Montana Huns & Sharpies- Tips?

R.K.

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MT
So I've been doing a lot of reading, watching, etc., and figured I'd just come out and ask the folks here- what are your tips for finding sharpies and huns in MT?

Situation- my dad is coming out for a visit, with a rifle antelope tag in hand, in an area I've seen both huns and sharpies in the past. I've killed a few just by walking fast with a shotgun, but I'm no expert in finding them. He's bringing his yellow lab/pheasant hellion/couch potato (Zoey) and wants to chase the local birds that aren't available in the midwest (hell, pheasants are rare enough where he is). I'd love to help him get on some, as well. Challenges- he's 63, with asthma, and had covid 2 weeks ago. Zoey is starting to get arthritis, hasn't seen a pheasant field since December, and it's been nearly 100 degrees for 4 months- not good for running a cold-weather dog. Needless to say, she's probably out of shape, as well. With that said, we'll have limited gas in the tank as far as miles we can cover, and I want to hit a milk run of the best spots instead of wandering aimlessly through the prairie. With that said- how do you identify the "best spots"?

So far, all I can gather is:

Sharptails- taller cover, especially brush instead of just grass, focusing on the top 1/3 of ridges. Windrows, maybe some sagebrush, etc.

Huns- whatever cover and draws you can find next to a wheat field, also preferable near the top of a ridge.

Both- Maybe sidehill, dog 20 yards or closer, with a crosswind or quartering-to headwind so the dog gets the best advantage, and the birds either fly in front of us or struggle against the wind to get out. Probably top 1/3 of the ridge.

Anything to add to these deeply insightful (read "Kindergarten-level") plans of action? Home base is Billings, so probably hunting within an hour of there, for reference to terrain.

Thanks in Advance- RK


Couch potato in question:
1664381537372.png
 

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
If you're in Central to Eastern MT go to Woody/Shrubby draws stick to the deciduous shrubs like snowberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry not the sagebrushy ones. If there is a touch of green grass in it then head to that one over one that is dry. Closer to crop field the better chances of bumping into pheasants too.
 

Ben Lamb

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If you're in Central to Eastern MT go to Woody/Shrubby draws stick to the deciduous shrubs like snowberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry not the sagebrushy ones. If there is a touch of green grass in it then head to that one over one that is dry. Closer to crop field the better chances of bumping into pheasants too.
1664382577801.png

Don't be afraid to walk around water impoundments as well.
 

300stw

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drive gravel early and late. look for huns, glass bufflao berry and russian olives for the lookout sharpie,,,,, or rent a big runn ing pointer with a tracking collar😄
 

R.K.

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MT
drive gravel early and late. look for huns, glass bufflao berry and russian olives for the lookout sharpie,,,,, or rent a big runn ing pointer with a tracking collar😄
Not much in the way of anything but grass and a bit of sage in the area I'm looking at- I'll try to look elsewhere to find chokecherries, buffaloberries, and some russian olive. Sounds like the birds prefer a bit more cover than what I usually see in the antelope country.
 

brockel

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Always kill a lot of grouse in big dry creek beds with tall sagebrush and Buffalo berry bushes. Bonus if there’s an alfalfa field close by
 

OntarioHunter

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Find a wheat/barley field on a bench above coulees and draws. Hunt the edges of the grain fields. You'll find Huns there. Should be easier walking.

Sharpies like to roost or rest in trees, particularly the very tops. Look for them on bare knobs with trees nearby. Cottonwood or ponderosa pine are preferred. I rarely find them in Russian olive too. That stuff is more preferred by pheasants.
 

OntarioHunter

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If your dad and dog are out of shape, I suggest sticking with sharpies. Easier to find them driving around and they typically don't run off when spotted. Those little Huns can and do run like the wind.
 

TrumpkinTheDwarf

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My body is in Texas, but home is the Big Sky count
If your dad and dog are out of shape, I suggest sticking with sharpies. Easier to find them driving around and they typically don't run off when spotted. Those little Huns can and do run like the wind.
You haven't lived till you've ground sluiced a covey of huns standing next to the still running pickup truck...

Helps when the farmer lets you drive his field edges.
 

OntarioHunter

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The downside to sticking with hunting sharpies is you have to eat them. Huns on the other hand are sweet meat. Just takes a dozen to make a sandwich.
 

D4570

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In a box under a bridge
I always try to catch either in the very tops of the coulees or ditches running into bigger brakes with small brushy trees First thing in the morning or last light. They are a ground birds and will be walking a lot. Find a bunch of grasshoppers it is a major part of their food. when it snows they roost in trees and eat a lot of rose hips on the ground.

Water water water.
 

