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Chimney Rock Outfitters

Fair Chase Elk and Deer Hunting in Montana

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I have been fortunate in my life in many ways. I have a beautiful wife, two incredible sons, a very close knit family, and a group of friends as close as brothers. I am lucky to have a job that is rewarding and affords me great opportunities to fish and hunt. I have hunted waterfowl on the famed Eastern Shore of Maryland, black bears in the vast pine forests of Maine, mule deer in the deserts of Arizona, whitetail in the mesquite flats of Texas, plains game on the Limpopo River in South Africa and all kinds of game in my own backyard in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia. But, when my mind drifts to favorite memories, I always find myself in Paradise Valley, Montana hunting with Chimney Rock Outfitters on the O'Hair Family Ranch.

The elk camp: It is something every outdoorsman should experience in life. Ever since I was a kid I had always dreamed of going out West to hunt elk. I would read every elk hunting article I could get my hands on in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life. I tried to convince my Dad to take me but it was just never meant to be.

The O'Hair family will take you in like you are one of their own.

In 2005, on a cold and rainy morning sitting in a duck blind with my good friend, Mike, we decided we were going somewhere to hunt elk the next season. A couple days later we discovered some mutual friends had previously hunted with Chimney Rock Outfitters, run by Judy and Justin O'Hair, and before I knew it we were booking our trip. From the first moment we drove into their camp I knew I found a special place. The O'Hair family will take you in like you are one of their own. The ranch they own and other land leased spans across the most beautiful areas in Paradise Valley and the ranch is teaming with elk, muleys, and whitetail.

If you are lucky, you might spot a mountain lion, a wolf, a moose, a bear or even a mountain goat. Hiking up to the top of the Hogback watching the sun rise over the snow-capped peaks of the Absaroka Range is a sight you will never forget.

Justin and Judy go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Justin hires great guides who know the land and the habits of the elk and deer and will get your tags filled. The camp provides everything you need including hot showers and great food to keep you fueled up. The cabin provides a refuge from the weather and a warm fire to knock the chill off after a brisk evening hunt. The smells coming out of the Barbwire Bistro will draw you in. After coming in from a day of hunting, saddle up to the bar and enjoy some hot appetizers and a cold drink. My favorite time in camp is hearing everyone relate the events of the day.

Chimney Rock Outfitters is one of the reasons Montana truly is the last best place on earth.

Locale: The ranch is 35 minutes from the airport at Bozeman and is only 10 minutes from Livingston where you can pick up any forgotten gear or have supper at one of the great restaurants in town. Yellowstone Park is only 45 minutes south of the ranch and is a beautiful drive down through Paradise Valley. The O'Hair Ranch also offers Blue Ribbon trout fishing on the Yellowstone River or on Armstrong Spring Creek where you can land the fish of a lifetime.

I have been back to hunt with Chimney Rock five times since my first trip in 2006, and each year is a new experience. I killed my first bull elk and my first mule deer buck with Chimney Rock and have taken several nice bulls and bucks since then. It is not about killing a trophy for me. It is about the preparation and anticipation, the successes and the failures, the pursuit, the experience. It is addicting. If you have never been to Montana, if you have never had a bull elk bugle in your face at 40 yards, if you never felt the burn in your lungs after a long stalk, if you have never taken a nap in a high mountain meadow with the smell of sweet sage filling the air, if you have never wrapped your hands around a beautiful bull elk's rack, call Chimney Rock Outfitters today. Book your hunt. You will not be disappointed.

Chimney Rock Outfitters is one of the reasons Montana truly is the last best place on earth.

Richard Kieler
Bristow, VA