Snipe Hunt Doesn’t Disappoint

Spring brings many firsts and rituals that many outdoor enthusiasts look forward to -- the first robin, bluebird, meadowlark or shooting stars.  

A recent effort to film and photograph one of these spring rituals – greater sage-grouse displaying on a lek – turned into a bit of a snipe hunt.  

Photo. Sagebrush-prairie landscape at dawn. Mountains on the horizon. Blue skies, sun rising behind thin clouds tinted in orange hues.
Better arrive before dawn if you want a chance to catch the snipe – uh, sage grouse – out on the lek. First lek – not a grouse in sight, but a STUNNING sunrise was worth the early start. BLM photo by Gina Baltrusch.

We never quite caught them on film, thanks to a gorgeous (yet, unwelcome) golden eagle swooping the lek and scattering the grouse just as we were setting up camera gear and spotting scopes.   

Even so, getting outdoors in the Montana Hi-Line is never a disappointment when there are so many beautiful and amazing things all around you.  

Photo. Two pronghorn antelope run across a dirt road through a sagebrush prairie landscape. Mountains in the distance. Clear, blue skies.
Pronghorn antelope are a frequent sight on the Montana prairie. BLM photo by Gina Baltrusch.

Enjoy these photos from our trip through the northern prairie landscape of Montana.

Maybe you’ll find and catch that snipe!  

Despite the commonly accepted “facts” of snipe hunting, you just might hear or see one if you listen in the early morning or evening around wetlands. Snipe are a real bird common in Montana.

Three photos of male sharptail grouse in various poses of mating dances on the lek. As viewed through a spotting scope.
Third, and final, lek on our excursion. Yippee! Not the elusive greater sage grouse we were after, but equally entertaining sharptail grouse. Feet-stomping and spinning whirling dervishes with wings spread as they show off to attract a mate on the breeding ground. BLM photos by Gina Baltrusch.

Check out Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks’ website for more information about sage-grouse – and the infamous, elusive snipe and  

Learn more about the BLM’s Hi-Line Sagebrush Anchor Restoration Landscape --  

Matt Comer, Hi-Line Sagebrush Anchor Restoration Landscape Project Manager

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