Mountain High 

September 15 is the opening day of general archery season, and many hunters this year will find their favorite stomping grounds off-limits due to standing fire closures. Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks is not going to change the state’s hunting seasons, but will instead allow current “land closures to dictate where hunters can or can’t hunt.”

Hunting is to some a sacrament and to others a brutal, unfair game, but regardless of your take on the matter, the season of the kill is upon us.

Some find it abhorrent: Killing, quartering and consuming the flesh of another sentient being is to some a wasteful, gutless, unnecessary act. Others find sublime joy in firing holes in gophers, deer, stop signs or any blastable object in their crosshairs. Still others take the opportunity to fill both freezer and belly with a local, organic protein bounty grown every year by Montana’s more-than-healthy deer population. It might not be pretty, or glamorous, or even very pleasant, but if you are one of the one million people choosing to live in Montana year round, you know that locally produced food supplies are pretty slim come November. For these and other reasons, Montanans have been hunting since before there was a place called Montana, and as in most cultures, the task of meat retrieval has historically been performed by males.

But like most gender-based over-generalizations, this one has changed in recent years. Women have been picking up guns and shooting critters in record numbers, and FWP has taken notice.

So if you are one of Montana’s many women who are keen on bettering their shooting and stalking skills, but less keen on doing it as the only woman in the posse, consider a “Hunter Education Course for Women” offered Sept. 9–20. FWP’s Bill Thomas says that although only 13 percent of Montana’s adult women purchased hunting licenses last year, nearly a quarter of Montana’s hunters are women.

The seven-evening program is designed to offer women “an understanding of safe firearms handling and hunting,” and ends with a two-hour field course at the Deer Creek Rifle Range near East Missoula. There’s no charge for the course, so get out there, ladies, and bring home the meat! Call FWP at 542-5500 to get on target.

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat festival rolls into Bonner Park on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. and will include a plethora of fun rides, beer and music. Last year the tour raised more than $120,000 for non-profits, and the proceeds from the $5/head festival will be donated to Missoula groups like Low Impact Mountain Bikers (LIMB), Yellow Bike and Missoula Urban Development (MUD).

One of Montana’s oldest, toughest and most competitive off-road cycling competitions will draw riders from around the region to compete in Snowbowl’s 17th Annual Hot Laps Mountain Bike Race this Sunday, Sept. 7. Register at Big Sky Cyclery (543-3331) or show up around 8 a.m. Sunday morning to register at the ‘Bowl. For high-lung capacity folks, there’s the Point Six Hill Climb, an all-uphill brute that cranks 3,000 vertical feet up Missoula’s favorite backyard ski hill. But adrenaline mainliners should consider the “2nd Thought” downhill race that’s so steep and gnarly that race officials require a “pre-race inspection” in order to guarantee that your steed of choice is up to the teeth-rattling challenge. There are professional and amateur categories, and spectators are welcome to watch (no charge) as highly-protected riders blast—and potentially yardsale—their ways across the finish line. Remember, helmets are required and dogs are banned, so call 549-9777 to get in the game.

Yaaaah, dude, check out the sick fa-huckin air! Yaaah! The über Bro-Brahs who cook up the celluloid magic at Teton Gravity Research, Freeride, Folklore and Matchstick Productions are raising the big-air bar again, bringing this season’s ski porn to the Sawtooth Film Festival at Big Mountain Resort on Sept. 6 at 9 p.m. If you haven’t checked out the latest ski/board eye candy in a while, it’s well worth your $8 to go see just how pansy-ass late 1980’s ski films like Time Waits for Snowman, or Snowonder have become. There’s never a gray day in today’s films, and no “liftline follies,” either. Just the world’s most epic riders on the world’s most epic mountains riding the world’s most epic powder days. Learn more, Brah, by calling (800) 858-5439. Dude!

Commemorating the 198th anniversary of Lewis and Clark’s 1805 trip through Lolo, the site’s lead archaeologist Daniel Hall will present Uncover History: Archaeology at Travelers’ Rest. Numerous other presentations, including tours of the former excavation site (be sure to check out the historic latrine!) as well as treats will be provided free of charge. Call 273-4253 to dig up more dirt.

Hey runners! Whitefish Physical Therapy is hosting its second annual 5k run/walk and 10k run on Saturday, Sept. 6. The lineup is at 9 a.m. at the corner of 13th and Baker, but get there early for pre-race signup. It will run you $15 per runner, with discounts for family runners and old-timers, but call the hosts at 862-WFPT for course and T-shirt information.

Send your outdoor beta to: photo@missoulanews.com

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