Fall 2017

Features

  • Three Long Seconds

    The human mind can process an astounding amount of information in a few short moments, especially when life and death hang in the balance. My hunting partner Scott and I walked through the scattered subalpine fir, through…
  • Gone Crazies

    Suddenly, and with dubious (possibly illegal) justification, we are losing historic public-land access. The land-transfer movement is a national trend, but the fallout is being felt close to home—most recently, in the Crazy…
  • By the People, For the People

    Local warriors in the fight for public land.  It seems that each season brings yet another attack on access to public land and water. All around southwest Montana—like the rest of the West—signs are going up, gates are…
  • Fall Into the Flow

    Autumn in the upper Madison Valley.  Every sport has its iconic, generation-transcending locales: baseball has Yankee Stadium; golf, the back nine at Augusta; football, Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. And fly fishing has the…

Departments

  • Prepare for the Bear

    What’s worse than running into a grizzly bear in the wild? Running into a ravenous one. Each autumn, grizzlies enter a gluttonous state called hyperphagia, where they pack on weight for the long winter ahead. They’re more…
  • Patients of Pot

    Stories of medical marijuana users.  In the words of a certain old man in a certain old town, getting by the best way he can, “The mountains and rivers of Montana cause pain, but they also help ease pain, too.” There are…
  • Back in Action

    Tips for spinal comfort. Back pain: it’s a common ailment that prevents or diminishes the enjoyment of outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and skiing. But rest assured, there are things we can do to prevent…
  • Scheming for Skiing

    How to plan a hut trip. Just like an elk hunter plotting his autumn hunt in the sweltering heat of summer, skiers must plan their trips well before winter arrives—or that awesome hut weekend just isn’t going to happen. Life…
  • How Did I Get Here?

    Exploring navigation tools.  Getting from point A to point B in the backcountry without a navigation tool is tricky. Whether you’re hunting, fishing, biking, or hiking, knowing where you are and where you’re going can save…
  • No Whining

    Every fall, dog owners face a forest full of hunters, which necessitates bedecking one’s black lab Madison with enough bright colors so Joe Midwest doesn’t blast her when she bounds out of the brush. But other than some hi-…
  • Hunt-Holes

    Etiquette for the season. Of all the recreational pursuits undertaken around Bozeman, none is more heavily scrutinized than hunting—and yet none is more central to our outdoor heritage. So when a few reckless souls get…
  • Ledgers of the Fall

    The season's best page-turners.  Whether you’re curled up in blanket beside your living-room fireplace or huddled over a campfire deep in the wilderness, these books are sure to please. Glorious Times Noteworthy…
  • True Tales: Unleash the Hounds

    How the woods became wilder.  On opening day of rifle season, not 30 minutes from Bozeman’s well-caffeinated and tragically hip Main Street, I took my Winchester for a stroll with a deer and elk tag in my pocket. My…
  • Hunt Right

    A plea for good ethics in the field. “In our rather stupid time, hunting is belittled and misunderstood, many refusing to see it for the vital vacation from the human condition that it is, or to acknowledge that the hunter…
  • Tickets to Ride

    Season-pass options explained. A season pass is a reflection of oneself, and often, one’s fiscal flexibility. As such, it requires careful self-evaluation. What type of skier are you? What type of skier do you want  to be?…
  • Narrow Focus

    Captivating viewers, one image at a time. When I was eight years old, my dad came home with a raghorn bull from the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I stared at that set of antlers my entire youth while reading his subscription of…
  • All-Out Elers

    Reflecting on a Bozeman original. Perhaps the most prolific local mountaineer of the early 1900s was Bozeman native Elers Koch (pronounced “eelers kotch”). Born in 1880, the son of an adventurous Danish immigrant and…
  • Flight Pattern

    Q&A with raptor researcher Steve Hoffman. Steve Hoffman is more than a bird conservationist—he’s a pioneer who climbed mountains in the ’70s, first discovering the West’s raptor-migration flyways. These days, Hoffman…
  • Common Ground

