Anyone who knows me is aware that I love the north woods and Lake Superior. However, I have always been drawn to the mountains of the west. Generally, the rocks and lakes of the Grand Marais area take care of my yearnings but when I get the chance, I do like visiting the west.
You might expect me to head for the snow capped peaks of Colorado and western Montana, but that is not necessarily the case. About once a year, I like to head to the rugged areas of eastern Montana to do a little upland bird hunting. The trees are sparse and the green we have in northern Minnesota is somewhat nonexistent this time of the year. But the wide open spaces are exhilarating.
We hunt in the Havre area. I could tell you Cleveland, Montana but that town only has a couple of structures. It is wide open cattle country.
Not only is the area truly Big Sky country, it is also packed with history of the early west. It’s an area where the Native Americans used rock chutes to direct the buffalo into corrals where they could stock up on winter subsistence. You can still see the rock cairns where they would hide, waving a rabbit in the air, so they could grab the eagles and pluck their feathers for their head dresses.
Driving to Cleveland, you go right past the Bear Paw Battlefield where Chief Joseph said his famous words, “From where the sun stands now, I will fight no more forever.”
You also can see mud huts where early settlers lived. There are a few log cabins they built when they were settling in.
There is so much I can say about this area. So much more I can say about the hunt and equipment, but to me, this is what the trip is all about: taking in beautiful country and taking in the history of the area.
Oh, that’s right, I was talking about bird hunting. That was good too.