So with my move to Montana, I knew I would want to hunt here too.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to do anything to be able to hunt except live in Montana for 6th months. Since I was born before 1986, I didn’t need any hunting course or any training!
However, I am all for being safe, so I decided to take the Hunter Safety Course. Which, by the way, is 100% free. Paid for by extra taxes on ammo and firearms. Right on!
The course was taking place at a middle school in Belgrade, Montana. We headed to the cafeteria, and I was surprised how many children were present!
We watched a video on hunter safety that was pretty hilarious. Basically it was kids not being safe, and a kid got shot. Don’t do that children!
We received a lot of free reading material as well about safety, which was geared towards children. But not necessarily unhelpful!
Afterwards we headed to the classroom. Again, I was surprised how many children were present! Apparently, you can start hunting at 12, and many of the children in the course were 11 years old!
Our instructors, George and Bonnie, had 50 years of hunting experience each. And the nice thing was that they completely volunteered their time to teach us about hunting. They didn’t get paid for any of the hours they worked with us. Pretty impressive.
Just a note, the guns in the classroom were not real guns. They were all decommissioned guns for the course.
While me and my brother were snickering in the back during the video because of how childish it was, we were quickly out of our elements when it came to gun education.
And the 11 year olds were way more knowledgeable about the fire arms.
So what exactly did we go over the 5 days in the classroom?
- The four rules of firearm safety: Always treat every firearm as loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, always know your target and beyond, and always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
- Parts of a firearm
- General hunting rules and regulations (and that you should read the regs for the hunting year!)
- How to be a safe hunter
- Where to shoot an animal for a quick kill. How to gut it.
- How to avoid bears and be on the look out for animals that may smell a fresh kill
- What to do if you get lost and how to avoid hypothermia
We also went over how to hold a gun and how to prove it before passing it off, which is what Bonnie is doing here.
It was very interesting to see the young children holding the firearms, especially when the firearm is bigger than them!
We also went over the four shooting positions: prone, sitting, kneeling, standing. Here is a young boy in the kneeling position, taking aim.
On Wednesday a game warden came in to discuss some of the regulations with us. She was very informative and I learned a lot of rules I didn’t know. Like the fact it is illegal to shoot from a road!
On Friday we took the written test. There were about 80 questions we needed to answer, multiple choice, true and false, and we had to write out the four hunting rules. I got a 96%. Yes, I missed a few questions!
Saturday was the big day though. It was the field day, where we went through different stations learning about hunting. We had to dress in hunters orange (by law) and carry around an unloaded weapon to show we knew how to handle it safely.
The first station was about where to shoot, tracking a shot animal (following the blood), and then learning to tag it. This station was with the best instructors ever (our instructors), George and Bonnie.
The next station was about the animals we would hunt. There were a lot of furs to show us the difference and how they look.
The instructor here went over the difference between grizzlies and black bears, and a bit about which animals we could shoot, what needed tags, and what was edible or not. Well, all of it is edible, just not all of the meat may taste good!
The bear paws were very interesting as well. Grizzlies have huge claws which aren’t good for climbing, unlike the black bears. You can also drive a straight line through a black bears print, unlike a grizzlies, which is more curved.
We also went over animal horns and antlers, etc. It was all very interesting!
The next station, which I have no pictures for, was the shooting station. Yep, we got to shoot .22 rifles, in all 4 positions. My favorite? The sitting position!
Afterwards, we moved on to the truck/rancher station. This was very interesting.
First, we learned how to load a gun into a truck safely. Making sure the muzzle was always pointed in a safe direction (aka, not at somebody). The rancher station was the best though.
How it works in Montana is that state land anybody can hunt on. Private land, you have to ask permission. So there was an instructor being a grumpy old rancher whose land we want to hunt on.
It was great to watch the kids try to ask him to hunt, and him giving them a hard time. The main points? Be kind, be persistent, and explain to him you are helping manage animals. Oh, and being adorable never hurts!
The very last station was the one I was most nervous about. Shot gun station! Now I’ve never shot a shotgun before, and we were aiming at clay pigeons flying through the air!
As the children went before me and missed every single clay pigeon, I was feeling more confident that if I missed, I wouldn’t look like a complete fool. But, I must have had some beginners luck because I got my first two clay pigeons out of the three, woot!
And guess what. I passed the course!
Now, apparently hunting is a big controversial here in Montana.
So a small disclaimer.
I don’t like hurting animals. But I do like meat. And I respect animals enough to let them roam free. I use all the meat, I don’t hunt for sport, I think it is only fair to hunt if I do eat meat, it is extremely organic, and it is a part of the circle of life.
I’m a big tree hug-er, and I like to hunt.
Time to get crazy!
So in Montana, the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day is Butte.
So Butte we headed!
First off, for St Patrick’s Day you have to dress the part. Right down to your toes.
We got there at about 4pm, and the party was already way under way. So underway that the whiskey was already out and about!
And the trash cans were already full… of beer cans!
Our first stop was.. The Dublin! Guess what. It’s an Irish pub!
It was loud, dark, and packed with green inside.
Pretty fun party, but, no beer on tap! What? They apparently they didn’t have time for tapped beer. Lame. We grabbed a Guinness and then left. Yep, St Patrick’s Day in Butte is the one day you can drink on the street! And there were plenty people on the street!
Next we headed to a place where I could get some good beer on tap (yes, I’m a beer snob!)
And where was this? At the Quarry Brewery!
They dig beer! And this place wasn’t lacking in St Patrick’s Day festivities! There were lots of green tutus…
And crazy green heads floating around in the crowd…
And of course drunk Americans signing the national anthem (because that is so Irish!) while standing on tables!
One of my favorite parts was an American tradition I hadn’t had for more than a decade. The jello shot.
