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The Upland Birds in Montana’s Bighorn River Country Are Worth the Trip

Jul 7, 2017 - Ready to plan a big hunting trip this fall? The upland birds in Montana are worth the trip.

The Bighorn River cuts a swath of green through the south-central Montana landscape where millions of bison once roamed. Nestled along its banks just south of Hardin is Eagle Nest Lodge.

The Bighorn is renowned for its trout, and Eagle Nest for its “cast and blast” package that includes time on the river as well as in the fields. But Montana boasts some of the country’s best upland bird hunting, and Eagle Nest is a hidden gem for those who want to ditch the “cast” and focus on the “blast.”

Eagle Nest has secured leases on more than 40,000 acres of ranch and farmland teeming in upland birds – pheasant, Hungarian partridge and sharptail grouse. The landscape includes valleys, hillsides, creeks and fields, and most of the birds can be encountered in the same habitat.

Eagle Nest conducts traditional western-style hunts with guests typically hunting in pairs with one guide and a team of dogs. And guests are welcome to bring their own dogs – Eagle Nest boasts an indoor championship kennel. Plus, it’ll train your pup.

The shooting is demanding, but the birds are abundant in this area of Montana. Former all-pro quarterback Steve Bartkowski of the Atlanta Falcons, now a popular outdoor TV host, is a believer.

“Eagle Nest Lodge is the best of the best,” he said in a testimony for Eagle Nest. “Fantastic wingshooting in breathtaking surroundings at a variety of gamebirds…It may be better somewhere – I’ve just never been there.”

The abundance of birds means most Eagle Nest guests will fill their daily quotas. To help in that regard, Eagle Nest offers a complimentary sporting clay course, and for those interested in a “less rigorous” hunt, the lodge provides managed hunts for hard flying, released birds on two of its 1,200-acre shooting preserves.

All game is cleaned, processed and packaged by Eagle Nest for guests to take with them, and Eagle Nest guides will even work with new hunters just being introduced to the sport.

The Bighorn may be renowned for its trout fishing, but Eagle Nest is providing elite upland bird hunting available along its banks.

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