• A rattlesnake stikes. Photo by Jaime and Lisa Johnson

    Video: When a Rattlesnake strikes

    Spoiler alert: This post is not for the faint of heart. 

    What’s it like to be bitten by a Montana rattlesnake? That’s something no one wants to find out first hand.

    But wildlife photographers Jaime and Lisa Johnson got an up-close look at the reptile and it’s venom with their “Three Strikes” video.

    The video is on their YouTube channel.

    “The attached screen capture is actually right after the camera was hit by the snake,” Jaime wrote in an email. “You can see the blur (venom) on the top left of the image.”

    Safe to say it’s best to keep your distance – from all wildlife. Instead, check out these amazing photos of Montana wildlife from the Johnsons. Here’s more from a photo Portfolio of their’s from our Jan/Feb 2014 issue.

    Jenna

  • Flowers and big river flows: Our top reader photos of the week

    They’ve done it yet again. Our readers never fail to awe us when they share their photos from all across Montana – and this week’s batch of favorite reader photos (shared with us on Facebook) is another great set.

    Without further adieu: Here are the top five readers photos of the week:

    Shooting Stars on Waterworks Hill in the Missoula Valley. Photo by Carol Gauthier

    Shooting Stars on Waterworks Hill in the Missoula Valley. Photo by Carol Gauthier

    Sunset at Wayfarers State Park. Photo by Aaron Theisen Photography

    Sunset at Wayfarers State Park. Photo by Aaron Theisen Photography

    A cowgirl at the recent Sort Pink event, which helps support breast cancer research. Photo by Mark LaRowe Photography

    A cowgirl at the recent Sort Pink event, which helps support breast cancer research. Photo by Mark LaRowe Photography

    Great horn owlets in a tree near the South Fork of the Smith River. Photo by Greg Olmstead

    Great horn owlets in a tree near the South Fork of the Smith River. Photo by Greg Olmstead

    Kootenai River between Libby and Troy. Photo by TheBobFactor.com

    Kootenai River between Libby and Troy. Photo by TheBobFactor.com

    We’ve got much more of Montana to see in our May/June issue – out now!

    Don’t miss a moment. Subscribe today!

    Jenna 

  • Evel Knievel Days takes place in Butte each summer. Photo by Walter Hinnick

    A few bucking horses, Evel, a kegger and more…

    The Billings Gazette put together a list of Big Sky Country festivals that “only make sense if you’re from Montana.” And it’s pretty fun for everyone, not matter if you’re a Big Sky Stater or not.

    Included in the list: A bucking horse sale that always turns out to be one of the best parties in the west. A weekend honoring Evel. A kegger.

    Trout Creek's Huckleberry Festival will be featured in the July/August issue of Montana Magazine. Courtesy image

    Trout Creek’s Huckleberry Festival will be featured in the July/August issue of Montana Magazine. Courtesy image

    It’ll either take you down memory lane, or add a couple items to your Montana bucket list.

    Others we think you should check out: The Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point and its famous Catholic burgers and Utica Day Fair – for the PIE!

    Enjoy!

    Jenna

  • An excavator takes huge bites from the snowpack covering Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park on Monday morning as crews reached Oberlin Bend in the annual effort to get the popular tourist route open. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Going-to-the-Sun Road: The ‘art’ of moving snow

    Snowplow crews are making headway in their work to clear Glacier’s epic roadway.

    Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin has the story:

    The annual opening of this iconic two-lane highway through the heart of Glacier National Park signals the full-bore start of tourist season in this part of Montana, and so the date Going-to-the-Sun is ready for traffic is an important one to lots of people.

    And we don’t know it.

    Not yet.

    What we do know is that when snowplow crews on the west side reach Oberlin Bend near Logan Pass, Glacier officials escort a gaggle of reporters up to watch them work.

    That happened Monday, as machinery labored its way through a winter’s worth of snow, even as more snow fell.

    A year ago – with significantly more snowfall for crews to deal with – the annual journalists’ trek to Oberlin Bend didn’t happen until June 5. The road went on to open on July 3.

    While crews up the road worked to clear snow, a lower crew was replacing the removable guardrails on the road. Miles of the guardrails are removed each winter to avoid damage from avalanches and rock falls. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    While crews up the road worked to clear snow, a lower crew was replacing the removable guardrails on the road. Miles of the guardrails are removed each winter to avoid damage from avalanches and rock falls. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    This year, they’ve reached Oberlin Bend almost four weeks earlier than last year, but, as is always the case, Mother Nature will have the biggest say in how work progresses from here.

    “We’ve had blizzards in June, and it’s not even mid-May yet,” explained Glacier spokeswoman Denise Germann.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    Need more Glacier in your life? Subscribe to Montana Magazine today and check out our Park-to-Park issue.

  • The Stage Road Inn near Dodson. Photo by Jack McNeel

    Behind the scenes: How to find a place like the Stage Road Inn

    It’s that time of year again: To to think about a summer vacation or quick getaway.

    If you really want to get away – and explore some Montana backroads while you’re at it, take a look at our feature on the Stage Road Inn near Dodson. It’s western style meets Montana comfort – with a dash of history.

    The Stage Road Inn is on the outskirts of Dodson just east of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. That’s one reason for the strong Native American décor owner Sandy Calk has used inside the converted farm house.

    But how do you find a place like Stage Road? When you need a place to sleep, it’s about necessity, explains writer Jack McNeel.

    The Stage Road Inn is a three bedroom bed and breakfast near Dodson. Photo by Jack McNeel

    The Stage Road Inn is a three bedroom bed and breakfast near Dodson. Photo by Jack McNeel

    Here’s our Behind the Scenes feature for May/June:

     

    “Initially it was simply a matter of need. I was on assignment to do several articles on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and needed a place to stay nearby to reduce travel time back and forth. Chinook and Dodson are about equal distances from the community of Fort Belknap, but Dodson is almost on the reservation itself.”

