Eastern Montana 2019

Hunt1GSP

New member
Hello, I'm wanting to do a hunt next fall and have never hunted Montana. I was wonder how this year went and suggestions for general areas for next year. I'm also open to suggestions on time frame. I'm wanting to do more of a partridge hunt and am thinking week before pheasant opener should be good. I have started my research, but any help in narrowing down my search would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Vince
 

esetter

New member
Hunted EMT last season. Birds were spotty but they had been HAMMERED by the drought. We did the best on pheasants and sharptail grouse between roundup and Lewistown on private ground. Took us a little while to figure out how the block management worked as far as who to call , signing in etc... Up around Circle was scorched earth but did find a few birds. We did the best on pheasants more towards Glendive. We moved one covey of huns in a week. You may do better going earlier as you have planned. Its big country , take some dog power. Plan on pulling some burrs from feet.
 

BRITTMAN

Active member
Parts of MT and far western ND (and I am sure parts of other western states) are certainly full of prickly pear cactus and sand burrs. Both can play havoc on a dog's feet. Seems like on area is problematic and down the road the area is clean.

Burrs, seeds, and other matter pulled from dog's coat and feet should be disposed of in the trash to avoid further dispersing these species to new areas.
 
Burrs can be real problematic in that area. Especially along any waterways. Crp fields are not so bad. We always start putting pad toughner on 3 weeks before we go, and daily while we hunt. Also look for what we call mud rocks between the toes, they can cripple a dog really fast. Multiple times we have put a couple of inches of water in the motel's tub to soften them up and clean out. Never had to boot dogs like we did quail hunting in Arizona though.
 

CGD

New member
Hunted EMT last season. Birds were spotty but they had been HAMMERED by the drought. We did the best on pheasants and sharptail grouse between roundup and Lewistown on private ground. Took us a little while to figure out how the block management worked as far as who to call , signing in etc... Up around Circle was scorched earth but did find a few birds. We did the best on pheasants more towards Glendive. We moved one covey of huns in a week. You may do better going earlier as you have planned. Its big country , take some dog power. Plan on pulling some burrs from feet.
Was thinking about heading to Lewistown next September and making that home base for a week. Is that a nice area?
 
My thoughts on the bird hunting here in Montana have been shared on other of my post, but, I will say this, over the past 3 days, I made a trip to Big Timber, MT, from my home outside of Glasgow, so, drove to Malta, south to Roy, then thru Lewistown, Judith Gap, Harlowton and down to BT. Saw a total of 8 roosters, and 1 hen. No huns, did see a few grouse, maybe a couple dozen. This includes the trip down and back. Areas where I use to see dozens of birds this time of year, were bare. Saw a couple groups of 3 roosters, and a couple singles. If you are familiar at all with the winter habits of upland birds in Montana, you know that is bad. I make this drive pretty frequently, having a second home in BT. Those drives this winter have seen the same or even less birds. I know the locals around home keep mentioning how the state needs to give the birds a break for a year or two, hopefully let them re-generate their numbers. I realize this will not happen, to much $$ involved. They say the same about the deer herd here in our area, numbers are still down from the brutal winter of 2010-11 and then the spring and summer flooding and EHD outbreak that decimated deer numbers. It's all about the money, unfortunately.
 

PTM

New member
Hunt1GSP, don’t rule the Scobey area out for Huns and Sharpies, the awesome thing about Montana Upland season is it starts September1. You could also parlay in a Sage Grouse a bucket list bird. Huns are doing fair in ND, if you decide to move over a state I can pm you for some generalized areas and if your willing to walk you’ll find birds probably more than in MT. The pheasants are alive and well in Montana near the Milk river Havre to ND/MT State line along US 2 it’s tough to get on before deer season.
Lewiston is a bucket list destination because of the scenery but access can be tough. Do your research, look at maps, look at places that other hunters are not willing to walk to. Thanks for wanting to come up to our part of the world. In my opinion these are the years when a small group or solo hunter is going to feel more successful.
It’s all going to come down to preparation hard work and good dogs.
 
Hunt1GSP, don’t rule the Scobey area out for Huns and Sharpies, the awesome thing about Montana Upland season is it starts September1. You could also parlay in a Sage Grouse a bucket list bird. Huns are doing fair in ND, if you decide to move over a state I can pm you for some generalized areas and if your willing to walk you’ll find birds probably more than in MT. The pheasants are alive and well in Montana near the Milk river Havre to ND/MT State line along US 2 it’s tough to get on before deer season.
Lewiston is a bucket list destination because of the scenery but access can be tough. Do your research, look at maps, look at places that other hunters are not willing to walk to. Thanks for wanting to come up to our part of the world. In my opinion these are the years when a small group or solo hunter is going to feel more successful.
It’s all going to come down to preparation hard work and good dogs.
How the hell are pheasants " alive and well " along the Milk river? Populations have plummeted. Preparation and good dog work, are not much good if the birds are not there. I have to shake my head at someone who may come to an area once or twice a year and make blanket claims. Like I said, I drive between Glasgow and Malta quite a bit, there is a couple miles just east of Hinsdale during the morning or evening a person used to have to slow down and pay attention due to all the birds running near the road, now you hardly see any birds...if you are as know as much about this area as you claim, you will know where I am speaking.....
 

