Fall 2018

Features

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Forest Plan Revision, Mary Erickson
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Lisa Baril
Behind the scenes at the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. For the better part of a decade, I drifted from one seasonal job to another. A worn atlas of North America served as my guide. I loved that atlas until Georgia tore away from the spiral spine and Montana lay crumpled on the passenger seat,... Details
Elk Camp. Montana, Elk Hunting
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Jack Ballard
Come fall, many Montana families relocate to their second home—elk camp.  “Home is where the heart is,” or so the threadbare, but penetratingly truthful, saying goes. Where one sleeps for the night may define a place of residence. The tiny space on a vast planet to which one is most emotionally... Details
Blue Grouse Hunting, Bozeman, Montana
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Tom Reed
This season, retreat to the high country in search of mountain grouse. Evening is the quiet road. The hunt is squeezed by daylight; the ridge has been climbed in a frenzy of pumping heart and heaving lung. The shotgun has barked, once, twice. Fresh dog work for the young Griffon; old hat for the... Details
Yellowstone Bison, Yellowstone National Park, Brucella, Buffalo Field Campaign
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the editors
Wild bison once dominated Montana’s grassland landscapes. Now they’re unwelcome visitors to their native lands. The big question is, why? We all know the history of wild bison in the American West. There used to be millions; then there were almost none. Nowhere was this transition more pronounced... Details
Black  Bear, Montana
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David Tucker
The mountains are full of danger; prepare for risk and reap the rewards. It’s late in the evening when I reach the trailhead, maybe two more hours of light. One car with out-of-state plates sits in the lot. Usually, I expect overflow parking at this spot, and that’s why I’ve waited. The trail is... Details
Fly Fishing, Bozeman, Montana
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Jake Mosher
Memories flow like water after a lifetime on the river.  If there’s such a thing as a universal thread running through my universe, connecting years, setting place markers, binding in some small way the smaller purpose of one man’s existence here on Earth, mine is made of monofilament. It runs... Details