What fun! I took that shot like an expert. And boy was it strong!
Unfortunately we were only allowed 3 beers, so off we were to the next stop. But wait, what happened here? It’s not a party until your cheap heel breaks!
That’s ok, I wasn’t angry. I was as cool as a cowboy!
No worries! It was time to head back to the street. It was getting dark but the party was just started.
We, however, are old and tired bunch, so we headed home. It was definitely an experience! I’m so glad I had my favorite Bozeman MT photographer with me to take fabulous pictures, and a great DD! Thanks guys for an amazing time!
I have to say I was a bit nervous going. The Filling Station isn’t known as being a posh bar. However I felt completely at home. It felt like a pub, where there are regulars.
On Saturday four local bands were playing live on stage. This included Tempest and Beneath the Kraken!
The bar itself was great. The front area consisted of the bar and pool, while the back had room for a band and a dance floor. I wish more people would have danced, I guess I was the only weird one!
The Filler is never boring. It is one of those bars that has tons of things hanging on the walls (mostly license plates).
They had some other cool things that I thought no longer existed. Like a cigarette machine!
And a pay phone! Remember those?
Its funny, I’m not as cool as I once was, by 11 I was tired and ready to go. So once again I missed Beneath the Kraken playing live!
Luckily my dear friend Ashley, who is an amazing Bozeman photographer, was there to take some amazing shots of this band!
The lead guitarist was also decked out is some weird Americana outfit. Now I really wish I was there!
All in all it was an amazing night, and an amazing place, especially if you like real bars. I know I will look forward to the next time I can go to the Filling Station in Bozeman, whether it is for live music or just some good company and beer!
So Bozeman, Montana does something I think is super cool. A lot of local shops, such as coffee shops, restaurants and the like, have local artists displaying in their stores.
The other night we headed to Theory Hair Salon on N. Wallace in Bozeman for Kelsey Dzintars‘ art opening. While it was a hair salon, it didn’t seem like your typical hair salon at all.
Its open and artistic and felt like a perfect place for some vibrant art from Kelsey (while I don’t know Kelsey I’ve decided her art is so cool I should be on a first name basis with her. Now I am.)
Celeste Johnson is the friendly, outgoing and all around awesome stylist who showed us around and talked about her first few amazing months at Theory Hair Salon and how much she loved it.
It wasn’t long before the party was really starting, and with live music, and yummy treats, there was no reason not to visit this art opening!
While I didn’t get my hair cut at Theory Hair Salon, I was well impressed with their inspiration wall.
If you are wanting an inspiring, ultra cool hair cut, I recommend you give Celeste a call at (406) 586 3198. She will rock your world.
So Tuesday was Mardi Gras in Bozeman, and they were doing a fun pub crawl! It was a great chance for me to see the downtown, get to know some friends, and a chance to win $1000 in downtown bucks!
There were nine pubs and bars in Bozeman participating. Get a stamp at all of them, and be entered in the drawing. There was also some beads along the way (no shirt lifting necessary).
The first stop on the tour, and one of my favorites, was the Bacchus Pub.
This Bacchus guy is the Greek God of wine. The stain glass use to be window pieces of the hotel that once stood here. Now he resides over the bar. They also had very cool heads on the wall.
This was a great start to a fun night. Next up was The Crystal. Another great Americana bar!
The bar was pretty empty, but still early (7pm) for a Tuesday night in Bozeman, Montana. This bar was really fun because of all of the decorations!
Even included some bras on the wall Unfortunately the beers were already catching up with me and the picture I took was blurry. No worries! On to the next bar, which was Santa Fe Red, a bar with a Mexican theme. I ran into some Bozemaniacs who were all decked out for Mardi Gras. So decked out I could barely take a picture!
Soon my wonderful friend and fellow Bozemaniac, Ashley Stevick joined the party.
A professional photographer in Bozeman, she kicked my crappy iPhone4s photo’s butt. And that also means there were more photos of me! This one is at American Legion.
Pub 317 (which is St Patrick’s Day) was our next stop. Ashley took some more amazing pictures!
This one had some live music, but we needed to move on. Only one hour left and two more stamps needed to complete the full bar crawl! We decided to run into one bar that was more like a club for a stamp, and headed to our last stop, The Eagle’s Club. Here was a great American bar, with a great American band.
And we ran into the dressed up Bozemaniacs who were having a blast on the dance floor!
I have to say I love the fact that these Americans dressed up for Mardi Gras. I forgot how we can just dress up for anything! Next year I will be wearing a much more festive outfit
All in all it was a great night, a great way to get to know Bozeman, Montana, and the hang over was not bad the next day! Yay water!
So where do Californians who are trying to be country go?
Antique shopping of course!
Bozeman has a great Antique Trail, with 10 different antique shops.
Luckily we didn’t have to go to all of them, as two were large and right next to each other.
Antique shopping is cool, I love old stuff. But it is interesting what is considered antique or not.
Antique shopping in the United States, or at least Bozeman, seems to be many things in Europe that would just be at a pawn shop and considered cheap.
So basically you just put a higher price tag on it, and it becomes antique! Maybe I should open an antique shop…
In any case, there is something very unique about antique shopping in Bozeman…
I have never seen a stuffed rooster before, let alone two! There was also a very cowboy and Indian feel to it, but that is all over Bozeman.
And, while this thing looked cool, I didn’t really know what it was. Some kind of stove? Any guesses?
In the end we found what we were looking for, giving the house an even more country look (or at least the look of trying to be country).
Well worth it! Well, maybe not worth the price tag on that one. I don’t think antique shopping is for me just yet. But I could spend hours and hours taking pictures of old things!
And there are some cheaper deals. Also, a tip on antique shopping in Bozeman. Ask for a discount! If they can, usually they will knock off 10%.