CGD

New member
I will be coming back to this thread multiple times over the next 8 months I feel. My plan is to come out 1st or 2nd week of September and try and go for the trifecta, Huns, Sharpies, and Sage Grouse. I really look forward to getting into big country and exploring.
 

Hunt1GSP

New member
Thanks for all of the advice so far. It's very much appreciated. Looking forward to more. I don't mind long walks looking the birds and have a young GSP that's can go all day.
 

PTM

New member
I sure do, there used to be so many road killed pheasants a bald eagle used to perch there all winter long. Ever get off the highway North or South of that spot, still pheasants in very huntable numbers. I used to live in Malta, have friends still there, in fact he usually gets his limit every time out, he’s out a lot. It sure seems to sound like protectionism on your part.
I’m from ND I’ve always been blown away by some of the ND and MT residents being resistant to out of state hunting but when they travel abroad to other states that’s ok. Yes numbers are down but compare them to Virginia or Rhode Island. We should be encouraging everyone to come up, help out where we can, because this is a dying thing my friend, and we are at the bottom of the hunting world, it’s popular when it’s good and when numbers go down you find out quickly who’s into this for real.
What if in 2020-2022 we have the worst winters, heavy spring rains, then summer droughts, and bird numbers drop to far worse levels than right now, are you going to feel good about trying to keep people from coming there. If I was from some place with no birds your claim that residents and ranchers are all saying that the season should be suspended would actually motivate me to come there and quite honestly I don’t believe it.
Good luck shutting down the season.
 

termo

New member
Hello all. I joined this site a few years back - been away since.
A Montana bird hunter since 1984, based out of SW MT.
I currently have 2 great bearded lady pointers over which I hunted around 40 days this past Sept-Dec around MT. Blue Grouse, Phez, Huns, Sharptails.
I have no interest in shying out-of-staters away. We're all bird hunters, vital to keeping the things we do alive.
However....
This past season, with the exception of a few pockets here and there, overall bird populations were in the toilet. I arrived at some destinations and after a day, went home. Spoke with a PF groundskeeper near Lewistown and he echoed these sentiments exactly. Along with my experience, many of my hunting pards were all in the same boat. Yes, us MT'ers who know our country well, recommended to fellow residents to not hunt a lot of areas - leave 'em alone.
Yes, we still have birds, but when the numbers are as low as now, it falls on all of us to give 'em a break. I do it myself and have no problem telling the other's the truth about the current bird populations and suggesting to others - maybe think about doing the same.
For the record, those 40 days I hunted were mainly keeping the dogs going. I killed very few birds of all species. One Hun, never shot a sharptail, less than ten Blues, and around a dozen roosters.
I hope folks from other states as well as residents give MT birds a break next season - if a guy from ND, SD, wherever told me of this circumstance in his area - I'd do the same for that bird population...........
Just one concerned and conscientious bird hunter's opinion, one who's grateful to be able to utilize a truly spectacular resource and live a great tradition.
 

termo

New member
I read PTM's posts about hunting MT with some curiosity. PTM seems hellbent on trashing any opinion that - MT bird numbers being low, thus maybe give 'em a break.
Then I saw this in the NoDak section - " Bird counts be damned, I’ll be out here until they haul me away or shut the season down". PTM.
Explanation evident.
Hunters need not worry about the "antis". Attitudes like the above maybe a little more dangerous in the long run.............................
 
I agree. I'm obviously a nonresident, but I have hunted MT since the 90's. For myself I never shot a sharptail last year, just because I wasn't sure if it was a boy or girl and I felt we need as many girls as possible. As for pheasants I did manage a few roosters, but more was there for the walks and dog work. At my age I can't afford to pass on many seasons anymore. With the lose of crp the numbers will never be like they were 20 years ago. This unfortunately may be the new normal. There will always be a few birds in areas of good habitat and removing a boy or two will not affect the final picture . The state has done a decent job of trying to mitigate the loss of crp with their open fields programs. It would be wonderful if more was done. If nobody hunted upland birds than the state wouldn't have any reason to promote programs such as the open fields. If there is another bad winter or crappy spring I think the problem will regulate itself in that the ones who only come for a tailgate of birds will not come back anymore. I certainly am not hoping for that.
 

