Fall 2012

This issue explores the search for connections: to nature, to recreation, to others, to oneself. Chasing whitetails along the Gallatin River, Bill Bilverstone strives for a more authentic outdoor experience. Peeling back prejudice, Tom Reed finds beauty in the oft-maligned mountain whitefish. Other authors help strip away unnecessary layers through eating wild plants, flying solo in the wilderness, and building a blind with one’s own two hands. And for some visual stimulation, check our 2012 O/B Photo Contest winners—there’s no better motivation for getting off the couch and engaging the outdoors.

 

Features

facebook twitter email
Bilverstone, Bill
Half a mile below Axtell Bridge, as I stalked the wily fall foliage with my Nikon, a fisherman burst out of the brush. Big-eyed and breathless, his creel flopping and waders swishing, he hustled over to me shouting, “Did you see it?”“What?” I asked, worriedly looking around in case “it” had big... Details
facebook twitter email
Reed, Tom
I’m not sure when I started wanting a drift boat. I do know why. On various trips around Montana, I’d drive past glimmering rivers and catch an occasional glimpse of a drift boat, anglers fore and aft, a hardy captain at the oars. It was a dream I carried for a number of years until finally, one... Details
facebook twitter email
Johnson, Chuck
In 1985, Montana formally created Block Management Areas (BMAs), which provide free access to private lands across the state for hunting big game, upland birds, and waterfowl. Some of these areas are adjacent to historically isolated public lands, which you can reach by signing up to hunt that BMA... Details

