My First Visit to Arod Lakes

I had heard about Arod Lakes for several years and always planned to stop by when I was in or near the Choteau area. Well, it finally happened when I was taking a short-cut from I-15 near Collins and heading west to Fairfield. After taking a wrong turn I saw a sign for Arod Lakes. The month of May in Central Montana has been a bit wet – snowmelt and rain have all contributed to beautiful green grass, … Read more

You Have to Be There…Elk Viewing on the C M Russell Wildlife Refuge

I’m always frustrated when people try to explain something to me then say – well, you have to be there. But, this is exactly what I’m going to do in this blog! It’s that time of year where the elk are congregating at the Slippery Ann Wildlife Viewing Area, located in the C. M. Russell Wildlife Refuge. The bull elk are building harems during the rut season. For some reason, they congregate at this area every year. … Read more

Lake Frances – Birds, Boats and a Surprise

I was on my way to a meeting last week where the route took me through Valier. My plans were to try and get photos of sunset over Lake Frances on the west edge of Valier but I was too early. Instead of being disappointed I found lots of photo ops that I hadn’t even considered. First of all, everyone goes to Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area between Fairfield and Choteau to view the snowgoose … Read more

Freezout Lake WMA on a Cloudy Day

A week ago I looked at my schedule and decided I had better plan an outing to Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area for spring bird migration. The recorded message for the state Wildlife Management Area said the birds were coming in smaller groups, not such big waves and this was probably due to early warm weather. We’ve had an incredibly mild winter, and I’m not complaining about that, but I also realize what it does … Read more

Sunrise Views (and more) From Benton Lake NWR

I drove north of Great Falls to Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge the other day in search of some beautiful and unobstructed sunrise views. The drive to the refuge, which is managed by US Fish & Wildlife Service, is a short twelve miles from Great Falls, all paved until you turn in to the refuge. I kept looking to the east, planning for the best sunrise photo of the day. After about 5 miles I … Read more

This Year’s Elk Harvest Is Higher on Rocky Mountain Front

The 2015 big game general rifle season saw more hunters and more elk harvested on the Rocky Mountain front this year. Today is the end of the season and as of yesterday,3,900 hunters (both successful and not-so-successful) had stopped at the game check station in Augusta. There have probably been more hunters checking in today so odds are that total will hit 4,000. That’s an increase of over 5 percent. So, how many elk were … Read more

Elk Bugling on the C. M. Russell Wildlife Refuge

I missed going to Slippery Ann on the C. M. Russell Wildlife Refuge last year during elk bugling time and I promised myself that I’d get there this year. Score! I had out-of-state family visiting in Chinook and they were excited to get my invitation to drive to the refuge with me for this event. I made a list of everything I wanted to have – lawn chairs, bug spray, binoculars, camera, warm jackets and … Read more

Upland Game Bird Hunting Predictions

I always get several calls from bird hunters in the fall asking how the upland game bird hatch was this past spring. Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks does surveys hoping to form a prediction for grouse and pheasant quantities but they do footnote the survey results with the fact that many things can affect the birds…and that is true! Central Montana covers thirteen counties and most offer some pretty good quantities of upland game birds. … Read more

Release of Ducks and Swans at Gibson Park Pond

I know spring is here when Great Falls Park and Recreation announces their annual release of the ducks, geese and swans from the “Honker Hilton” to the pond at Gibson Park. Last Friday afternoon a good sized crowd gathered around one end of the pond to wait for the trucks and trailers loaded with waterfowl to appear. I was a running a bit behind schedule – I arrived before the city vehicles but I didn’t … Read more

Birdwatching with Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Club

For a Saturday morning, I was up and moving fairly early. My electrical power went off around 4:45am, at least that’s when I noticed the clock blinking. I didn’t get up then but it seemed like I looked at the clock almost 30 times between then and 6:15. MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks had partnered with the local Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon Club for an escorted birdwatching event at Giant Springs State Park. I always … Read more