PTM

New member
I read PTM's posts about hunting MT with some curiosity. PTM seems hellbent on trashing any opinion that - MT bird numbers being low, thus maybe give 'em a break.
Then I saw this in the NoDak section - " Bird counts be damned, I’ll be out here until they haul me away or shut the season down". PTM.
Explanation evident.
Hunters need not worry about the "antis". Attitudes like the above maybe a little more dangerous in the long run.

The only anti hunting message is about no bird hunting in Montana and is coming from you and MT Husker As long as there is a legal season I will be out there, I won’t apologize for that. The days of coming to either one of these states producing a glory shot on the FB for 45 minutes walking are long gone for the average public/block management hunter.

Southwest North Dakota is also in the toilet for numbers. Haven’t heard one call to shut it down. Do guys who have access or a willingness to walk a mile or three for pheasants still have some big days you bet they do. Do they get skunked or have a crappy day? Yes they do.

If you want to hang up your gun that’s a personal choice, apparently Montana Husker already has. Especially when it comes to pheasants, your not going to change populations up or down by limiting hunting. All three states take some measured way of determining limits. While numbers suck where you are, they may be flourishing somewhere nearby. That is your perception right now, if it is widespread the State will lower the limit or close the season I guess, doubt it.

Montanahuskers roadside pheasant population sampling whilst traveling at the posted speed limit of 70 mph on US 2 is some pretty convincing evidence, he only saw 7 where there used to be hundreds. They rotated some crops around I wonder if that moved them some where else? Probably not it was those pesky out of staters who keep coming back shooting up the birds, they must have some good dogs! I bet they walk a lot! Habitat and weather have everything to do with pheasant populations. If my favorite spots don’t have birds, sometimes they don’t it seems to vary year by year, I find some new ones.

Thanks for the fascinating debate guys, you have laid out some really amazing arguments, ask the PF guy next time you see him how your efforts have gone to rebuilding the Pheasant population. If you have extra time ask him his take on mortality rates, population growths, pheasant life expectancy.
 

termo

New member
Quite a rant ptm.
Go back and re-read my post, find where I said anything about season closure or "hanging up my gun". Just pointed out experience and my viewpoint.
You exhibit great internet tough guy qualities. You are just the type of hunter trash that advances the stereotype.
Congrats.
After reading this reply, go ahead and insert your head back up your arse.
I'm sure there are some great guys besides you on this forum.
And if you're naive enough to believe that MFWP "report" I have some cheap shorefront land on Flathead Lake I'll sell ya'.
See ya'.
 

PTM

New member
Ha ha classic, I read some of your old posts, Goosemaster wouldn’t cry in his wheaties. Funny you should mention sticking it where the sun doesn’t shine, I bet if your dogs could talk, maybe try a cup of decaf.
 
I sure do, there used to be so many road killed pheasants a bald eagle used to perch there all winter long. Ever get off the highway North or South of that spot, still pheasants in very huntable numbers. I used to live in Malta, have friends still there, in fact he usually gets his limit every time out, he’s out a lot. It sure seems to sound like protectionism on your part.
I’m from ND I’ve always been blown away by some of the ND and MT residents being resistant to out of state hunting but when they travel abroad to other states that’s ok. Yes numbers are down but compare them to Virginia or Rhode Island. We should be encouraging everyone to come up, help out where we can, because this is a dying thing my friend, and we are at the bottom of the hunting world, it’s popular when it’s good and when numbers go down you find out quickly who’s into this for real.
What if in 2020-2022 we have the worst winters, heavy spring rains, then summer droughts, and bird numbers drop to far worse levels than right now, are you going to feel good about trying to keep people from coming there. If I was from some place with no birds your claim that residents and ranchers are all saying that the season should be suspended would actually motivate me to come there and quite honestly I don’t believe it.
Good luck shutting down the season.
I sure do get off the highway, have several friends who ranch up on Rock and Cache creeks, I have other ranches up on Frenchman creek also , so, yeah, I do see some country. As for your remarks on residents being "resistant" regarding NR hunters.....yes, when so many our putting there guns away for the year, or, like many of my friends, switching to waterfowl hunting, it does put a crawl up my backside. I have welcomed many NR prior to the past couple years, even taking out DU parties for fundraising purposes when asked, but with the population the way it is today, that has stopped. I would like you to explain the "alive and well" comment, that was the main issue that bothered me....you either do not know as much as you think you do, or you were , let's say, exaggerating. As for not believing my comment about locals wanting to shut the season down for some time, spend some time in this area, meet with locals at basketball games or other venues, I am betting you change your mind. I can care less if you believe what I say, I just wish you would post things that are based in fact, I guess when one stretches the truth themselves, they think other's do similar things......
 
Top