Monday, December 3, 2012

Kneetopia hunting report

Lots of good friends, of which are apparently good hunters had success this hunting season. Western Montana as always is one of the best places to take in Gods endless beauty. And while you are at it, you can chase around some of the most wild creatures out there. I was lucky enough to take part in a couple of these adventures. Take a look at the full album at the bottom and let me know if you have one to add!

Come on, sent it over.

FULL PICTURE album here

179 1/2" Bighorn Ram

408" B&C 7 x 8 Bull

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

That's a wrap

Unfortunately I'm not wrapping anything up, as in meat, after this hunting season. In one of my slowest hunting season's in my short career, I failed to bring home the bacon so to speak. I have been lucky in the previous 7 seasons to put some meat in the freezer come Fall. Whether it was antelope, elk or deer, one of those varieties has become a regular in my freezer in the garage. As I eat the remaining packages of game, it will likely only see the graces of Otter Pops and corn dogs until next fall.

Here's a recent article from the Missoulian about the hunting season. Seems they are citing weather as one of the big factors. Not too much mention of predation, more to come on that I'm sure.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meat Eater

Tis the season to think of meat. As has become part of my ritual I expend calories in order to locate wild game. With about a week under my belt in the woods, I should theoretically be getting closer to filling the freezer.

Hormone free, organic, grass fed, what ever you want to call it. It's good for you and I hop to stock up soon. Cervus elaphus is the preferred variety.

Steve Rinella takes the love of meat to another level. His show Meat Eater is great and he's an inspirational hunter. Some interesting commentary and debate below:

On a related note, Ari LeVaux a columnist for the Missoula Independent always puts out some good wild-game related thoughts. Sometimes recipes, sometimes meat philosphy. This article Hunting Vs Shooting was good.

The numbers don't lie either:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Backpack hunting

So there I was, no shit, just looking for the perfect backpack. Scouring the internet in search of the a backpack that would fit my every need. Are you still reading this? Crickets? Anyway I'm just kidding. I have been seriously domesticated, but I'm not that bad yet. Really I'm not.

I'm talking about a bad ass elk hunt with nothing but a backpack. Five glorious nights camped with nothing but what your legs & back could bring in. We had done an early season rifle hunt the 2 years prior, with one year having a successful harvest and the second year no so much.

Our hunting plans festered all winter long. Then finally my hunting partner and I hatched them this late October. Much planning preceeded the trip as usual. Interestingly I seem to enjoy the logistical side of the extended hunts much more than I used to (see old and lame). As a result of the busy family schedule, work and life in general, I literally started packing for this hunt 2 weeks in advance.

I spread out the known necessities on the bed in the basement and then filled in the gaps with all too many trips to the sporting goods and grocery stores. Between a solid list and just one more double check, I only managed to forget 2 things: the gourmet salami and cheese in the fridge & dental floss.

We put up a respectable distance and set up camp at about 8000 feet. The valley floor still had the brilliant yellows clinging to the trees. The high country was ripe for some snow. One day prior to the opener we glassed our quarry. We hoped to find them in the right spots in the morning.

Hunting grounds all fogged in

We split up opening morning and as luck would usually have it, one of had more than the other. RS had the opportunity to pass on two bulls. I saw lot of squirrels and also snuck in to 20 yards of a decent mule deer buck. I watched as he lounged in his bed chewing grass, nonchalantly looking at me over his shoulder for a minute.

Through the rest of our hunt we shared much time around the campfire, telling half truths and discussing life in general. We heard wolves howl, but did not cut their tracks. We watched as our perfect setup on a mature bull was blown by sloppy ethics and bad shooting. Our freeze dried meals were complimented by Glenlivet, warming our bellies after our long days afield. The adjacent camps which were living high on the hog (with horses and wall tents), marveled at our dedication (or stupidity?). We watched 6 inches of October snow fall out of skies. A large grizzly bear followed us as we left the area.

The only things we brought out were memories, motivation and sore legs. Thanks for reading. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More mountain lions

Last year a particular area that I hunted seems to be overflowing with mountain lions. For those of you following along, you may remember the post here. It was also interesting that this summer, not too far from that very same area another mountain lion was seen stalking campers. It was later dispatched by MT FWP and most people were better off for it.

