Sharptails and Setters in Big Sky Country

Written by: Bill Reed, director of wholesale for Orvis Rod & Tackle

Sharptails and Setters 1

Hunting in such open country offers the pleasure of following the dogs and watching them work.

photo by Bill Reed

Having spent nearly thirty-five years chasing grouse and woodcock throughout the Northeast, with an occasional foray for southern quail or pheasants in Iowa and Kansas, I was excited to get the opportunity to hunt sharptails and huns in north-central Montana. And in one word–Wow!

Sharptails and Setters 2

Wild birds are the ultimate challenge for a wingshooter.

photo by Bill Reed

This isn’t big country; it’s huge. Large, rolling hills and long drainages with diverse grasses, plants, and grains that provide ample cover and food for sharptail grouse, pheasant, and coveys of Hungarian partridge.

My favorite experience was walking this open country and being able to maintain visual contact with the dogs working 100-250 yards out. This is in stark contrast to my wingshooting roots in New England’s tight, thick covers. For the bird-dog lover, this is a special place to watch well-trained setters working their magic. Covering ground in large radius passes, using the wind to their advantage, and pinning down coveys with a stylish point the dogs are a pleasure to watch.

Sharptails and Setters 3

These dogs can’t wait to get out in the field and put all their training to work.

photo by Bill Reed

Our party stayed at the new Sharptail Lodge run by PRO Outfitters. This new facility includes six double-occupancy yurts, which are spacious and comfortable, a main lodge with all the amenities, and an outstanding chef who provided wonderful meals at the end of each day. PRO Outfitters leases approximately 180,000 acres, offering private, well-managed, and rotated hunting opportunities for wild birds exclusively.

Sharptails and Setters 4

Sharptail Lodge’s comfortable yurts put you right in the middle of the action.

photo by Bill Reed

I’ve only been home for a few days, and for those of you steelhead junkies always scheming & dreaming of your next trip, you can understand my problem. I’ve been bit by the sharptail-and-setter bug and can’t wait to return.

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