    Working together on access issues. Two core values that Montanans share make our state great: a deep respect for private-property rights, and a dedication to public land. Defending both of these values is essential to our…
  • Grouse of the Forest

    Some brush-busting required.  Back in my younger days, I’d ponder with my like-minded buddies the apparent lack of interest in mountain grouse among other Montana hunters. Ruffed and blue grouse offered everything we could…
  • Bird in the Pan

    It’s worth two in the bush. Guinea hen is just about my favorite bird to prepare, but you won’t find this West African species in the fields around Bozeman. Pheasant or Hungarian partridge make a nice substitute and have…
  • Get Stung

    Hiking the Beehive Basin trail. Beehive Basin sits in a bowl surrounded on three sides by 10,000-foot mountains in the Spanish Peaks Primitive Area. The picturesque basin is a glacial cirque with a small lake. The lake sits…
  • Westside Ride

    Biking Johnson Canyon. For many Bozemanites, fall is hunting season. For others, it’s obsessively-check-the-weather-to-see-if-it-will-snow season. For but a select few, fall is still biking season—at least until the snow…
  • Partners in Climb

    Better belaying. When looking for a partner, it’s tempting to consider someone with a nice-looking rack or a sweet set of nuts, but take it from me, you’re better off with a belay partner whose gear—and ego—is well-worn.…
  • Off-Season Escapes

    Getting away close to home. As summer turns to fall, the countless tourists that clog up our trails from July 4 to Labor Day head home, and Bozemanites are free to enjoy our outdoors unencumbered. It’s at this time of year…
  • Pancake Perfection

    Spruce up your campsite breakfast.  When camping, I enjoy morning coffee and breakfast as much as any meal, if not more. After all, this fuel enables us to stay out on the trail or river for as long as possible. If you’d…
  • Don't Get Leafed Behind

    Fall's races and fun runs. When it comes to races and runs, summer gets the gold, but fall is a close runner-up. Here’s a sampling of autumn’s offerings. There are several other classic autumn fun runs not listed herein;…
  • Rights & Ritual

    Montana's rutting bighorn rams. A triple-thick skull structure to protect the brain during collisions at 20 miles per hour, massive horns weighing up to 30 pounds, and a body weight that can exceed 300 pounds: Montana’s…
  • Tools of the Trade

    Finding native history in the rocks. We all know about the cowboys and Indians of old Westerns, but what about the specific history of the Native Americans living in southwest Montana? Some historians state that there is no…
  • Struck by Lightning

    Tying a simple fall favorite. If the idea of having a whole stretch of river to yourself appeals to you, Montana in the fall is where it’s at. The summertime tourists are gone, and the locals are furiously chasing elk, deer…
  • Fire in the Sky

    Fall's astronomical bucket-list. Crisp autumn evenings are fine for stargazing, and for catching those must-see events that punctuate the starry hours of the day. Put them on your fall bucket-list, and consider pairing them…
  • Gallatin Gold

    Alpaca fleece finds a Bozeman niche. “I can almost guarantee you will not be spit on today,” Sarah assures me. She and her husband James, the founders of Alpacas of Montana, lead me through open pasture, weaving through a…
  • Flushed Down River

    Big Sky’s growth is no joke: by 2020 its sewer district is expected to max out wastewater storage options, meaning big investments and big change are on the horizon. A very real question moving forward is whether…
  • Walk Along the Water

    Fans of the Missouri Headwaters State Park have more reason than ever to celebrate: there’s a new riverside trail at the park. The Trident-Peregrine trail is a short, easy hike, with benches that provide inspiring views of…
  • Filling the Gap

    Bozemanites will soon be able to bike, run, or walk from the Bozeman Public Library to the top of the Triple Tree Trail, all on the Main Street to the Mountains system. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) is linking the…
  • All in the Family