    “A search of Google turned up the Stage Road Inn adjoining Dodson. I was very surprised, but pleasantly surprised, to find a bed and breakfast located there as it was just a shot in the dark. I was even more surprised to read the description as it sounded like a wonderful experience in a historical building, decorated in a Native American motif and located outside of town with a barn and open fields all around.”

    “I’ve always preferred the natural environment to the urban and have great interest in Native American history to the present time. What better combination could I have stumbled upon?”

    Jenna

  • A heron sits near its nest at the Drummond rookery. The birds don't always return to the same nest every year, and ususally have a different mate each season. Photo by Tom Bauer

    High-roost rockery entices great blue herons to western Montana

    By Rob Chaney 

    DRUMMOND – It’s not everywhere you can get eye to eye with a wild heron during mating season.

    Great blue herons (Ardea herodias) return to southwestern Montana to raise their chicks in rookeries – the avian equivalent of high-rise apartment living. While they typically don’t like human intrusions, Montana Highway 1 heading south from Drummond offers a great compromise.

    A great blue heron flies over a rookery of about 30 nests recently near Drummond. The rookery has at least 20 herons flying about just to the west of Montana Highway 1 near the Clark Fork River. Photo by Tom Bauer

    A great blue heron flies over a rookery of about 30 nests recently near Drummond. The rookery has at least 20 herons flying about just to the west of Montana Highway 1 near the Clark Fork River. Photo by Tom Bauer

    “I just love watching them,” rancher Sherilee Lund said of the colony that’s nested next to her cow pasture for the past decade.

    While a former railroad grade on her land goes right by the cottonwood grove, the highway bridge that spans it combines better elevation with a comfortable security distance for the birds. Neither zooming cars nor photographers wandering along the guardrail prompted any disturbance on the nests.

    Lund said it appeared the rookery was unused when she and husband Bob Lund moved to Drummond from Hall about 12 years ago. A few years later, a couple of pairs began nesting there.

    “I’m guessing once they got started again, they stay for several years,” Lund said. “Not all the nests are occupied every year.”

    Last week, at least 20 herons were sitting in or standing by at least 31 nests in the grove of cottonwood trees. The big birds can all but disappear in the clots of twigs and branches, with only their heads visible above the rim. The nests don’t look deep enough for a heron to disappear like that, especially when the mate is standing right beside it.

    Sherilee Lund walks along her road next to the rookery. Lund has been keeping tabs on the herons for several years. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Sherilee Lund walks along her road next to the rookery. Lund has been keeping tabs on the herons for several years. Photo by Tom Bauer

    One nest provided a gruesome reminder of the challenges herons face in the modern world. While two birds went about their ways above, a third, dead heron hung from the underside of the nest.

    “My guess is that it got tangled up in monofilament fishing line and died,” said Erick Greene, a University of Montana bird biologist who’s kept track of the Drummond rookery. “This is a major source of mortality for herons (like) ospreys with baling twine. I have done a lot of work on this issue – trying to reduce the amount of fishing line and baling twine that people leave out in the environment.”

    Read the rest of the story here

  • web cam

    How’s spring progressing in MT? Check out our web cams

    No matter where you are, it’s easy to keep track of Montana these days.

    We’ve compiled a list of web cams – with links! – for everything from ski mountains to national parks.

    As the state thaws, the cams are a good way to keep track of spring’s progress through the web cams.

    You can check in on Lake McDonald in Glacier, or the geysers in Yellowstone.

    Take second to check out our Web Cams of Montana page.

    Enjoy!

    Jenna

  • The Kyi-Yo Powwow was held in Missoula April 18. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Drums and dancers: Kyi-Yo Powwow brings thousands to UM

    By Dillon Kato
    As the floor filled for the grand entrance, Native American dancers began to transition from a walk, spinning and hopping until the ground beneath them disappeared into a swirl of beadwork, feathers, staves, antlers, bone and face paint – the annual Kyi-Yo Powwow had begun with the beat of a drum.
    Bobbie White of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe fixes the hair and regalia of two-year-old Kiki Louie prior to the grand entry at the Kyi-Yo Powwow. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Bobbie White of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe fixes the hair and regalia of two-year-old Kiki Louie prior to the grand entry at the Kyi-Yo Powwow. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Muted earth tones of elders mixed with the fluorescent blues and greens of children as metal chimes rang on women’s jingle dresses during Saturday’s event at the University of Montana’s Adams Center.

    • View a photo slideshow from Kyi-Yo here

    As important as the dancers were the drum circles, led this year by host drum Standing Horse from South Dakota. David Lone Elk and his fellow drummers are responsible not only for playing in the grand entries of the dancers but also for singing the special songs and keeping the beat of the powwow.

    Standing Horse was given the honor of host drum after winning the drum competition at last year’s Kyi-Yo, the first time they had attended the event. Lone Elk said he had known about the powwow because he had listened to another drum group who had recorded their album there.

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    “I knew about Kyi-Yo long before I knew it was even in Missoula. We only found out last year when we decided to come here and found it was going to be a 14 hour drive,” he said.

    Amber Shaffer, co-president of the Kyi-Yo Native American Student Association at the University of Montana that puts on the event, said this year members put an emphasis on being more involved with the community to help drive awareness and attendance. This included volunteering at other events as well as holding more Native American-themed activities during the week leading up to the powwow.

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    “Even after so many years, it’s crazy how many Missoulians have never gone. We want to change that,” she said.

    The 47th annual Kyi-Yo Powwow is one of the oldest running student-organized powwows in the nation, Shaffer said.

    • Read the rest of the story here
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