Departments

facebook twitter email
Foster, John Clay
Dedicated to Bob PackFather deer lucidly daydreams.His hooves twitch back and forthbetween sticky strings of alfalfa.He whimpers then yelps:"Shoot him!"Mother deer sits straight by his side,she ponders the pinkish-red flowersthat used to be down by the pond.Speaking in a quiet voice she says:"Are... Details
facebook twitter email
Putnam, Nathan
There are plenty of things to remember when prepping for a hunt, but hearing protection is often overlooked. Properly fitting, sufficient hearing protection can prevent permanent and irreversible hearing loss. Hunting-related damage is common—almost four times more common for hunters than for the... Details
facebook twitter email
Dehmer, Kurt
It’s finally here: day and night are in sync with similar hourly spans, frost has been spied on the pumpkins, and a rack or two has been spotted in the back of a passing pickup. It’s autumn, and in Montana that means only one thing: HUNTING SEASON! However, doubt tends to cause more than a little... Details
facebook twitter email
Sprede, Mick
Snobs. You know the type. The people who immediately bring up the fact that their Frisbee-loving buddy “Prince” is a purebred golden retriever, complete with show-winning parents. “I don’t care how many blue ribbons Prince’s mum won at Westminster,” I like to joke. “She’s still a bitch!”Apparently... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
When picking out a pet to join your family, consider the smaller animal shelters around Montana. “Most of the small-town shelters in Montana have wonderful dogs—they’d be so happy to get a real home,” says Pam McCutcheon, owner of Small Dog Realty. She named her business after the animals she helps... Details
facebook twitter email
Rogel, Christine
A few years ago, I passed a slowpoke on the road in front of me, returning to my lane just in time to see eyes staring down my headlights. Before I could swerve, the impact crushed the hood of my Honda CRV like an aluminum can. The car sputtered and stopped. Shaking, I stood on the side of the road... Details
facebook twitter email
Peter Muennich
Refining the focus of the spotting scope, my jaw drops. The largest mountain goat I’ve ever seen is standing on the same damn cliff as the previous morning. After half an hour of making mental notes of his position in the uninviting winter landscape, I tighten my gators, chug some water, and take a... Details
facebook twitter email
Beaudoin, Kate
He was a three-month-old puppy from the animal shelter, and I named him Reginald. Reggie—a tiny, furry orange mutt—became my best friend. We snuggled, we played, we had adventures together. But one chilly October Sunday, Reggie got sick. Lethargic, shivering, and breathing shallowly, his eyes... Details
facebook twitter email
Sinay, Ken
Like a lot of Montanans, I’ve done my share of hunting—it’s a seasonal tradition, and I enjoy the healthy, high-quality protein I harvest for my family and friends. So when I saw a 2007 news article involving a North Dakota study that found a high percentage of lead contamination in hunter-... Details
facebook twitter email
Armijo, Jimmy
When fall returns, so do the hatches of Blue Winged Olives (BWO). As with most fly patterns, this BWO cripple is an adaptation of many proven patterns—and possibly something I unknowingly borrowed from another fly tyer. That being said, I chose this pattern due to its ease of tying and... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
There’s a reason the founding fathers made the right to bear arms number two on the list: guns are incredible. Squeezing off rounds, hot shell casings arcing onto the gravel while the crack of the rifle echoes through the valley—a good day at the firing range could put a smile on the face of even... Details
facebook twitter email
McKenna, Marley
“Oh! but Grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!”“The better to eat you with!”And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of bed and swallowed up Little Red Riding Hood.—The Brothers Grimm, “Little Red Riding Hood”Fairy tales are supposed to be just that—tales of... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves. –Jack KornfieldThe bull came at dusk. I heard nothing, saw nothing. Suddenly he was there, a pale swath amid the timber. I inched the binos upward until my eyes beheld the beast: massive... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
“Wolves!” It’s the only word Doug can get out. Excited, out of breath, he takes a knee and we all gather round. Between gasps he fills us in. “I went… to take a leak… right over there… there’s wolves… right over there!” We dash to our packs and grab binoculars. Doug turns, beckoning. Single-file,... Details
facebook twitter email
Krueger, Ryan
The full moon arched above us in the cold night sky, brightening the surrounding hillsides. As we peered into the shelter, shadows danced through the windows and lively chatter leaked out into the frozen landscape beyond the fabric walls of the yurt. The stove crackled and sleeping bags beckoned,... Details
facebook twitter email
Best Farmer TanThis summer was a scorcher—and the abundance of Farmer Tan entries proved it. Burned backs, blistering feet, and toasted tummies all made the O/B staff cringe, while promptly reminding us to pack sunscreen on our next adventure. Steven Drake takes the cake in this year’s contest,... Details
facebook twitter email
Krueger, Ryan
These two mountain playgrounds are home to some of our favorite places in the world. But when it comes down to it, which one really stands on top? Read on as we attempt to settle an argument even Lewis and Clark couldn’t have agreed on—Bridger or Gallatin? AccessThe Bridgers are Bozeman’s backdrop—... Details
facebook twitter email
Jelinski, Jack
I love to touch wood that’s beaver-skinnedand worn to glass by flowing water. There are willow saplings that startle.Bent low by winter snow loadbut still rooted to the bankthey get pulled downstream by the currentuntil the slender sinew of their grainsnaps them back to wherethey are drawn down... Details
facebook twitter email
Goodman, Cameron
Winter’s just around the corner, and it’s a given that dedicated skiers in southwest Montana will hunt down a few turns before the season gets started. For those of you who just can’t bear the thought of waiting until December to hit the slopes, here are a few good bets for early-season powder that... Details
Photo by Ryan Krueger
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
We’re gathered around the back bar in John Bozeman’s Bistro, beer and wine in hand, eyeing the cauldron of antelope stew Chef Ty Hill has placed on the countertop. Ty grabs a white bowl from a stack, ladles in stew, and slides it to me. I pass it down the bar and he says, “This is made from the... Details
facebook twitter email
Well it was about time—we hadn’t made a mistake in several issues, so we went for broke and committed a whopping four editorial errors in the summer issue. Yep, we’re human after all.First off, the website we listed for the Big Sky PBR Rodeo (page 85) goes to a nightclub in Kansas City called,... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
