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Montana Bird Hunting

I just spent a few days in the beautiful Montana. The whole place is like a vast oil painting, I’ve never seen colors quite like it. The sky matches the Fall trees most of the time, and when it’s not, it’s casting a florescent kind of light on every nook and cranny of the earth below.

We hunted the Hungarian partridge, with it’s beautiful feathers. Did you know it reaches it’s maximum flying speed at takeoff? They’re lightening fast.

And then there’s the Sharp Tailed grouse with it’s feathered legs, slightly larger.

The one on the left is the Sharp Tailed grouse, the one on the right is the Hungarian partridge.

They are beautiful and equally as delicious.

Three hours north of where I was staying in Townsend was a farm with good cover. We spent about 8 hours walking the grounds. I’m still in the bath from that day. I haven’t left. Really. Even thought I’m in Wyoming.

I’ve seen a lot of round hay lately. I’d like to learn how to roll it like this. Will someone teach me?

This is Chase, the bird dog.

And his friend First. Which is short for Field Runner First III. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. He also goes by the nickname Red because his fur bleaches red in the summer.

The colors just seemed to glow.

Speaking of cows, have I told you I’m mildly obsessed with them?

I find them fascinating. And I find our relationship with them fascinating. If not also flawed.

But they looked nice in the light too.

And White Tails. Oh the White Tails… they grazed in the fields like cattle there were so many. And Mule Deer too.

For those of you who have tasted both, which do you like the taste of better? I’ve heard heated debates among meat eating men.

Hi Cow.

This is a Red Angus, since you’re asking.

Those are snow caps in the distance. And cat tails in the foreground. The Partridge like the cat tails. They hang out in them.

And these spectacular mountains with their tops cut off. I believe they’re called Buttes? (pronounced byoots). They were sacred places for the Native Americans on their vision quest.

Even the rocks are prettier in Montana.

That’s a 12 guage since you’re asking.

Even the fence posts are artful in Montana.

Even the grass is nicer in Montana.

Hi pretty cow. She was posing. Because I asked her to.

The dogs were very active, I give them an A+ for the day. They were tireless really. And Chase is 14 years old. Which is 80 in human years.

I liked this cow especially. His face reminded me of a Halloween costume. Like The Joker. Or The Crow.

But this cow was my favorite. It’s actually a bull. Or a steer. I can’t be sure.

I checked him out while my host left a treat for the farmer. It’s always good to leave treats for your farmer. Remember that.

Me and this male cow really bonded.

We had a heart to heart.

And then we went to hunt in a junk yard.

Well, it’s still farm land. Someone just parked their car there. In another century. And forgot to pick it up.  They also forgot their horse cart.

This is what a pheasant looks like. It’s a male, known as a “rooster.”

You can tell it’s a young one because the talons aren’t very developed.

Partridge like to eat wild rose hips like this.

And I like to eat wild watercress like this.

This was the last bird of the day. It was a long day. The hatch this Spring wasn’t very good because there were high rains and late frost.

But it is the experience of pursuing your own meat in a very hands on way that counts for me.

And then there was this. A random flour mill that I would like to live near.

That is all.

Oh, and this is what I made for dinner… more details coming soon.


  • Peter Gabriel
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    What pretty country!

  • Kristian Russell
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Pretty bird!

  • Jane
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Wow, I can't wait to see the recipes! That dish looks delicious.

  • JOhn Athayde
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:41 am

    For that hay, Georgia, you want a Round Baler:

    Most of the hay here in Loudoun Co (west of DC) is done that way and piled in big triangle walls, like Toblerones of hay. Delicious.

  • gapey
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Looks like you had fun. Brings back memories of when I lived there. I grew up in Great Falls.

  • RRubio
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Wow! That is so cool. What beautiful birds. What size shot did you use?

  • Slater
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Whatever you made looks delicious.

  • Ethel
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I am really enjoying your trips. I have never been to some of these places and you make it seem real for me.
    Your food looks great.

  • HankShaw
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Let me know how you like those sharptail grouse. As you know I just got back from hunting them in NoDak. Very cool bird to work with in the kitchen…

    • Post Author
      Posted November 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm

      I made the partridges for dinner that night and have yet to make the sharp tail, but I'll let you know how it goes!!

  • Wenderly
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Wow. Spectacular! You're enticing me into thinking I too would love the "hunt" rather than just the fashion & romance of it all…

  • Melissa
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I am new to your blog and I love it! It combines my love of anthropology with food and cooking. This post about hunting caught my eye because my husband and I use bird dogs too but we hunt with trained falcons, not with guns. The falcons catch things like grouse and pheasant after the dogs flush them. Then we get the game from the falcons. We usually don't eat what we catch but sometimes we will. There are lots of falconers that do eat everything they catch. You might find one of them to be a pretty interesting story. The other thing that caught my eye… I have an English Pointer named Chase that looks very similar to the English Pointer "Chase" in your pictures. I guess Chase is an appropriate bird dog name!

    • Post Author
      Posted November 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      That's very interesting… I never thought of using a falcon. It sounds even harder than finding and using a gun, so I may have to investigate. Nice to meet you Melissa!

      • Melissa
        Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

        Nice to meet you too! Its very similar to hunting with a gun. The dogs flush the prey then we release a falcon and watch the chase. When he catches the dogs will run up and guard the bird until we get there and trade the falcon his catch for some quail. Its pretty exciting.

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