Last week was our time to head to Wolf Point for the annual pheasant hunt. I always look forward to this trip to the Northeast part of the state for many reasons.
The people are always friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The Montana scenery while traveling from Missoula to Wolf Point is spectacular. And, of course, the pheasant hunting is always great.
So a week ago Jens Gran, from Polson, and I headed over to hunt with some of the local folks on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. A reservation license is required to hunt pheasants there. The cost for this license is $45 for pheasants and $5 for a conservation license, unless you are a senior citizen like my friend Jens. Then, you will pay only $35. The license is good for the season.
Pheasant numbers are impressive on the reservation, but as in years past, sometimes it is a little challenging to get your arms around the area you are hunting in order to get a good shot.
One of the problems with out-of-state hunters that some of the locals expressed frustration about is they think that because they purchased a tribal license, that entitles them to hunt anywhere on the reservation without permission. Most of the land on the reservation is deeded and hunters are required to ask permission to hunt.
The hunting pressure along the Missouri River bottom has gotten to be heavy during the first two weeks of the pheasant hunting season and magnifies even more when the general big game elk and deer rifle seasons begin, especially during the weekend.
Still the there seems to be plenty of places for hunters to go. And, as I said, the pheasant population is far better than most places around the state.
The best suggestion that I might offer is to buy a map of the reservation and know what land is public and what is private. Spend a day driving around to get to know the land and ask permission as you go.
Then make a plan for the next few days of what you will be hunting.
Having a good hunting dog or two would also be highly recommended. I also would suggest that you limit your hunting party to four or fewer hunters and one vehicle if possible. Landowners are more likely to grant permission with fewer hunters.
It is a big area and so much great habitat that it is easy to get side-tracked while you are hunting during the day. Don’t forget to plan a day of hunting off the reservation too! There are many areas of CRP and block management that offer great pheasant hunting as well as private land that requires permission.
The pheasant hunting is good in this area which is why many hunters travel from as far away as Washington to the west and Minnesota to the east to hunt pheasants and enjoy Northeastern Montana.
I look forward to joining them to get in on the fun every year.