From hundreds of feet in the air, Bozeman is a latticework of tiny streets filled with miniature houses and toy cars. Minutes later, our tiny plane rises above a thick carpet of evergreens, streaked with ribbons of brown beetle-kill and patched with buzz-cut fields of logging. Civilization fades... Details
facebook twitter email
Frost, Mick
Oh Dawn, bringer of light,With eternal vision deliver us from night.And color the world, not black, not white,But ambiguous grey, a beautiful sight!For in that moment a flicker of truthReveals what mankind knew in his youth,And since has lost, as proud minds compareThe Earth and Sky to rock and air... Details
facebook twitter email
Tomalavage, Jeff
Fall means wild game—and this season, try some fresh, exotic takes on preparing your bounty. Here’s a Mexican dry rub that works perfectly with elk steak, and a Hawaiian huli-huli marinade for your next duck. With these recipes, you’ll never look at big game or waterfowl the same again. Traditional... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
As the West’s answer to the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, known as the CDT, is 3,100 grueling miles cut through the backcountry from Mexico to Canada—and nearly 1,000 miles of it bisects the western half of Montana, composing the longest mountain trail in our state. Sadly, the... Details
facebook twitter email
Beaudoin, Kate
Whether you’re a classic Wild Turkey–drinkin’ hunter or a more sophisticated Cosmopolitan-quaffer, Bozeman has some great spots to relax—or celebrate—after a day in the field. Here’s where to get your drink on après-hunt. Colonel Black’s and Zebra Cocktail LoungeDescend the stairs at the corner of... Details
facebook twitter email
Beaudoin, Kate
Finally! The tourist hatch has subsided and locals can breathe again. Fall’s the perfect time to head to Ennis for the weekend—there’s a plethora of possibilities in this corner of southwest Montana, and choosing a starting point can be overwhelming. Here’s a guide to help you out. Everyone knows... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
Haven’t hit puberty yet? Got your beard-growing abilities from your mother’s side? Don’t worry: you have options. Here’s how to blend in with the real beards this season. Costume-Store CoveringA wide selection and corporate pricing means you can find the fuzzy face-mask that best fits your imposter... Details
facebook twitter email
With winter just around the corner, it’s important to understand the different options for heating your home. Here’s a look at three different ways to stay comfortable when the mercury drops.The Sun’s Radianceby Todd Hoitsma Comfortable, energy-efficient radiant floor heating may seem like a new... Details
facebook twitter email
Dave Reuss
Paradise Valley has no shortage—or variety—of good stone along its length: backyard alpine at Mount Cowen, exciting trad in Mill Creek, quality bouldering on both sides of Yankee Jim Canyon. But if you could do only one route while driving from Livingston to Gardiner, it would have to be Flake Fest... Details
facebook twitter email
Johnston, Holcomb
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”   —Albert Camus After months of sunshine, labor, and cultivation, the harvest season has arrived with its bounty: farmers’ markets flourish and grocery stores brim with regional produce. In Montana, where over 70% of our food comes from out... Details
facebook twitter email
Hester, Charley
The shadows stretched long as my wife, daughter, and I drove to our friends’ ranch to catch a few fish on the Madison. Getting out of the car we noticed a commotion above us. Three ospreys flew around erratically; then we saw an eagle, and then another, talons outstretched and beaks open. My wife... Details
facebook twitter email
Beaudoin, Kate
Come fall, the hordes of tourists have migrated home, leaving natives with the ice-blue rivers, deep-green junipers, and golden patches of cottonwoods surrounding Paradise Valley all to themselves. The trout are fat, the roads are quiet, and the trails are still; this corner of paradise is all... Details
facebook twitter email
Johnston, Holcomb
The smell of gunpowder is in the air and Montanans have the chance to fill their freezers with some of the most nutritious and sustainable food around. A true gift, the meat from wild mammals is generally lower in calories and saturated fat, and is leaner than grain-fed meat, because wild animals... Details
facebook twitter email
Drew Pogge
For most of us Montana men, it simply happens. It might be a Tuesday, around mid-October. We stand shirtless at the sink with a razor in one hand, and look at ourselves in the mirror. For some subtle reason, we’re displeased with what we see—boyish cheeks and a naked chin grinning out from beneath... Details
facebook twitter email
Stone, Robert
The Porcupine Creek Trail begins near the Gallatin River and climbs nine miles up to its headwaters in Onion Basin at the Gallatin-Yellowstone Divide. En route, the trail gains more than 3,000 feet to the basin and Gallatin Crest Trail along the ridge. Connecting trails lead to the Gallatin... Details
facebook twitter email
Knight, Phil
Deer season has arrived at last, and you’ve put in your time waiting and stalking. You finally have one in your sights—but do you know if it’s a whitetail or a muley? You should be able to tell the species almost instinctually before you pull the trigger.Montana is graced with plenty of both... Details
facebook twitter email
Kamman, Chris
You don’t need to be a professional photographer or cinematographer to try time-lapse photography; all you need is a few basic pieces of equipment, plenty of patience, a little ingenuity, and a car to sleep in while you wait it out.Time-lapse photography has gained popularity over the past decade... Details
facebook twitter email
Dehmer, Kurt
In an era of leafy, cut-poly fabrics dyed in the latest digi-cam patterns and different outfits of the latest tech-wear designed to blend into the countryside like a moth’s wing or a duck’s butt, the only thing today’s hunter could lack in the ancient art of concealment is money. But after two... Details
facebook twitter email
Harrison, Melynda
Anyone who read Into the Wild knows the importance of correctly identifying wild plants if you intend to eat them. In that true story, Christopher McCandless starved after eating the seeds of a plant that block nutrient metabolism in the body.The next time you’re lost in the woods or craving a... Details
Brown Trout, Montana Fall Fishing, Jefferson River
facebook twitter email
Kumlien, Kris
Come fall, local rivers empty and everyone heads for the hills. You’ll surely see your share of hunter’s orange and camo—but what you won’t see are crowded boat ramps and lines of anglers along the banks. Fall may be the best time to pursue big creatures in the mountains, but it’s also a great time... Details
facebook twitter email
Jones, Andrea
On July 12, 2012, Montana’s FWP Commission approved the state’s first wolf-trapping season, which will open December 15 and close February 28, 2013. The BackgroundIn order to address a wolf population in Montana of more than 650, the FWP added trapping to its management toolbox this year. This came... Details

