the harvested grain lands and the dried and grazed pastures which make it a lot easier to spot wild game.
Pheasants are seen on the edges of ditches and fields as they come out of cover to feed or sun themselves in the early morning or evening.
Flocks of geese can be seen over most of Montana flying their formations high in the air or finishing up what a farmer left behind in a wheat or barley field.
Antelope herds are a common site these days with maybe a few less bucks in them. Deer mule and white tail can be seen all over just before dusk feeding in a far away alfalfa field before disappearing into a nearby stand of trees. And there are a variety of small game animals to see along the way.
My most recent trip across the Montana landscape took place last weekend with Wayne Knudson (Walleye Wayne of the Montana Outdoor Radio Show). We traveled from Missoula all the way to Wolf Point in the northeastern corner of state.
No, Wolf Point is not the end of the world as so many of friends have told me, nor can you see it from there on a clear day. The people of that area are hard working and look forward as much to going to a local high school football game as most of us do here with the Griz.
Down-to-earth, good old-fashioned hospitality are the rule rather than the exception and we were fortunate to enjoy it along with some excellent hunting. We stayed and broadcast our weekly statewide radio show from the home of Ted and Joy Toavs on Saturday morning.
The Toavs ranch is 18 miles north of Wolf Point. Our Hunting party the first day consisted of locals Steve Bushman, Dwayne Nygaard, Bill Dassinger and his son Bridger, Ted and his two boys Talor and Tukker, Gene Moore from Fort Peck and Wayne and I.
The landscape calls for hunting dogs and we had four to find the birds and then retrieve them. It certainly can be challenging pheasant hunting and this area is no exception.
The pheasant population, even though not as good as it was two years ago, has rebounded nicely from the tough winter of 2003-2004. Finding birds can be spotty but when you do, the chances of seeing a lot of them is very good.
We hunted north of Wolf Point the first day and started on the river bottom of Wolf Creek itself. We then headed closer to the Toavs ranch and had some good success on some land that had not been hunted this season. Our party ended up with a modest 12 pheasants and a lot of missed opportunities. It was a fun day.
You can see the results of that day of hunting in a photo on www.montanaoutdoor.com.
The next day, the hunting party dwindled down to four hunters and two dogs. We headed southwest of Wolf Point to hunt some tribal ground on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. We got up birds and ended up with four at the end of the day as we knocked off early after out legs got the best of all of us.
If you love to hunt pheasants with a dog, I would recommend making this area an annual stop. The hunting is challenging and can be very rewarding. You and your dog will have a blast!
If you are a resident in Montana and already have a conservation license, then the Tribal permit to hunt the reservation is only $30. It is good for the season
If you can schedule your trip when they receive a little snow on the ground, that would be even better. If you have any questions about hunting pheasants in Northeastern Montana, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org