Fall 2018

Features

  • Hearth & Home

    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…
  • How Time Flies

    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…
  • Follow the Fear

    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…
  • A Prairie Home Companion

    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…
  • The Quiet Road

    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…
  • We Before Me

    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…

Departments

  • Dream vs. Reality: Mountain Man

    Grand ambitions unceremoniously thwarted. 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…
  • Hand-to-Hoof Combat

    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…
  • Pitch Count

    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…
  • Riding & Sliding

    Early-season 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-…
  • A Side of Country

    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…
  • Finger Lickin' Good

    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…
  • Tenderfootin'

    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…
  • Scope Creep

    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-…
  • Where the Roosters Live

    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…
  • The Grey Ghost

    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…
  • Second Best

    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…
  • Capricious Catch

    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…
  • Shining a Light

    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…
  • Get the Green Light

    Asking for permission to hunt on private land. 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…
  • End Games

    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…
  • Pounding the Ponds

    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…
  • Grab the Ram by the Horn

    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…
  • Weekender: Break Away

    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…
  • Celestial Buckshot

    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…
  • Fresh Produce

    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…
  • The Things We Remember

    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 Stones It’s funny the things we remember. Each day we have hundreds of…
  • The Other Big Three

    Fishing road trip to 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…

Gear Reviews

  • Review: Stio Second Light

    After a long hike, when I reach an alpine ridge, the sweat stops and the cooling begins. If you need to take the chill off your skin, Stio’s Second Light pullover proves an essential extra layer. It’s super lightweight—3.…
  • Review: Schnee's Montana II ADV

    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…
  • Review: First Lite Furnace Henley

    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-…
  • Review: Garmin inReach Explorer+

    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…
  • Review: Deuter Pulse 3

    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…
  • Review: Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX

    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…
  • Review: Smith Round

    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…
  • Review: Lowa Tibet GTX Hi

    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…

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