Gear Reviews

facebook twitter email
England, Mike
A rod and reel are only as good as they cast—and without quality line and leader, you might as well use a willow branch. Do that fancy stick justice and spool your reel with RIO Grand line and Powerflex trout leader, two of the best products currently on the market. I tried the WF5F line; slightly... Details
facebook twitter email
Howlett, David
There’s nothing like a new pair of huntin’ boots, and the Hardscrabble Hiker from Kennetrek allowed me to hit the woods with confidence. Whether taking on my favorite hiking trail or hunting deep in the hills, this rugged boot made my feet impervious to the harsh elements. The tough leather was... Details
facebook twitter email
Sundborg, Caitlin
Throughout the years, I’ve rolled my ankles more times than I can count. Because they’re about as stable as a drunk toddler, I need extra support when it comes to traversing rocky trails. The AKU La Stria boots give me the stability I need and the comfort I want. Whether backpacking, hiking, or... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
When trimming weight for backcountry hunting, stove and fuel are among the first items to go. Problem is, your minimalist alternative—that rickety, soot-covered cooking grate—leaves much to be desired come dinnertime. Enter the Grilliput, a cleverly designed mobile barbeque that dismantles and... Details
facebook twitter email
Davies, Colton
I’ve never splurged on a quality pair of hiking boots. But neither my dad’s blister-happy hand-me-downs nor my three-year-old running shoes cut it anymore. The AKU SL Trek GTX reminded me why footwear matters. I put them to the test by taking off the tags and heading straight into a five-day class... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
With no weight restrictions, car-camping should involve some creature comforts—and no sleep pad I’ve used is as comfortable as the ThermaRest DreamTime. The company calls it a “mattress system,” and that’s not just marketing gobbledygook: in addition to a super-thick, self-inflating pad, there’s... Details
facebook twitter email
Beaudoin, Kate
The Osprey Aura has more bells and whistles than a one-man band at the Whoville Christmas parade. It’s built for extended trips and doesn’t miss a beat—if you can think of it, this pack’s got it. The ventilated mesh backpanel is crazy comfortable and the waffle-foam hipbelts and harness make it... Details
facebook twitter email
Davies, Colton
I found the idea of an A-frame tent moderately intimidating when recalling father-son campouts in the ‘90s with my dad’s puke-green, 20-pound “portable” behemoth. Nevertheless, I rose to the challenge and tested out the Eureka Timberline SQ 4XT. The result? The easiest tent I’ve ever assembled. But... Details
facebook twitter email
Mangels, Angie
There are a few things that are vitally important when I’m shopping for a pair of new sunglasses: they must be big enough to provide protection from the sun and wind, sit snugly against my face without being claustrophobic, provide good ventilation, and be able to sit on top of my head when I walk... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
For self-defense and tactical shooting, night practice is a must—most bad guys come under cover of darkness. 5.11’s ATAC L2 flashlight has all the standard features of a good tactical light, with a few bells and whistles thrown in for good measure. The L2’s water-resistant, aerospace-grade aluminum... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
Nothing makes outdoor folk happier than when a treasured recreational product, long lost to the vicissitudes of time and market forces, rises once again. So it is with the Kletterwerks Flip, Dana Gleason’s iconic, old-school daypack, designed in Bozeman in the late ‘70s (and still occasionally... Details
facebook twitter email
Lach, Devon
In the middle of autumn, I rarely wish for the bone-chilling snows of winter to return—but after putting on my new Aussie Dogs Bonzer boots, there was a small part of me that hoped just a few flakes would fall. Though tall, the boots felt like slippers, and unlike many other sheepskin boots, these... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
Few things can drive a man mad faster than crappy matches that keep burning or blowing out. Wind, dampness, awkward positioning, poor match design—whatever the culprit, the results are the same: a desperate rage, the proverbial thorn in the lion’s paw. Which is where UCO’s Long-Burn Matches come in... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
It appears that the folks at NiteIze have been burning the midnight oil, releasing new products with blinding frequency. Their latest illuminator is the BrimLit, a clip-on headlamp that sits under the brim of your ball cap for quick access while fishing, hiking, map-reading, or any other outdoor... Details
facebook twitter email
McCarthy, Chris
I’ve always been wary of buying a complete fly rod in a box—the kind where the only thing not already set up is the fly. Thankfully, the aptly named Pursuit Rod and Reel by Redingtin has changed my mind. This four-piece outfit comes ready-to-fish, the reel already spooled with Rio Mainstream WF fly... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
Come fall, a hunter’s relationship with the natural world changes. Gone are the carefree days of summer—unpredictable weather, off-trail exploration, and hungry hibernators introduce a whole new set of hazards. Which is where the Pathfinder Outdoor Survival Guides (Waterford Press, $7 ea.) come in... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
Brought to you by the same folks who make the Swiss Army knife, the Rothorn 2 is a beefy four-season tent that’s ready for anything. One of the most important aspects of a tent is how easily it goes up—and even after losing the instructions, I managed to erect the Rothorn in less than ten minutes... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
I initially scoffed at the phone-store jerks who offered me expensive cases—until I realized the retail value on my new phone was equivalent to several months of rent. With that in mind (and on the heels of three friends shattering their front glass), I scooped up the new iPhone 4 Case from... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
If you’re not ready to let summer go (who is in Montana?), strap on a pair of Kross shoes and stubbornly run, splash, and scramble your way right past the autumnal equinox. Made by the Italian company Lizard, the super-lightweight, amphibious Kross forces a forefoot strike, making it a great option... Details
facebook twitter email
Howlett, Dave
I’ve helped several friends dehydrate food over the years, so when offered the opportunity to try out the Excalibur 3500 Food Dehydrator, I jumped at it. Right out of the box, the sheer size of the unit impressed me—this behemoth has five large trays totaling eight square feet of drying area for... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
Bird hunters need both insulation and mobility, making a vest the ideal outerwear option. If you’re willing to spend a few bucks, there’s no better choice than Eddie Bauer’s old-school 1936 Skyliner Vest. The down-filled Skyliner—a reintroduction of the classic Hemingway-era “huntsman” model—uses a... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
For bird hunters on a budget, the PetSafe Big Dog Remote Trainer is a great alternative to those fancy-schmancy collars that shock your bank account more than your insubordinate canine. Simple and easy to use, the waterproof Big Dog—made for dogs 40 pounds or more—offers 16 stimulation levels, a... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
You can never have enough camera equipment, but odds are good you probably don’t have enough gear to fill all of the slots, pockets, and compartments on the Tour FX. Great for those with a proclivity for action photography, this versatile pack can swallow tons of equipment and still offer plenty of... Details