The big game opener also was no stranger to seemingly the same mountion population. A friend hunting in that area ran into a hunter who ended up shooting a mountain lion at "6 steps". My buddy described him as shaking and bone white. Below is the excerpt from the news clip:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Summer finally over?

Much of western Montana tied an unfortunate record at midnight Tuesday, when we tallied 42 consecutive days with no measurable precipitation.

The period ended with a gutter-rattling rain and snow flurry about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Missoula Valley. But a mark that’s stood for more than a century has now been equaled.

“We matched the all-time record that was recorded between September and October of 1896,” National Weather Service meteorologist Corby Dickerson said Wednesday morning. While an earlier records search cast doubt on measurements prior to 1948, a re-check found good data from weather stations at Fort Missoula and in the downtown area covering the city’s earliest days

We all know it's been dry and smoky. Today when I peered out the window onto the hills that surround Missoula, I could hardly believe me eyes. As usual the weather forecast had been wrong, stating that we wouldn't see a trace. Instead the surrounding hills picked up a couple inches of the white stuff. Unfortunately our Idaho brethren seem to have missed the boat on precip. 

It was a busy summer for me. Spending lots of time behind the driver's seat of a water tender both in Western Montana and also Idaho. I shared just about the same days out on fires at this rainless stretch here in Missoula. I've not been that busy on fires since I worked for the hotshots.Good to be home.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

America Remembers

 Thanks to those that gave their lives to help better others. We won't forget.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anybodys guess

Thanks to the Powder magazine's facebook page we now have an accurate forecast for this winter. Stay tuned.

The Campbell clan has been busy, summer is nearing an end all to quickly. Smoke has become more common place in the valley, but at least it hasn't reached hazardous levels (yet). I got in on a few fires over in SE Montana the last couple weeks, man it's good to be home though.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bad day to be in Yellowstone National Park

Careful out there people.

A German tourist died at a Billings hospital Monday after suffering a head injury when he was thrown from a horse near Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park.

Two other park visitors were seriously injured Monday in unrelated accidents.

Carl Dullmaier, 56, of Gernsheim, Germany, was helicoptered to Billings after the fall. He was on a guided horseback ride near Yancey’s Hole when the accident occurred.

“The word we got was that the horses were spooked, possibly by some birds,” said Dan Hottle, park public affairs officer.

A 10-year-old boy on the same outing was also thrown and was taken to the park clinic in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., before continuing on to Livingston for further care, Hottle said.

He did not know if Dullmaier was alone or with family at the time of the accident. Rangers had to carry him to a helicopter landing area so he could be flown to Billings. Dullmaier was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m., Hottle said.

Yellowstone rangers also responded to help two other injured tourists on Monday.

A 37-year-old man from Provo, Utah, suffered thermal burns on the Solitary Geyser Trail in the Upper  Geyser Basin. He was transported by ambulance to West Yellowstone and from there by airplane to the Salt Lake City burn center.

A 65-year-old British national from Bangkok, Thailand, was thrown into the air by a bull bison at Mammoth Hot Springs. He was transported to Memorial Hospital in Livingston.

July is typically the busiest month of the year in Yellowstone. Yellowstone officials respond to an average of 700 emergency medical calls each year.
Visitors are reminded when they enter the park and by signs throughout to stay on boardwalks and designated trails while viewing thermal features that are near or above boiling. They are also constantly reminded to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from all other animals, including elk and bison.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Historical snow data

Snow is really the last thing I want to think about now. But it is interesting. The northern Rockies have had some good years this last decade. Take a look at this nerdy table below.

Fires are popping to the east of the divide in Montana. Their grass is dried out reportedly, while ours in Missoula is still deep green.

Heres to hoping the smoke never gets too thick in the valley this summer!

Click here if you are a snow nerd!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alma Desnuda

It feels like we are finally approaching summer, last year of course summer never really came. This year a lot of the SW US has been in drought conditions and fires are busting loose and burning structures left and right it seems. Western Montana is pretty wet and we've been sitting below normal temps for the most part. The teaser 80 degree temps we had a couple month ago have not returned, but they'll pop soon.

We'll have some much anticipated visitors in a few week from California and the cousins will be going beserk in the backyard. We're planning to get out camping with the 6 kids for a few nights and enjoy some pyrotechnics in the Missoula valley. We can't wait Horans! 

