Swan Mountain Outfitters

Swan Lake Outfitters  (2/26/08)
P.O. Box 5081
 Swan Lake, MT 59911

Swan Mountain Outfitters is a premier full service horseback based Montana Outfitter.  We offer guided hunting trips, guided fishing trips floating down Swan River or into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, summer pack trips from three to 6 days into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and trail rides in Glacier National Park and the Swan Valley


Find the best in western Montana guided hunting trips! Swan Mountain Outfitters as a big game outfitter is fortunate to have access to thousands of acres of the Flathead National Forest, in and around the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness. In addition we are permitted by the State of Montana to guide hunters and fishermen in the Swan River State Forest. Our hunting areas support a number of elk herds and ample populations of trophy whitetail deer, trophy mule deer and color-phased black bears.  We have under Flathead National Forest and Swan River State Forest more mountain lion hunting permits than any other northwest Montana outfitter.  We also offer guided moose hunts, and guided goat hunts to those hunters fortunate enough to draw special permits in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.  We offer a variety of guided hunting trips for archery and rifle hunters alike, including traditional deer and elk horseback hunts in the back country and in the front range of the Swan Mountains in outfitter camps and whitetail tree stand hunts out of our Montana guest ranch.





  Whitetail deer in Montana are typically found at the lower elevations around our base camp and throughout the Swan-Seeley Valley, you'll find them in the foothills and fields. Whitetail hunting in Montana is very different from other areas of the country. Because there is so much food and water in their natural habitat, you don't need to pattern whitetail deer in Montana in the same manner as you would in other parts of the country; there are no acorns. And we have outstanding whitetail deer hunting in Montana primarily because our whitetail deer, not being over hunted, live longer. For example, it is possible to down deer five years old or even older with much more developed racks. We consistently knock down 140 class and larger deer.






There is nothing prettier (or tastier) then a mountain Mulley and the mule deer in our area are among the best. All of our hunts are combination multi-species hunts, but what we believe we are best at is mountain mule deer. Over the years, we have produced outstanding mule deer success, with nearly every hunter going home with a great deer. In fact, in the past three years we have taken several deer with antler spread greater then 30 inches, and scores nearing 200 B&C.



  Mountain mule deer are not the same as the mule deer you will find in the deserts in other western states, or in the plains in the eastern part of Montana or elsewhere. Mountain mule deer eat different browse that result in large antler base mass, as well as deep chocolate coloration of the antlers. The mule deer grow quite large, and it is not uncommon for a deer to exceed 300 pounds in weight fully dressed out.


With exclusive access in the area where we hunt, Swan Mountain Outfitters is able to offer archers perhaps one of the most unique and best opportunities to bag an elk of a lifetime. Our elk hunting area is so remote that it takes us nearly two days to get there and is home to five distinct elk herds. We have experimented with various styles of elk hunting doing combination weapon hunts and we have landed upon an offering that delivers the ultimate archery elk hunting experience in Montana.



Archery hunting elk, requiring close proximity to the animal, is, by its very nature, quite different from hunting these animals using a rifle. Archery hunts necessitate minimizing over exposure of hunting areas as well as using outstanding calling abilities and guides who know the difference between techniques utilized for archery versus rifle hunts.



For these reasons Swan Mountain Outfitters takes only take six hunters a year on our archery elk hunts for three 9-day sessions. Our elk hunters will actually hunt 6 full days, and one half day with the rest of the time spent getting to and from the area.



The Swan Valley is home to some of the best black bear territory in Montana. We are renowned for having four different color phases of bear. In Montana, bear hunting is pure fair chase, no baiting or use of dogs, in fact we can't even use scents.  We are one of the very few outfitters that uses horses hunting for bear in the spring!


The Swan Valley is one of the few areas in the state that remains open for bear hunting until May 31st. In the spring these animals are very active, and hunters can focus on hunting bears exclusively without the distraction of hunting elk and deer. Many of our bears color phase and there have been beautiful chocolate and cinnamon colored bears harvested in the area.

Our bear hunts are seven day hunts and hunters stay in our guest cabin at Swan Mountain Ranch. The cabin has great amenities including satellite TV, hot tub, and access to the game room in the main lodge. We provide all the meals and guiding.

We don't get up at the crack of dawn as the bears rarely do. We'll hunt rockslides, search old logging roads and trails for scat and sit clear cuts. We often use horses for this hunt, if the weather has them up high or we will hike several miles a day. Since it is the Spring, hunters can elect to take some time to fish, taking advantage of our "Blast & Cast" offering either at the ranch or in any of the 60 plus streams, rivers and lakes within an hour's drive.

If you are looking for the ultimate fair chase bear hunt in the beauty of the Swan Valley in spring, this hunt is for you!



There are few states which allow mountain lion hunts and Montana has some great areas for hunting these cats. The state of Montana has recently converted to a draw permit system for lions for Regions 1 & 2, arguably the best regions in the state for lion hunting.  If you are trophy hunting designate hunting districts 102, 103, 120 or 130 as your choice in the permit application process.  If you want to go lion hunting for sure any given year, we have the exclusive permit for hunting district 132, which is still governed by a quota system.  Hunters making this choice have an outstanding chance at a great cat without having to draw a special permit. This area has not hit the quota in the last few years, but we only take a few hunters each year, so book early for this one!

Hunting for mountain lions is totally different that hunting for elk, deer or bear. Your day begins when you are awakened, perhaps as early as 3:00 am, have a light breakfast and join our houndsmen who instruct you how to "cut" a track. Tracking mountain lion involves driving through a myriad of US Forest Service, and private timber company roads, using spotlights mounted to the cat truck, and trying to eyeball a track from many yards away. Once a track is found, dogs are put on it to see if it carries a scent, if so they're off and the race is on!

It can take several hours for the dogs to find and tree the cat, and then once treed, the works begins to find the dogs and treed cat in time before it escapes. If we haven't treed a cat by 2:00 pm, we typically quit for the day, as we don't want to hunt in the dark, so hunters have the rest of the afternoon to relax, tour around the area or rest up. The weather plays a key role, since if there is no snow it is virtually impossible to cut tracks.

Hunt duration is typically 7 days, but we'll extend up to 10 days if we haven't got a hunter his or her cat. While there are never guarantees in hunting, hunter success rate with us in the past has been nearly 100%. The skill of our dogs, the quality of the area we have rights to hunt, and quality and skill of the houndsmen all play a role in our success rates at Swan Mountain Outfitters. During this time of year, we can upgrade the hunt and go for Buffalo on a private ranch, and hunters can actually ski at the local resorts before or after the hunt.



Swan Mountain Outfitters
P.O. Box 5081
 Swan Lake, MT 59911
Patrick Tabor Outfitter License #11300