    The powerful, bison-hunting Mollies and the formidable Druids. The Canyons and their leader, the legendary white alpha female. The Lamars, Junction Buttes, and more. You’ll find all the past and present Yellowstone packs…
  • Bow vs. Rifle

    Which method is supreme? For hunters, the specific weapon used to harvest one’s quarry is often a matter of what we are comfortable with, what is most convenient, or what Uncle Earl left us in his will. And many hunters use…
  • Do the Hard Thing

    Because nothing good comes easy.  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. —Albert Einstein So, as it turns out, elk hunting is hard. Shocker, I know. The research, the miles of hiking, the heavy pack and mostly elk-…

Gear Reviews

  • Review: Orange Aglow Signature

    At first blush, blaze-orange hunting vests may seem like cotton swabs—the brand doesn’t matter, ’cause they’re all the same, right? Experienced hunters know better, and Orange Aglow clearly does, too. Their Signature Mesh…
  • Review: Ice Mule Pro Large

    Expensive, heavy-duty hard coolers are all the rage these days, but sometimes you need to go light—which is where the IceMule Pro Large soft cooler comes in. With a 23-liter capacity, all-day cooling capability, and an air…
  • Review: MSR Trailshot

    Lightweight, compact, and highly functional, the Trailshot microfilter from MSR checks a lot of boxes. Whether you’re rehydrating creekside on an all-day hunt, or grabbing a quick sip on a post-work trail run, the Trailshot…
  • Review: LOWA Zephyr GTX Mid TF

    A solid three-season hiking boot is a staple in every outdoor enthusiast’s closet, and when you’re ready for a new pair, I suggest the Zephyr GTX Mid TF from LOWA. Here’s why: it’s light enough to not wear you out on a long…
  • Review: Mountain Equipment Ibex Pant

    When I’m out in the mountains, two of the most important things are freedom of movement and staying dry. Mountain Equipment’s Ibex Pant offers both. Constructed with proprietary Exolite fabric, these softshell pants have…
  • Review: FHF Gear Bino Harness

    Good binoculars aren’t cheap, and one of the best ways I’ve found to protect my investment is the Bino Harness from Bozeman’s own FHF Gear. Simple and unobtrusive, yet loaded with features, the FHF harness holds my beloved…
  • Review: Maven B.4

    A maven is someone who is trusted or has experience, an expert. That’s why I choose Maven and their B.4 binoculars for my long-range optics. I opted for the 10x56, a great balance between high-powered magnification and low-…
  • Review: Halo XL450

    If you’re like the average hunter, you don’t shoot much past 300 yards with a rifle, or 30 with a bow. Which is great—you’re actually hunting, not just shooting. But you’ll still need to know your distance, for a proper…
  • Review: Sitka Mountain Pant

    It’s tough to find a single pair of pants for the entire hunting season: thin enough for those balmy early-October days, but thick enough for late-season snow. But Sitka’s versatile Mountain Pant fits the bill. The four-way…
  • Review: Sitka Core Midweight

    If you’re searching a new hunting-season baselayer, look no further than the Sitka Core Midweight Zip-T. This zippered crew-neck, long-sleeved shirt is ideal for getting you through cold mornings and warm afternoons. The…

Additional Articles

  • Double-Dealin'

    Liberty. Equality. Fraternity. The mantra of the French Revolution may well be applied to the current conflict over public-land access in Montana. The setting is certainly similar: on the one hand, an elite oligarchy…
  • Enter the Dragon

    Climbing Ice Dragons. In southwest Montana, options for late-fall ice climbs abound. The East Rosebud drainage is home to several of Montana’s premier climbs, including the early-season sufferfest, Ice Dragons.ApproachIce…
  • Crooked Paths

    In 1965, Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall directed a nationwide trails study, which produced a report called “Trails for America.” President Lyndon B. Johnson, who called for the study, said:“We can and should have an…

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