300stw

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The downside to sticking with hunting sharpies is you have to eat them. Huns on the other hand are sweet meat. Just takes a dozen to make a sandwich.
i eat so many sharpies its not funny, bacon wrapped breasts, johnnys seasoning, medium rare off the grill, bone out the legs save them with all the other bird legs, grind for a breakfest sausage,,, huns on a skewer with doves and oninons peppers ect grilled, im ready for lunch,,,
 

Hunting Wife

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Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
My husband grew up calling sharptails “shoe-leather birds”, because you often have to wear a bunch out to find them. Can’t say I’ve ever really seen road hunting them to be super effective.

I like good grass cover for sharpies. If it’s hot, they’ll go to shrubs so you’ll want to find shrubby cover surrounded by good grass. They are not as dependent on crops as pheasants and huns, so proximity to grain isn’t nearly as important. If it’s dry, they will need to be somewhere with access to water so keep that in mind. Below stock dams and such can be good during the day. They’ll move throughout the day or depending on the weather so pay attention to where you find them (coulees vs sidehills vs grassy tops vs shrubby patches etc) then hunt similar areas. We often find them in the coulees first thing in the morning, moving up onto the side hills or tops during the morning, then back to cover later in the afternoon.

Huns will sit in almost any grassy corner, field edge, shelterbelt or grass field near crop, but they can be a lot more patchy in distribution in my experience. More hit or miss to find consistently, at least for me.

Sharpies are great to eat if you don’t overcook them. They stand up to bold flavors too so don’t be afraid to use them in other red-meat style recipes. Curry, paella, grilled with herbs and spices, schnitzeled, sharpie parm…
 

Ben Lamb

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Cedar, MI
My husband grew up calling sharptails “shoe-leather birds”, because you often have to wear a bunch out to find them. Can’t say I’ve ever really seen road hunting them to be super effective.

I like good grass cover for sharpies. If it’s hot, they’ll go to shrubs so you’ll want to find shrubby cover surrounded by good grass. They are not as dependent on crops as pheasants and huns, so proximity to grain isn’t nearly as important. If it’s dry, they will need to be somewhere with access to water so keep that in mind. Below stock dams and such can be good during the day. They’ll move throughout the day or depending on the weather so pay attention to where you find them (coulees vs sidehills vs grassy tops vs shrubby patches etc) then hunt similar areas. We often find them in the coulees first thing in the morning, moving up onto the side hills or tops during the morning, then back to cover later in the afternoon.

Huns will sit in almost any grassy corner, field edge, shelterbelt or grass field near crop, but they can be a lot more patchy in distribution in my experience. More hit or miss to find consistently, at least for me.

Sharpies are great to eat if you don’t overcook them. They stand up to bold flavors too so don’t be afraid to use them in other red-meat style recipes. Curry, paella, grilled with herbs and spices, schnitzeled, sharpie parm…


We're all amatuers. But @Hunting Wife is a pro. Listen to what she says.
 

R.K.

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Jan 24, 2017
Messages
671
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MT
My husband grew up calling sharptails “shoe-leather birds”, because you often have to wear a bunch out to find them. Can’t say I’ve ever really seen road hunting them to be super effective.

I like good grass cover for sharpies. If it’s hot, they’ll go to shrubs so you’ll want to find shrubby cover surrounded by good grass. They are not as dependent on crops as pheasants and huns, so proximity to grain isn’t nearly as important. If it’s dry, they will need to be somewhere with access to water so keep that in mind. Below stock dams and such can be good during the day. They’ll move throughout the day or depending on the weather so pay attention to where you find them (coulees vs sidehills vs grassy tops vs shrubby patches etc) then hunt similar areas. We often find them in the coulees first thing in the morning, moving up onto the side hills or tops during the morning, then back to cover later in the afternoon.

Huns will sit in almost any grassy corner, field edge, shelterbelt or grass field near crop, but they can be a lot more patchy in distribution in my experience. More hit or miss to find consistently, at least for me.

Sharpies are great to eat if you don’t overcook them. They stand up to bold flavors too so don’t be afraid to use them in other red-meat style recipes. Curry, paella, grilled with herbs and spices, schnitzeled, sharpie parm…
That’s my experience- tasty birds. But I’m going to have to look elsewhere for those shrubs/bushes- I’m hunting around Molt, and it’s nothing but wheat, alfalfa, some short grass and stunted sage in alkali flats. Need to knock out the antelope quick so we can go out after the birds- the bulk of the pronghorn aren’t anywhere near a bush. Like, miles and miles away.
 

Hunting Wife

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Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
That’s my experience- tasty birds. But I’m going to have to look elsewhere for those shrubs/bushes- I’m hunting around Molt, and it’s nothing but wheat, alfalfa, some short grass and stunted sage in alkali flats. Need to knock out the antelope quick so we can go out after the birds- the bulk of the pronghorn aren’t anywhere near a bush. Like, miles and miles away.
Not familiar with the area, but looking at the imagery it looks similar to several places I’ve hunted them. I see some really promising looking spots right there. Feel free to PM if you want specifics.
 

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