Around Missoula

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Around Missoula

Postby Duck Runner » Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:06 pm

I have been studying the maps around Missoula and have found many FAS sites which are open to public hunting for waterfowl. Since I am new to the area I am happy sticking to the public grounds, but I wanted to ask if anyone could suggest some areas around Missoula which would be good locations to atleast SEE some waterfowl. The last few times I have gone near town and I have just sat there thinking that all waterfowl and become extinct. I don't want to drive much farther than 40 miles, but that's just a buffer number, I would travel a little farther.

Perhaps a better question to ask is what public land am I allowed to hunt on? I was told BLM land allows hunting, but I have not had a source to back it up. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Postby phutch30 » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:11 pm

I work for the BLM so I feel safe saying unless posted otherwise, BLM land is open to hunting. The same goes for state and foreest service land.
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Postby fun4jake » Mon Nov 07, 2005 5:54 pm

Dont forget to go the the fwp office and get a book on Block management land. Fredito and I have been hunting such land and its pretty good. Also check out the Clarksfork river on both sides of town.
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Postby Fredito » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:50 pm

Like fun4jake said go to FWP and get the block mang maps....I went thorough mine and found all of the places close that had waterfowl listed....I found maybe 30 spots in about 20 mins...also chat with ppl in this forum...a few are from missoula...
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Postby marcbme » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:32 pm

Try Lee Medcalf or browns lake (both about 50 miles from Missoula, so a tad farther but worth the drive.

There is also hunting on the res (but you need a special permit 28 bucks)
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Postby Duck Runner » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:33 pm

For the res does that permit include the entire Flathead valley that is north of Missoula? That looks like a killer area, but I am still considered Non-Resident and I don't need to pay the $100+ for more hunting.
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Postby marcbme » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:37 pm

If I'm not mistaken it covers to Polson. I wouldn't pay the out of state rate, I'd wait until next year. Use this year to hunt around here.

Going to Lee Metcalf Friday if your interested.
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Postby Duck Runner » Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:57 pm

marcbme I sent you a pm about Friday.
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Postby marcbme » Thu Nov 10, 2005 3:52 pm

back at ya man
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Postby Troutslayer » Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:07 pm

There is some good block management that is more like 75 miles from town. There just isn't that much right near here. Try the rivers close to town for decoying and the braided areas for jump shooting. Milltown used to be a decent spot and though they have drawn it down a bunch I still see birds out there every time I drive past. Haven't tried to hunt it yet this year. It needs to get significantly colder to make the rivers more productive. The Metcalf is decent just make shure you follow all of the rules like dogs on leash, shooting light and signing in and out. They will give you a ticket. Though that place can be good sometimes I don't really feel like I'm hunting when I'm there, too many people and too many rules. Good luck. Maybe after big game season ends some of us can get together and hunt.
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Postby Duck Runner » Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:45 pm

What are the rules on hunting on the rivers? Where exactly is the high water mark at?
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Postby phutch30 » Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:30 pm

Stay below the bank and you are ok. The big thing to remember is that to be legal your ducks have to land below the high water mark after you shoot them. If you or your DOG exits the stream bed you are in violation an subject to ticketing. I watched a guy get a ticket last year on the beaverhead for sending his dog onto private property to retrieve a duck. So watch what your doing.
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Postby Duck Runner » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:46 am

That is interesting, I have never been somewhere that it was legal to hunt the high water marks - in Nebraska you couldn't touch the ground, but you could float the river - which ment you really couldn't hunt it if you know anything about the Platte River. Thanks for the info guys, I am in a whole new place as far as hunting goes.
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Postby Troutslayer » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:13 pm

You can be anywhere on the river as long as you are within last years high water mark which is about where the trees start. Just because people have built their houses on a flood plain doesn't mean you can walk across it. I just can't bring myself to divulge any good spots on the internet for all to read. I will show you a spot or two after Thanksgiving if you're interested.
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Postby Duck Runner » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:25 pm

Thanks for all your help everyone. Like I said, this is another world to me right now. I was always told 'you can only hunt here!' when I was in Nebraska, and now it seems you can practically hunt wherever there isn't private land - I know that's not exactly the rules, but relative to my view on everything..

I also wanted to thank marcbme & co. for letting me in on their hunt today. We got a few shots off and ended up empty for the ride home, but you can't be successful everytime. At least I know the birds still fly! The only place I had seen them around Missoula was on the ponds in town, and they are always sitting in safe spots. Stupid smart birds :hammering: ...

Thanks again everyone!
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Postby phutch30 » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:04 pm

troutslayerand others,

Just to clear up something. When hunting waterfowl or fishing, access is restricted to below the NORMAL high water mark, not last years high water mark. And depending on the river it could be a long way from the trees. Most rivers have a defined bank or edge. I would recomend that you not be cought beyond that feature unless the warden interprets the wording a lot different then the ones I have discussed it with. Just wanted to clarify this point so no one gets a ticket or ends up in court for tresspassing.
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Postby Troutslayer » Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:57 pm

phutch, you are right. Don't forget to fight to maintain this right we have, every few years the Mountain States Legal Foundation and some property owning douchebags challenge it and someday when there are enough conservatives in the right places they will probably win and we'll go the way of Colorado where you can't stop a boat or even wade if someone owns the streamside property. For now make shure you fold some ducks in somebody's backyard at the crack of dawn to let them know it's your river, they only live next to it.
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Postby Duck Runner » Sat Nov 12, 2005 5:34 am

Sounds like the river can be a sticky subject - just like water rights in every state I guess. I will try to make my way down to the FWP office this week and see what info I can find out. Never hurts to go straight to the horses mouth and hear it.
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Postby marcbme » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:15 pm

Let us know what you find out dude.
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