Book Reviews

facebook twitter email
England, Mike
Poll a few Bozeman locals on the place they’d most like to explore, and odds are they’ll say the Beartooths. There’s something awe-inspiring about this massive mountain range to the east, something mysterious and grand and utterly enchanting. Which is exactly what Red Lodge photographer Mervin... Details
facebook twitter email
Wilson, Nathaniel
Miss some of Bear Gryll’s latest adventures on TV? Fear not, for the Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild Season 6 is now on DVD. This season features nine episodes on two discs, and shows Bear doing his best impression of a piss-drinking survivalist. There are moments when the events have obviously... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
When I say that Atlas of Yellowstone (University of California Press, $65) has everything there is to know about our first national park, it isn’t an exaggeration—this coffee-table tome has over 500 maps and contributions from over 100 experts packed into its 300 pages. From original maps drawn by... Details
facebook twitter email
Reuss, Dave
Building on the success of his first two nonfiction books, Matthew Mayo has delivered again with Sourdoughs, Claim Jumpers & Dry Gulchers: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Frontier Prospecting (TwoDot Publishing, $17). This book is bound for similar greatness, giving a glimpse... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
The next best thing to hunting is reading about it, and in 40 Days Under the Big Sky: A Birdhunter’s Journal (self-published, $25), author Jay Hanson relates an entire season on the wing, chasing birds across every type of terrain and through all kinds of weather. The book weaves raw journal... Details
facebook twitter email
England, Mike
John Steinbeck famously called Montana “a great splash of grandeur,” and in A Montana Journal (Riverbend Publishing, $25), photographer Christopher Cauble captures that majesty with 36 eclectic images from around the state. Lily pads in Loon Lake, in Montana’s northwest corner; a red fox patrolling... Details

© 2000-2017 Outside Media Group, LLC
Powered by BitForge