Departments

Mountain Biking, Photography, Mount Blackmore, Bozeman
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Simon Peterson
A case for the photo-hoarders.  “Bad photo editor, bad!” Yep, that’s me talking to myself—again. Sometimes—almost always—editing my own work is the toughest task. As my career has progressed, I’ve gotten much, much better at erasing gigabytes of outtakes and B-grade images that I think will never... Details
Missoula Fly Fishing, Clark Fork, Bitterroot River, Blackfoot River
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Sam Lungren
Fall fishing in Missoula. Sometimes, you just have to hit the road. And when that urge arises, western Montana answers the call. The rivers of Missoula hardly require introduction; the hallowed Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Bitterroot are as steeped in fly-fishing lore as any other streams on the... Details
Fall Fly Fishing, Bozeman, Montana
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Jake Walbridge
Considerations for fall fly fishing.  Strip… strip… strip… BOOM! The water explodes in a fury of brown trout. The following three seconds are utter chaos as both sides battle to gain control. Alas, the hook never set and the fish is liberated from the tether of the line. Despair sets in as the... Details
Second Rut, Elk Hunting, Southwest Montana
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Mark Schutey
Hunting the rifle-season rut. It was opening week of the general rifle season. My hunting party slowly worked its way up a backwoods trail toward a large meadow for a late-afternoon hunt. The wind was still, the temperature pleasant, but the slight aroma of oncoming moisture filled the air as we... Details
Northern Goshawk, Montana Raptors
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David Cronenwett
A chance encounter with the northern goshawk.I am walking in the foothills of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest on a recent morning, still bleary-eyed and not as alert as I should be. At 6,200 feet of elevation, this country is a textbook example of the montane ecotype: a paradise of lush meadows... Details
Mountain Man, Bozeman, Montana
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David Tucker
Bozeman has always been a town of dreamers. The most recent influx of transplants (e.g., me) are perhaps the dreamiest of all, arriving with Instagram expectations and unjustified self-confidence. Snow-covered mountains were the motivating factors for my emigration, but I had a secondary goal,... Details
Lewistown, Camping, Judith Mountains
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E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.
A weekend in Lewistown. The first time I drove through Lewistown, I immediately decided it would be the last place in Montana to elude the long arm of development. That’s why I moved here 40 years ago, and nothing that has happened since has made me regret the decision. The area’s natural beauty,... Details
CryoMT, Bozeman, Cryo Therapy
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David Schroeder
Alternatives to stagnant training routines.  While preparing for this year’s paddling season, I noticed my strength regressing. The massive snowpack had started trickling down from the mountains and my first race was coming up. For the first time, my normal regimen wasn’t enough—so I decided to try... Details
Master Hunter, One Montana, Common Ground
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Courtney Miranda
One Montana launches Master Hunter program. Montanans value public land and private-property rights equally. Now more than ever, a schism between the two has set us at odds. In attempt to mend that tear, Bozeman nonprofit One Montana created the Common Ground program in 2012. This year, Common... Details
Pheasant Hunting, Waterways, Montana
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E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.
Hunting waterways for pheasant. The creek wasn’t much, even by the restricted standards of arid Montana prairie habitat—no more than a softball-pitch wide below the occasional beaver dams, frozen hard enough to support the dogs’ weight if not quite hard enough to bear my own. It was the dense cover... Details
Ramshorn Lake, Buffalo Horn Trail, Big Sky, Montana, Gallatin Range
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Robert Stone
Hiking Buffalo Horn to Ramshorn Lake. Ramshorn Lake sits at the base of Fortress Mountain and Ramshorn Peak, the highest mountain in the Gallatin Range at 10,289 feet. The circular lake, rimmed with pines, rests 1,800 feet below the towering peaks. It’s a popular fishing spot with cutthroat and... Details
Long-Range Shooting, Hunting
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Bill Wood
Musings on long-range hunting. Over the last decade, the quality and availability of long-range shooting equipment has increased dramatically. Rifles that shoot remarkably tight groups at extended distances, reticle-adjusting turrets matched ballistically to the ammunition, rangefinders with... Details
Beaver Ponds Trail, CDT, Pipestone Pass, Mountain Biking
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David Tucker
Fall biking near Butte.  In the mountains around Bozeman, winter can come early. Last year, the high alpine saw snow in late September, and by Halloween there was a foot in town. We also see our fair share of Indian summers. So, year to year, we never know what we’re going to get. This can cause... Details
MAG, Gallatin Canyon, Rock Climbing, Bozeman
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Sam Magro
Autumn climbing in Montana. It’s late fall in southwest Montana, the tail end of rock season and the start of ice season, and ideal conditions for both disciplines can be found between inclement weather events. The cool temps are great for those harder south-facing rock climbs down low, and make... Details
Comet Wirtanen, Bozeman, Montana
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Jim Manning
Observing fall’s comets.  When beggars die there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. —Shakespeare, Julius CaesarIn the old days—the really old days—people liked their sky regular and predictable. So when something unexpected appeared, it put people on edge.... Details
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Joe King
Catch-and-release hunting takes off. No guns. No bows. No spears, knives, or clubs. This is hunting at its most primeval, pitting man against beast without the aid of technology. No weapons are allowed—it’s hand versus hoof, head versus horn.It is both the oldest and newest form of hunting, using... Details
Elk Hunting, Weekend Warrior, Montana
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Tim Hoffer
Quick-hits for the time-crunched.  The chocolate-colored bruin swayed his substantial head from side to side trying to decipher what I was from 100 yards. I snugged the rifle up tight and slipped off the safety. The crosshairs hovered behind his shoulder as he slowly turned away. Now. That bear... Details
Bozangeles, Bozeman, Montana
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the editors
Tips for Bozeman newbies. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” —Jesse Potter The much-touted “Montana Native” appellation may be a venerable one, akin to an aristocratic rank of Countess or Baronet. But like most noble titles, the rank is titular; a much more... Details
Avalanche Education, Early-Season, Bozeman, Montana
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Drew Pogge
Early-sesaon avalanche safety. Early-season ski stoke is real. The first big snow of the year always lights a fire, and people just can’t wait to get out. Locally, places like Fairy Lake are routinely mobbed with over-excited September, October, and November skiers and snowboarders. And why not? At... Details
Lick Creek, Hyalite, Bozeman, Montana
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Anthony Pavkovich
Running Hyalite's hidden gem. Fall leaves drift across the doubletrack and the sound of the creek trickles through the low country. Raspberry canes line the edge of the forest while frost shimmers in the grass and collects in yesterday’s footprints. Solitude, just a dozen miles south of Bozeman.... Details
Mountain Biking, Fall, Bozeman, Montana
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David Tucker
Four last-gasp adventures. Fall is a bonus season: two more months of great weather before the snows of winter come calling. That’s two months sans tourists, to hike, run, bike, and fish to your heart’s content. If you aren’t careful, though, you could miss the moment all together and find the... Details
Elk Hunting, Bozeman, Montana
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Drew Pogge
Hunting for something more. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.” —the Rolling StonesIt’s funny the things we remember. Each day we have hundreds of experiences; we see thousands of images; we converse with dozens of people. And yet the... Details
Private-Land Hunting, Landowner Relations, Hunting, Montana
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Dan Aadland
As a Montana rancher, I’ve been fielding requests for permission to hunt our acreage for over 50 years. Sometimes I give it and sometimes I don’t. Often the reason is obvious. A big SUV pulled into our driveway a few years back, loaded with half-a-dozen hunters wearing blaze orange. A guy in the... Details

