Hunting Picks Up As Summer Winds Down: Captain’s Column
By Matt Schauer

Posted: September 6, 2012

The last long holiday weekend of the summer gave folks the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors.

The archery and upland bird hunting season, in Montana, kicked off last Saturday. The dry conditions had archery hunters hunting deer closer to the river bottoms where conditions weren’t quite as dry. Hunting out of a blind or tree stand proved to be the most effective hunting method. Elk hunters were probably looking for a watering hole or setting up in a tree stand near a game trail to get a close shot.

Shawn Plakke from Superior passed up a 37 yard shot on a 5×5 bull elk because it was too early in the season. “I passed on a 5×5 that I bugled in to 37 yards,” Plakke said. “It ended up being the correct decision because I later got within 150 yards of a real nice 6×7 bull, so I know there is a bigger one out there now.” Plakke told me that the bull elk he was hunting were bugling a lot. “I think they were more active because of the smoke in the air from the fires, the last time we had fires this time of the year the elk started their rut early then too!”

Josh Stewart from Missoula was successful in shooting a mountain goat last weekend. Stewart drew a tag for Hunting District 329. “It was steep country, maybe the steepest I have ever hunted in,” said Stewart. You may view the goat on www.MontanaOutdoor.com along with his hunting story.

Some hunters that I spoke with that went grouse hunting had early morning success on opening day. One of those was Steve Sautter of Missoula, “I saw a lot of birds today, all blue (dusky) grouse. I had my 3 bird limit by 9:30 AM. They were a little spooky for the first day of the season, maybe because of the smoke and fires,” he wrote in an e-mail.

There is still fishing to be done too! Brandt Hamernick from Missoula has been doing well on the Flathead River. “The smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent for me on the lower river,” reported Hamernick. The river flow on the lower Flathead River, by Perma, is about half of what it is normally is this time of the year, but the lack of water flow has not seemed to effect the fishing according to Hamernick. “There is still plenty of water, but you do need to watch where you are going. If you have a prop instead of a jet and the fish seem to be in the deeper holes, they were just hammering my plastic worms.” Hamernick caught and released a nice 19 inch bass that you may view on www.MontanOutdoor.com.

Flathead Lake is fishing good for lake trout, at least that is the case for Captain Bob Orsua from Mo Fisch Charters. “The fishing remains good on Flathead Lake. Fishing the eastside of the center bar. Fish 120-200 feet on the bottom. Also you will have luck going after suspended fish. Look for them on your fish finder and try and place your lure above the lake trout for best results”.