Paint the Town Red

Living where people hunt. 

Try as they might, there’s one thing newcomers will never change about Bozeman: this will always be a hunting town. Elk will always bugle come September, grouse will always scatter at the sight of a dog, and a big mule-deer buck will always make those in the know lick their chops. While it’s true that there are more non-hunters among us these days, there are still telltale signs of this hamlet’s sporting heritage. Here’s how you know it’s hunting season in a hunting town like ours:

1. Trucks at the car wash have more blood on their tailgates than mud on their tires.
2. Garage bands have been replaced by garage butchers.
3. The traffic is heavier at state-land parcels than it is on Main Street.
4. Your neighbor’s truck starts up well before dawn.
5. There’s camo everywhere: gas stations, grocery stores, church, you name it.
6. There are ATVs everywhere: on logging roads, at trailheads, in a trailer parked in front of your house all week long.
7. Folks are chattier at the bar, eager to swap stories of successful hunts.
8. You see rooftop elk more than rooftop tents.
9. Sporting dogs of all breeds involuntarily freeze and point at the sight of a pigeon.
10. The color orange has nothing to do with a Netflix show.