Mountain biking and riding the KLR have been great this spring, lots of loamy soil to be shredded. And our little man has been great, he is very pleasant and so far is a mellow little baby. Our girls have took to him like fish in water, even showing interest in changing some diapers. My goal by the time they are 5 = change a diaper :-). I celebrated a new year with some great friends and a bbq.

New tire for the KLR, sweet traction!

My birthday cake from my funny wife, I'm really not that anti-wolf

The kids rocking out to Alma Desnuda at a private jam party.

A generous Bitterrooter friend of ours invited us down to enjoy some music last Sunday. The band is a San Francisco based group called Alma Desnuda. The herd of kids each grabbed an instrument (tamborines, rattles and maracas) and played the opening song. The rest of the energized adults rocked out to some great music and enjoyed some excellent Bitterrroot Brews (Single Hop and Nut brown). Thanks Goeltz's!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

End of May

We've had some very nice weather this month in Western Montana and the family and I tried to get out as much as possible to enjoy it. The little one is doing well and we think we will probably keep him. The motorcycle is in full use and a new beefy knobby was installed this week. Lots of fun coming up in June and July.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying their spring as well. Here's a few pictures to enjoy. The album can be fewed here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Urgent Call To Action: Comment On Wolf Season

For any of you out there that enjoy Montana's elk population, please read this and consider action now. You may not personally want to shoot a wolf, but you will want to support those that do if you want to keep Montana elk hunting the way it was. The decline in elk population has been too drastic to not take note of the wolves implications. I don't believe that they are solely responsible, but I do believe they are a big contributor. Please read on

Keith Kubista, The President of Montana Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife, is looking for your support on the new wolf hunting proposal.  The choice is yours, if you support it or are against it, FWP would like to hear your opinion.
Below is Kubista’s Call to Action:
There is going to be a lot opposition to the proposed FWP wolf hunting season for this year.  From what I am hearing if a lot public comment doesn’t come forward the FWP Commission might vote to alter or change the proposal.  We need get everyone we know to support the proposal, if not we stand the chance of losing our ability to bring wolf numbers into a balance or lose our wolf hunting season all together.  If you can attend any of the following meetings great, but at the very least you and everyone you know need to submit either a written comment or online comment.  Don’t count on someone else to carry the water on this important issue!
We need you to do two things with respect to WOLVES:
  1. Attend the meetings scheduled by FWP and voice your support for wolf hunting, trapping and snaring in Montana, and
  2. Send in comments to the Commission regarding the proposed wolf season.
FWP wants to reduce the wolf population however; their current tentative proposal is not aggressive enough to realistically or significantly bring down wolf numbers. We need you to deliver a simple consistent message at all FWP meetings and in your written comments to the Commission stating the following:
I support the MFWP wolf season tentative proposal with the following changes:
  1. Delete the 425 minimum target/objective
  2. Include snaring for general trapping season and set season to run January 1, 2013 – March 31, 2013.
  3. General gun season to end March 31, 2013.
  4. Reduce the cost of non-resident license to $50.
  5. Eliminate the five-day waiting period between license purchase and start of hunt.
Public information meetings are set for 7-9 p.m. at these locations:
  • May 22—Missoula—Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown at the Park
  • May 22—Bozeman—Holiday Inn; 5 E Baxter Ln.
  • May 22—Great Falls—FWP Region 4 Office; 4600 Giant Springs Rd.
  • May 22—Billings—FWP Region 5 Office; 2300 Lake Elmo Dr.
  • June 13—Kalispell—Flathead Valley Community College; 777 Grandview Dr.
Online Comments:
To comment on line, and to find more details on the proposed changes, visit or visit FWP’s website at Click “Hunting.” It took me less than 2 minutes. Use your own words but be consistent in message.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trial riding

The balance and skills this guy has is super human. Flip to the 4 minute mark where it really starts to get crazy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Al-Qaida infiltrates Montana

Not really, but they are threatening to burn our forests. An article in today's Missoulian gave me a couple chuckles. For some reason I don't think terrorists would want to come to Montana.

Maybe they ought to take a look at how some of the folks around here deal with the wolf situation. Bring it.

