October Best Time to View Wild Neighbors -- Wildlife Put on Month-long Show in Montana's Missouri River Country

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October in Northeastern Montana offers excellent opportunities to spot big game and wild birds at the same time as the move from summer to winter habits. Visit the area's four national wildlife refuges to see everything from elk to black-crowned night herons.

As the air begins to cool and the leaves start to transform the landscape into a colorful wonderland, there is no denying the arrival of autumn. Many may think the year's recreational activities have come to an end, but there's one that you may overlook. October in Montana is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of majestic animals in their natural habitat, and Montana's Missouri River Country's vast expanse of wide open spaces provides the ideal fall backdrop. It's during the month of October you'll find birds migrating from summer to winter habitats at the same time as big game wander through the countryside.

Located in the northeastern corner of the state, Missouri River Country's landscape is a unique blend of rolling hills and rugged terrain. The area is home to four wildlife refuges where growing populations of elk, deer, and antelope roam alongside one another. It's also where spectators may see anything from badgers and coyotes to mountain lions, bobcats, and bighorn sheep.

Encompassing more than 1 million acres, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is the third largest refuge in the lower 48 states. The geographically diverse area is where rolling hills become the Missouri River breaks and then gradually meet the shoreline of Fort Peck Reservoir. There are wildlife stations in Fort Peck and Jordan. The interpretive center at Fork Peck starts new hours October first; they're open 10 am to 4 pm, Monday thru Friday. Visit the website at: http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=716&siteid=1

At the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, travelers can take in white pelicans and black-crowned night herons, along with 250 other species of birds through a 90 minute, self-guided driving tour through the area. The Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge has a 14 mile driving tour and a self guided hiking area. There is also a 100 foot observation tower, and visitors can look at teepee rings from decades ago. The fourth refuge is the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge; it shares three borders with the C. M. Russell Refuge and allows access to the Missouri River Breaks. Visit the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge website at: http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=715&siteid=1 ,
the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge website at: http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=720&siteid=1 ,
and the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge website at: http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=10113&siteid=1

Wildlife viewing and photography is best done in the early morning hours or in the late afternoon to evening time frame. Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks department has more tips at http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/livingwwildlife/wildlifewatching.html. For more information on Montana's Missouri River Country please visit http://www.missouririver.visitmt.com.

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