Gear Reviews

Review: Huntcrafted Phelps Elk Call
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Mike England
For those whose aesthetic sensibilities travel with them into the field, HuntCrafted has commissioned a series of refined-looking game calls, among them the Phelps Elk Call. This sucker’s not only attractive, but intuitive and made of quality materials, including a laminate camo body. Take care of... Details
Review: Stio Pinecone SS
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Joyce Pollastro
Stio’s Pinecone SS team jersey is great for steamy, high-output bike rides. Made with lightweight, moisture-wicking Lycra, the jersey moves with the body to provide unparalleled fit and flexibility. It’s snug but not constrictive, with three roomy back pockets for storage. Stio’s SunSmart fabric... Details
Review: Garmin inReach Explorer+
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Chris McCarthy
Being prepared in the backcountry is important, and that’s why you should make the inReach Explorer+ from Garmin part of your kit. This GPS sends text messages that include your location to folks from anywhere. If it’s an emergency, there’s an SOS button that connects you to a 24/7 global... Details
Review: Smith Round
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David Tucker
Sunglasses are expensive, so I need something I can wear all the time. Enter the Rebound from Smith. The only time they fog at all is when resting after a strenuous climb on the bike, and grippy rubber on the nose and temples keeps them motionless on my face, no matter how rough the trail. Plus,... Details
Review: Schnee's Montana II ADV
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David Tucker
One boot that does it all. Winter is a challenging time for footwear. We expect a lot out of our boots, and when we have a winter like the one we've been having so far, we need them to deliver. The first substantial snow fell in town on November 1. Since then, we've had rain, snow, temps in the 50s... Details
Review: Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX
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Mike England
Comfy right out of the box, Scarpa's Kailash Trek GTX hugs the foot tight for a rock-solid fit. The cuff is high enough to protect the ankle, but low enough to keep weight down, and the soft grey / light-blue color scheme doesn’t blow your cover when bedecked in camo. The suede upper bends when you... Details
Review: Deuter Pulse 3
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Joyce Pollastro
Deuter’s Pulse 3 hip-belt pack is an excellent choice for those quick hikes with the dogs. It’s lightweight, has enough room for snacks, and contains a 1.5L water bladder. The ventilated-yet-snug fit is perfect when working up a sweat, plus it fits nicely in my kayak. Added bonus: I use it to keep... Details
Review: First Lite Furnace Henley
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Mike England
First Lite's Furnace Henley is a stretchy, form-fitting pullover that lets you layer in camouflaged comfort. Its Merino fabric sits smooth against the skin while the 5% spandex prevents constriction. Use it as a toasty mid-layer when sitting still and as a silent outer layer when moving around. The... Details
Review: Tecnica Forge GTX
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Cindy Gonzalez
The Forge GTX is a rugged hiker that’s all about the fit: adaptive-shape molding makes this boot the first of its kind. In-store boot-fitters use heated compression bags on both footbed and boot to create the perfect mold to get you out the door and directly onto the trail. Designed with serious... Details
Review: GCI Outdoor Master Cook Station
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David Tucker
Dispersed camping is the best camping, but there are drawbacks—such as the lack of a picnic table for food prep. Problem solved with the Master Cook Station from GCI Outdoor. The durable, compact unit has loads of countertop space for prep, cooking, and cleaning—yep, the unit even has a sink. After... Details
Review: Wenzel Camp Quilt
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Joyce Pollastro
I took Wenzel's Camp Quilt along to a music festival this past summer and it proved a cozy solution for when temps drop, and a great place to rest while listening to music. It’s roomy—60” x 70”—and while insulated, compresses into a small included stuff-sack. As the season progresses, keep this... Details
Review: Mystery Ranch Terraframe 80
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Taylor Burlage
The Terraframe 80 is the backpacking equivalent of the all-terrain vehicle. With 80 liters of space, multiple easy-access pockets, and rugged, tear-resistant fabric, it ranks way above the other multi-day packs I’ve tried. Mystery Ranch’s Overload system makes the Terraframe truly special: a load... Details
Review: Lowa Tibet GTX Hi
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Jordan Shanahan
At 4lbs. 2 oz, Lowa's Tibet GTX Hi boots are relatively lightweight, making them nimble and maneuverable. The closure system gets good purchase on the laces, and the liner’s warm but not too warm; with a good pair of hiking-weight wool socks, I’ve been comfortable in the Montana heat. Last but not... Details
Review: Stio Second Light
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Joyce Pollastro
When I reach an alpine ridge and need to take the chill off my sun-baked skin, Stio’s Second Light pullover proves an essential extra layer. It’s super lightweight—3.5oz. to be exact—and stretchy. It features reflective piping at the back for low-light visibility, and grippy elastic keeps the hem... Details

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