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Thread: One of the advantages Montana offers that isn't obvious

  1. #1

    Default One of the advantages Montana offers that isn't obvious

    I recently returned from 13 days away in Montana. For 12 nights I camped out and was struck by something that has to be experienced to be appreciated. For 5 of the 12 I was probably 10 miles away from even a ranch's yard light and at least 50 miles from even a small towns lights. The rest of the time wasn't much brighter. The night sky's were black, black, black and I've only seen that many stars when I was in similar no light polluted areas like Alaska and the Northwest Territories. It was just awe inspiring and I'd spend an hour just looking up into the sky. One non consumptive free activity that isn't available in most of the US. Even places like the Nevada and Oregon desert have more light to dim the stars.

  2. #2


    The last best place !!! I need to make it back there next season .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Illinois


    That's amazing. How do you go about finding a "camp" area out there? Do they have public areas to set up camp or are you just camping along a road/in a field?

    "Through license fees and excise tax on arms and gear, sportsmen contribute over $200 million per year for wildlife conservation programs" (U.S. fish and wildlife service)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Spring Grove, IL


    when I was out there I just found a little saddle in a field and parked it. I was also awestruck how large everything is. I wondered how they work up fields that you cannot see the ends of???

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by 1pheas4 View Post
    That's amazing. How do you go about finding a "camp" area out there? Do they have public areas to set up camp or are you just camping along a road/in a field?Nick
    Montana is a lot like Nevada in that a huge portion of it is publicly owned land. BLM and the state are large owners for example and you can camp on both lands. The state land requires you to purchase a $10 access endorsement on your license and only allows 2 days in any one spot. BLM I recall is 14 days in one spot.
    Camping on a farmers land w/o permission, no matter how remote, is not a good behavior. I've talked to enough land owners there to know that they know you're there more often than you might think they do and it really chaps their hide to have people try to take advantage of the apparent remoteness. If you ask they'll often give permission but will turn you in or run you off personally if you don't. I don't camp on private property w/o specific permission. They also are very concerned about somebody starting a fire in their stubble fields. Although I think it's a fairly remote possibility, they are very jumpy about a hot catalytic converter being the source.
    Lastly, when I say remote, I mean it. A lot of the soils in the dark middle of the state have Bentonite clay in them that need very little moisture to become impassable gumbo. I've had to immediately drive out in the middle of the night when I heard rain on my shell and almost didn't make a graveled road only 1/4 mile away even with 4WD after only 1/2 hours light rain.
    If you do camp in "The High Lonesome" be self sufficient and experienced. Carry water, food, chains and enough tools to get yourself unstuck because you'll be walking many miles to a farm house to pay them to come help you get out. No cell service in the "Black Hole" either. If you do get caught in a gumbo area and it pours, be smart and don't try to leave until it drys out. That may be days but you wanted an adventure, right?
    Last edited by calamari; 10-31-2015 at 11:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada

    Thumbs up Big Sky Country

    It truly lives up to its name.
    You describe it perfectly. I have seen the night sky many many times and it is awe inspiring every single time.
    You think about your place in the great wide world and the unlimited universe.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Pacific Northwest


    That's my home state for you - The Last Best Place. If the Kids weren't living here, I'd have moved back when I retired. Glad you enjoyed your time there; it would be difficult not to.
    Dogs . . . I've loved them all . . . the good, the bad, the mediocre, the spectacular. God never made a more loyal & trusting creature than a dog. No small wonder that the same three letters spell two words very important to me . . .

  8. #8


    10 years ago when I went there the first time I almost got carpal tunnel from returning waves from passing strangers. I stopped the first time it happened thinking something must be hanging off my truck or it's on fire but nope. Just friendly people like in most sparsely populated places. Not as many waves since the oil boom but the locals are still plenty friendly in person. Treat them courteously. Everybody isn't like that in most places.

  9. #9


    Man that was my experience also , I have traveled quite a bit bird hunting and otherwise Nicest People I ever met !!!

  10. #10


    You can camp on county roads, just pull over. Don't start a fire. Just pull down into the ditch, and camp, nobody cares, and the land is owned by the county. Definitely do not camp on private land without permission, this goes without saying.


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