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