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Missouri Breaks float trip bird hunt

CdnHunter

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Joined
Jul 10, 2017
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32
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ON Canada
One of my favorite things is a mixed bag bird hunt in new country. Just exploring, camping, hiking, paddling, shooting and eating. I am considering a float trip through the Missouri River Breaks in Montana for my next adventure. I know the scenery will be great, but I am wondering about the bird hunting. Am I likely to see waterfowl, pheasant, grouse? What is the best week of the year to maximize my odds for a multi-species hunt? Any advice from locals would be greatly appreciated.
 

WoodMoose

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Jan 8, 2001
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253
Location
N.C.
can't help with local info but that sounds like a boondoggle and a half - look forward to the pictures afterwards!

I did chase sharptails on the north side of the breaks,, had a great time but caught some rain so brought half of Montana back as dried gumbo under the truck
 

huntingman121

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Joined
Jun 28, 2004
Messages
48
Location
montana
Grouse season starts 9-1 Pheasant starts 10-9, and I bet waterfowl will start 10-1. It’s sounds very fun. I remember a Flush episode where the were around Fort Benton and floated island to island and hunted pheasants.

Early season waterfowl might be iffy but would be a fun thing to try if you were away from the crowds. The Mo gets more waterfowl later when smaller waters freeze up and northern birds start arriving. Have fun.
 

Schaaf

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Aug 14, 2014
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3,866
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Glasgow, MT
That would be fun. You'll see more pheasant and waterfowl than grouse. I've known other people that have done exactly what you are planning. I'd have a turkey tag in my pocket too.
 

bradr

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Nov 3, 2018
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82
Location
Iowa
Man that sounds like a great trip! Be sure and let us know how it turns out.
 

DWarcher

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Mar 8, 2011
Messages
326
Location
Flathead Valley
That would be fun. You'll see more pheasant and waterfowl than grouse. I've known other people that have done exactly what you are planning. I'd have a turkey tag in my pocket too.
Depends where you go. The areas I hunt are loaded with sharpies with nary a pheasant to be found.
 

sureshotshane

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Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
35
Location
CA
I've noticed that there is a large variation in upland game populations from year to year. I went 3 years in a row - floated it twice and jet boated the last time. Every trip was in early November so others will have more experience. None were dedicated upland trips, we were primarily deer hunting but after you get a buck you need something to do. I'd be curious to hear from others but I haven't seen to many sharptail right on the river, once you get up above the breaks I see more of them - and often around and landing in trees. This pattern likely has something to do with the time of year. However, two years ago appeared to be a good hatch and I saw sharptails and huns right on the river, often flying across the river to escape. I actually don't see many pheasant but I also don't try to hard for them.

The rabbit population seemed to tank rather rapidly through those years.

There is the occasional turkey flock, especially lower down. I've never seen turkeys that stupid. I watched a Prairie Falcon fly down from a cottonwood and proceed to pluck a living turkey while the entire flock just stood there. I walked up and the falcon flew away and the turkey was able to live another day.

One year we hit the waterfowl migration perfectly and it was pretty incredible.

If you are also interested in waterfowl your timing might want to be later than if you are mostly after sharpies, huns, and pheasant. If I were going for upland/waterfowl combo I would go in mid-late October. I don't like the heat but every-time we've gone it's been frigid the entire trip with the river freezing up, and the day we leave warms up to the 50s-60s. So plan for any weather.

Planning to bring dogs?
 

CdnHunter

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Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
32
Location
ON Canada
... If I were going for upland/waterfowl combo I would go in mid-late October. I don't like the heat but every-time we've gone it's been frigid the entire trip with the river freezing up, and the day we leave warms up to the 50s-60s. So plan for any weather. Planning to bring dogs?

Sounds like you had a great time Shane. Thanks for all that helpful info. I am planning for late October. Being Canadian, I'm used to camping in the cold! I have a Labrador who is excellent on upland and waterfowl.
 

dgaudi

New member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
10
Thanks for starting this thread, I have the same type of trip on my list of future hunts. Would be super unique compared to other hunting trips I have done.
 

TurnersOPutdoorsMan

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Jun 6, 2022
Messages
1
if you want to do the hunting in a new place you should know about the method of hunting and you should have hunting equipment then you easily do hunting that place.
 

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