So it turns out this isn't the first time we seen such thing in the media about the threat of attack on our forests. The above image was printed by US Forest Service in 1943. Anybody seen any suspicious activity lately?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Needle in a haystack

Yesterday the dogs and I walked about 8 miles in search of some sheds. We found one pair and a single whitey with nice mass. Now if I could just train them to sniff them like these shed hunting dogs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Keegan Smith and David Gerow

It's not every child that can say they saw their first music show at 8 days old. Some generous friends of ours invited to their house to watch two excellent musicians, Keegan Smith and David Gerow. They proceeded to light the small crowd on fire in the basement. Everyone appreciated the unique lyrics and good beats to the tune of several types of beer from Bitterroot and Tamarack.

Oh and sorry, it's not that we want to you think our child is better than yours. But he actually is. Any way we were joking today about how advanced our son's neck strength was. He really is advanced, isn't he? I love hearing parents talk about their children.

What are you bragging about your kids?Come on, I know you're not that little 0 comment below and let it flow. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Our little man was born on the 5th of April, healthy and full of life. The family is doing well. Thanks to everyone, we really appreciate all the help and kind wishes. Words can't describe the whole experience. But I say it was amazing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ultimate Treadmill Fails Compilation

Get ready for a laugh headache. This shit is funny. That is if you like seeing people get worked. This cracks me up even more because that song is what was used in my high school football highlights video. Thanks to Unofficial Networks for pointing this beauty out. Like they said, if you can't laugh at this, well......

If you are wondering about Matthew Wilder, look no further. Holy crap that is hard core 80s.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring life

Well I'm sure by now you are tired of reading about snow and weather in Western Montana. I don't know maybe you're not? Anyway, there are sure to be less powder posts from here on out as the snowpack is shrinking. While many areas south of Montana didn't quite have average snow, W. Montana faired okay. Snowbowl hit a 100" base on the summit (50" at base) just a week or so ago. Since then we've been losing an inch or two a day. I suspect we'll see a big drop after today's downpour and warm temps.

Our interests are slowly shifting towards the spring duties. Cleaning up the backyard and prepping the garden today in between rain showers. Small signs of life, mostly bulbs are emerging. The maple in front has popped its buds and looks to be ready to leave out. The household is anxiously awaiting the next joy to be born.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Avalanche caught on video tape hitting warehouse

On Feb. 1, the weather was so bad in King Cove, Alaska, that the Alaska Commercial store closed about a half-hour earlier than usual. Lucky thing. The last employee left that night about 7:30, a half-hour before the normal closing time. At 7:48 p.m., according to store manager Jeff Watt, an avalanche hit the warehouse behind the store -- an area employees typically would move in and out of at the end of the day. It pounded down a slope on the western side of the city where the store is located. Three videos uploaded to YouTube captured the avalanche from various angles inside and outside of the warehouse: Garage doors blown off

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kids in a candy shop

P-burg barn

We're entering a little heat wave in Missoula. The snowbanks have shrank to meaningless dirty humps. It's the time of year when every time you look out the window the weather is doing something different. I personally favor the snowing and sunny types of days.

The sun looks to be pushing into the 60's this weekend. Gone are the chances of having any really cold snaps. The winter has been mild as far as harsh low temperatures in the valley. In the higher elevations the winter has been good to us, Snowbowl has 66" at the base and 92" on top.

We took a trip over to Discovery the other day and had the kids slopes and the lodge for that matter to ourselves. The kids pizza'd when they should have pizza'd and all turned out well. Check out this guy french frying when he should have pizza'd., hilarious!

 If you get the chance, go to the Sweet Palace in Philipsburg, our kids kinda liked it.

Kids in the Sweet Palace, Philipsburg, MT

Monday, February 20, 2012


I think most of us can agree that success can be gauged in many ways. I am going to count some success from last week at the local ski hills tow rope. The first time they were barely 2.5 years old and it was quite a chore to keep them out there for longer than 10 minutes. Fast forward 2 winters and we've got smiles and progress. We heard cheers of excitement and saw proud smiles. They have even began to do the tow rope SOLO. For anyone that has rode Snowbowl's tow rope, you know how big of an accomplishment that is. Granted the first attempt was not pretty, although very amusing, her grip and horizontal body was a sight to see.

 Essex uni-cycler

I have continued to stuff copious amounts of sugar laden treats into their mouth at the top of each run. Some may call it cheating but I call it effective. Each girl now skis solo down the short hill and can make turns in and out of the cones. Anyway enough doting on my girls. Thanks for reading whoever you might be. I hope you enjoy some of these pics from the last few weeks. Album over here>>>