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From Pintails to Mallards, share your Montana duck hunting stories here in the land of the Big Sky country.

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Postby kdangerfield » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:15 am

Hi everyone,

I am fairly new to Montana and have been viewing this site for a while but this is my first post. I have been an avid waterfowl hunter for about 6 years and hope to contribute to this site as much as possible.

Here is a quick bio, sorry for the long post: My wife and I moved to Bozeman from Utah earlier this year, we have family from here. My wife works at Montana State University and I am a freelance artist. I do mostly wildlife and landscape paintings and am greatly inspired by the vast outdoor opportunities in this great state. I am just getting started as a full-time artist so there are a lot more waterfowl paintings to come.

Anyway, I have a couple of broad questions. The first is regarding the general habits of ducks and geese. I have been scouting a lot lately and have been watching a private pond in the area. The pond holds tons of ducks and geese but is closed to hunting. I have noticed that in the evening all of the ducks and geese leave the pond and fly elsewhere. In general, where do ducks and geese prefer to spend the night? It seems to me that they would stay in the safety of this pond, but they are heading elsewhere for the night. Do they prefer fields or rivers, or are they possibly migrating?

Also, for anyone familiar with the Bozeman/Belgrade area. Is there some type of city boundary inside which shooting is not allowed. I know that you can't shoot within 1/4 mile of any inhabited structure but there are plenty of places really close to the towns that you can get 1/4 mile away. I ask because I my have access to some private land but it is pretty close to town.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you my be able to give.
Kelly Dangerfield
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Bozeman, MT
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Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:51 am

Welcome. First those ducks and geese are leaving the refuge ponds to go feed in the fields around bozeman,belgrade and three forks and on the rivers. Drive around in the evening before dark and watch the grain and alfalfa fields. Sooner or later you will find one they are hitting. Then you have to get permission. Good luck. You have about a 20% chance of getting access. But again, sooner or later youll get on.

As far as the shooting, unless they have changed it since I lived there, you cant discharge a firearm within city limits. So first find out if the ponds are within the city limits.

Also I cant get the link to your site to work.

Paul
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Postby wingnutty » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:18 pm

Welcome,
no, you can't hunt on the MSU duckpond. And, if you happen to walk by late one night after consuming some beverages and think you can catch some ducks then watch out for the ice on the grass around the pond, you might slip while running and fly through the air and land on you back and bruise you hip and tailbone :toofunny: I had bruises for 2 weeks.


Those birds are going the fields most likely and as phutch said before, getting permission can be tough, but it is possible and if you do you'll have a great shoot :thumbsup:

Good luck.
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Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:53 pm

I tried to catch a banded drake off the MSU pond 3 times. I even used bait (bread) to lure him in. worked great. I didnt want to kill the bird I just wanted to rob him of his jewelry. Dont let anyone tell you a duck wont bite and that it doesnt hurt. Lucky little SOB I think he filed his teeth. And I wasnt even drunk...yet.
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Postby kdangerfield » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:24 pm

Thanks for the info. In my original post I included a link to my webpage but apparently that is a no-no. If anyone is interested in seeing my artwork you can P.M. me, my web address is pretty easy to figure out though.

Does anyone know anything about private conservation easements. Can you hunt these areas if you get permission?
Kelly Dangerfield
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Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:41 pm

yes you can hunt them as long as the landowner allows it.
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Postby geotreb » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:08 pm

Phutch,
I would have given some dear parts of me to see someone try to pry a band off of one of those pond ducks - and the looks you must have inspired in the process!... (unless it was under the cloak of darkness/drunkeness LOL)

Ohh, the good MSU memories..... doesn't everyone that went there have a duckpond story?
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Postby phutch30 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:13 pm

Ya, I think everyone has at least one duck pond story.LOL

It was under cover of darkness, thats why we needed to bait them so we could see thier feet. It seemd like such a fool proof plan at the time. After I was licking my wounds it seem pretty stupid. Who would have though a live duck would be so hard for a 215 guy to subdue. Back in those days I was a poor hungry student so maybe we may have eaten him to boot....after we got the band.LOL
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hunting Spot

Postby nelli21 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:52 pm

I am from the Bozeman area, and I know exactly what pond you are talking about. its a cool pond to watch. I have had the luck of finding where the birds are going and at night they are going to the fields. Welcome to the site and good luck hunting. We are close so if you want to hunt sometime drop me a line.

until next time God BLess
j :thumbsup:
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Postby wingnutty » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:15 am

:toofunny: :toofunny:

You can hunt easements, but you gotta get permission...good luck in bozeman, it'll be tough! Even if you don't get permission thank them for putting their land in an easement though, it is a pretty selfless act and MUCH appreciated by your's truely :thumbsup:
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Postby kdangerfield » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:34 am

Good luck is right. I spent half of the day yesterday trying to get access to private land. Spoke to many very nice landowners but for one reason or another they wouldn't let me hunt. Looks like I need to drive further from the Bozeman area and maybe I'll have better luck.

A question for you guys about state trust lands. I have found a few parcels of state trust land that are accessible by public roads and appear to be worth hunting. One of the parcels has a couple of cows grazing on it and the other is being farmed. Because this is state land do I still need permission from whoever is grazing/farming the land? If so, any ideas how to find out who that is.

Thanks
Kelly Dangerfield
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Bozeman, MT
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Postby phutch30 » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:27 am

If one of the state trust lands is the one right next to Diamond R Kennels then its bowhunting only. Some of them are closed to hunting due to public safety. But if its open to hunting then no you do not need permission to hunt them.
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Postby kdangerfield » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:30 pm

These areas are quite a ways outside of Bozeman so public safety isn't an issue. I have scouted each of them and they are not posted. I just don't want some angry landowner coming after me because I'm scaring his cows or something.
Kelly Dangerfield
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Postby geotreb » Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:09 pm

Check out block managment....
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Postby phutch30 » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:32 pm

Not knowing which state parcels your talking about I would call or better yet go to the bozeman FWP office and check. Just because its state land doesnt mean its open for hunting.
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Missoula Hunter

Postby pmahler » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:01 pm

I am a recent relocated Minnesotan & Memphis duck hunter who lives in Missoula now but travel for work between Missoula & Billings on a weekly basis, stopping in Bozeman most times. I always see a ton of birds off the highway around Anaconda & thru Bozeman. Has anybody ever hunted that puboic pond right off the highway in Anaconda? Warm Springs I believe?
Also, I am waaaaaaaay more of a decoy guy & it seems here river hunting is the way to go...jump shooting just takes the fun out of it for me & for my dog. Anybody have any ideas on how to set up for 'em on the rivers around here?
Best & happy hunting
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Postby marcbme » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:56 am

Welcome both of you! Best thing about duck hunting in Montana is so few of us do it! It's what got me into the sport to begin with.

My brother got his swan tag this year, and we'll be heading up to freezeout on the second week of november to fill his tag. I'll defenetly be dropping you a line before hand to get a heads up on where they are hanging out!
Lord......let me be as good a hunter as my dog thinks I am....amen
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