The general hunting season in Montana opens state-wide around the third week of October. We break down our early season camps on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and move to our general season camp on the Two Medicine River in elk and mule deer hunting district 415. From this back country camp we hunt elk and mule deer, and occassionally black bear, through the first week of November. This is a rugged and remote of elk country as you'll find anywhere in the US. As you can tell from the pictures, it's a highly varied mix of timbered and open country, with a healthy mix of 10 year old burned timber mixed in. The South Fork of the Two Medicine River forms the main valley floor, where camp is located, and we hunt the many drainages coming east from Two Medicine Ridge and west from the Continental Divide.
The Two Medicine camp is in the shadow of Glacier National Park, and as such we get the Glacier weather. The glaciers in Glacier Park didn't form by accident - this area gets a lot of snow in the winter! By the end of October there will be snow in most of the basins and higher elevation areas we hunt. It's not unusual to get a couple of days of snow flurries on each hunt. This particular area at this time of year is has high fluxuations in temperatures. We can have days in the 40's and 50's, and then a cold front can come through dropping daytime temps below zero quickly. Owing to the proximity to high mountains in Glacier Park and the transition to the prairie, we tend to get significant wind in this country, often for days at at time.
We use horses extensively in this camp to get to the areas we hunt. It's a huge valley, in excess of 30,000 acres, with only a few official trails and our hunting trails. We generally leave camp in the dark ride 1-2 hours to get to our basin to hunt. From here, we are most often on foot hunting the large basins along the divide. We spend large parts of the day using field glasses looking over the vast valley walls and floors as the elk are often moving as they go about their day. We're hoping to catch them or intercept them in a spot we can get to, which is no sure thing in this rugged country.
We take up to 4 hunters in this camp, with a full compliment of staff (guides, packer, cook) and riding and packstock. As with all of our hunting camps, we have private wall tents for our guests and a main mess tent, or cook tent, for feeding everyone. We tend to have larger tents to quarter the staff. The camp sits in the valley floor of the South Fork, nestled in the mature spruce tree forest and a small meadow. It protects us from the most aggressive winds, but the tents still feel it when the wind gets blowing up high.