Betty’s Montana pronghorn hunting success

Betty’s Montana pronghorn hunting success

Betty and the pronghorn doe shot this year on opening day

Our friends, Joe and Betty, love to fish and hunt. Betty is very successful. She shared a photo of her pronghorn (antelope) doe she shot on opening day this year. I found a photo of a buck she shot a few years ago. They are great photos and she said I could blog them. Here they are.

Betty is like me, she does it all. She doesn’t stop after shooting, she retrieves her game and takes care of the meat. 

Betty and the buck she shot a few years ago

Fly Fishing the Bitterroot River in October with Jack

Fly Fishing the Bitterroot River in October with Jack

Bitterroot Rainbow

Rainbow on the Bitterroot River
(Photo by Merle Ann Loman)

Fly fishing the Bitterroot River in the fall is fantastic. The weather changes dramatically during the day giving stellar lightshows and the fall hatches mean you will probably see fish noses and fins in select places. As the trout work the hatch, It is definitely a challenge to have targets to throw to. The fun part is trying to pick out which rise form is the biggest trout. By this time of year the trout have seen just about everything but a good presentation. In other words they are very educated but still feeding consistently. The flat smooth water where you find them feeding makes it even more difficult to execute a convincing presentation and drift. Proper selection of dry-flies and tippet are essential.

Give yourself plenty of time to concentrate on certain areas. On the Bitterroot River, there are many pods of feeding fish giving the amateur angler lots of chances to work on technique. If you put the fish down with bad casts, just row back up and wait. Chances are, they will begin feeding in a similar place again. If you don’t want to row up-river, keep going to the next pod. You can see them feeding as you float down the river. Very cool.

Jack with a northern pike

Jack Mauer with a Northern Pike (Photo by Merle Ann Loman)

Want a change of pace? Bring along a 9 weight rod and a box of colorful streamers. As you fish for trout and you come upon a backwater of slow water with significant drop-off next to it, you might consider changing your arsenal to a heavier rod and a very large bright streamer. You have just come into northern pike habitat and they are a HEAVY fish. If you throw the streamer at the drop-off, let it sink and then retrieve it in frequent jerking motions, you will likely tick-off a pike. When a pike hits the fly, you have a fight on your hands. Pike are non-native and predatory so catching them and getting them out of the river is a good thing. The pike in the photo to the right had a whole fish in its stomach. See the slideshow for pictures of the fish. It isn’t pretty.

This pike was about 33 inches long and a tremendous fighter. As Jack caught it, another boat approached from behind. You could hear them cheering Jack on as he worked at bringing the fish into the boat. He thought about getting to shore and landing it there, but it was netted from the boat, barely fitting the net.

Cutthroat Trout from the Bitterroot River

Cutthroat trout (Photo by Merle Ann Loman)

This particular day was about 50 degrees with a slight breeze and overcast. The sun and clouds created unbelievable light shows. Even though this autumn hasn’t produced as many colors and hues as usual, the rainbows and even the gray cast of the aspen have been beautiful. Besides amazing scenery, birds provided entertainment. While looking down the river at pods of fish feeding, beyond and on the curve was an Osprey looking for its dinner. It flew in a tighter circle, dove straight down and made a huge splash. As it came out of the water, there was a sparkle as the sun hit the fish in its talons – probably a whitefish. A few minutes later an eagle soared down the river, passed over the boat and continued downstream. Near the take-out, a Belted Kingfisher played the bank. They are a funny looking bird with a shaggy crest or topknot.

For more info:
Bitterroot RiverWapiti Waters Fly Fishing Montana description
Montana Fish, Wildlife and ParksField guide for Northern Pike
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Field guide for Belted Kingfisher

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Field guide for Bald Eagle
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Field guide for Osprey
Merle’s SmugMug photo site – More Bitterroot River photos in their original format

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It snowed today

It snowed today

Right click the photo and choose “view link in new window,” it is worth the view of the elk in the trees!Elk herd

Glacier Lily
We woke up to snow today. We were hoping for cooler weather to keep the snow in the mountains but this is a bit much. Like Jack said, “It isn’t going to flood in April this year.” The cool weather this spring will help the snow melt in an orderly fashion, if it warms up enough to actually melt!
Today we took a hike when it was the warmest, about 47 degrees. At the beginning of our hike, we saw a herd of elk. What a nice start. Then we hiked into a bit of a snow flurry. Our Chesapeake puppy, Freda
Whitetail Buck on Ice near Miles City, Montana – Updated

Whitetail Buck on Ice near Miles City, Montana – Updated

UPDATE January 26: I found that the Billings Gazette published this story January 8. It is much more complete. See it here: Buck floatsdown Yellowstone River on ice chunks By BRETT FRENCH of The Gazette Staff.

Original Wapiti Post text:
Whitetail Buck on ice
A friend sent us these photos today. Brrrr….

An unidentified photographer took these pictures in Miles City Montana where the Tongue River flows into the Yellowstone River. The buck made it to shore. The photographer saw him jump to safety when the ice jammed close to shore.

Calf-A at Dell, Montana

Calf-A at Dell, Montana

Dec 2008 Ted Lowe at the Dell Calf-A

On I-15 between Salt Lake City, Utah and Butte, Montana there is a small town. Take the Lima exit and go to Dell, Montana. You will see a unique cafe, the Calf-A, in an old, brick schoolhouse with the menu on the blackboard. I hear from the locals that the population of Dell “depends on the time of day.”

Michael McCoy talks about the Calf-A in his travel guide, Montana – Off the Beaten Path – A Guide to Unique Places. He says,”The old building it is housed in was a school from 1903 until 1963, with an average enrollment of twenty kids, and then opened as a restaurant in 1978. Its walls, shelves, and bare pine floor are blanketed with memorabilia, fur-bearing trout, piles of old Life magazines, vintage rifles, an old piano with yellowed sheet music, rocks and fossils, a bedpan banjo, well-worn school desks, pull-down maps, spurs, kerosene lanterns, a ceramic water cooler, and a whole lot more.”

The photo is of Ted Lowe in front of the Calf-A. Jack and Ted were in the area for five days in mid-December hunting elk during the extended season. The wind was howling and the temperature hovered at 27 degrees below zero. They hunted, but had no success. The conditions were brutal for humans. The saw lots of elk, but just couldn’t get to them without freezing, sometimes they couldn’t even get the old Dodge started! When they did, they came home.

The Calf-A is also called Yesterday’s Cafe or Yesterday’s Calf-A. Click here
for the Travel Montana website and more information.

Cresent Moon, Jupiter and Venus align tonight – a Montana view

Cresent Moon, Jupiter and Venus align tonight – a Montana view

graphic of Moon, Jupiter and Venus

Monday Night: Planets Align in a Frown
By Clara Moskowitz

The graphic is from the above web article. It is an excellent article, short and easy to read. Click on the title/link and it will open in a new window.

I am also adding a slide show of my photos in a few different exposures. Yes, we saw it in the southwest sky about 6:00 pm and it was not visible by 7:30 pm – the planets set down behind our Bitterroot Range.

To best view the slide show, click “view album”, then “slideshow.” You might need to pause the picture to be sure it loads all the way.


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