Without a doubt, Fall is my favorite time of the year here in Montana. The browns are running, the birds are flying, elk are screaming, and football is back (albeit after an interesting start). It is a constant battle to keep the bird dog happy, fill the freezer, chase down some angry browns, and maintain a healthy dosage of football and cold beer... Not to mention the fact that college is back in session and our local watering holes seem to be teeming with activity. Did I mention that I love Fall?
But in all seriousness, for me, Fall is a time when I can combine almost all of my favorite activities: fishing, hunting, the outdoors, and football. There is nothing better than waking up early and floating the river, hucking big streamers for pissed off browns while keeping an eye out for ducks that come into range of the boat. If you can make it back in time for the afternoon football games and a couple cold ones it's even better!
While all of the fall activities I enjoy are centered around the outdoors, they are all very different in mentality. I am always excited for archery season to start after a summer full of fishing, I can't wait to break out the bow and get into the woods to stalk some big game animals. Conversely, one of the reasons I love fly fishing is the relaxation and peace of mind it brings me; very few sports allow me to detach from reality the way fly fishing does. But after a full summer of this I am always excited to do something that offers a more physical and mental challenge. This year I spent a week chasing elk, deer, and bear alone up in the hills of SW Montana. While the elk hunting wasn't as successful as it could have been, (thank you very much full moon), the bear hunting was a bit more productive and I ended up with my first black bear and first kill of the year with the bow. After spending a week alone, hiking in before dark and out after dark, being charged by a cow moose, and freezing my toes and fingers off every morning, I couldn't wait to get back to town and get the bird dog out for a relaxing morning of bird hunting and a nice afternoon catching browns. Add to that an evening watching the Bobcat Football Team go to 6-0 and a couple drinks at the local watering holes afterwards and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a day.
So don't let the cool mornings keep you inside, and always remember to bring your fly rod with you when you go hunting... If the birds aren't flying, the browns will probably be running, and even if they're not, it's never hard to find a cold one in this great state!
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