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Big Game Photo Safari in
Western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

$2,750.00/person     6 days 5 nights
November 4 – 9 & November 11 - 16

Jim Kern, owner & operator of The Emu Outfitting Co and Jim Kern Photography will be hosting two 5 day photographic safaris for Big Horn Sheep and Rocky Mountain Mule Deer on private ranch land in western Montana’s famous Bitterroot Valley.  Participants will stay at Skalkaho Lodge & Steakhouse, located approximately 45 minutes south of Missoula in the rolling sagebrush foothills of the Sapphire Mountains.  The Big Horn Sheep and Mule Deer migrate out of the high country in late October each year into these sagebrush hills to rut and spend the winter.  It is not uncommon to see 40-50 Mule Deer each day including bucks up to 200 Boone and Crocket as well as an equal number of Big Horn Sheep with Rams that will score upward of 180 Boone & Crocket!  It is not unusual to be able to photograph these animals within 25 to 50 yards, often from the bed of the pickup.  The Mule Deer and Big Horn Sheep pictures shown in the “Jim Kern Photography galleries” and on this page were all taken in the fall of 2009 during a 2 week period using a Canon 70 x 200 2.8 IS lens with a 1.4 or 2.0 extender.  The Mule Deer bucks and the Big Horn rams are virtually oblivious to the world around them when they are in rut and “putting the full court press” on the females of their species.  It is not unusual to see Golden Eagles hunting in the sagebrush hills, Bald Eagles fishing in the trout pond on the ranch, as well as ducks & Canadian Geese. 


The many acres of private ranch land we will be utilizing for these safaris are accessible by 4 wheel drive truck and 4 wheelers, thus limited mobility of participants is not a problem.  We will leave the lodge at daylight each morning by 4x4 vehicles, returning around 11:00 am for lunch and to work on your photographs and Lightroom applications.  We will go back into the field around 3:00 pm, returning to the lodge at dark for supper and the night.  Your guides, Jim Kern and John Rose, have over 70 years of guiding experience and have in depth knowledge of the habits of the Mule Deer and Big Horn Sheep allowing guests to get in the best positions possible for those outstanding photographs. Yes, this is during the hunting season in western Montana, although there will be no hunting on the private ranches where we will be photographing. 


Guests will stay at the modern Skalkaho Lodge that offers many square feet of outside decks for viewing the beautiful Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountains. Meals are provided with guests eating off the menu at the onsite Skalkaho Steakhouse run by John & Sandy Rose.  Accommodations are based on double occupancy. The ranch has a private 1 acre pond stocked with Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout should you wish to relax during in the middle of the day.


We will be in Montana for 2 weeks in early November of 2010, offering two different trip dates, November 4 – 9 & November 11 - 16.

Day 1    Guests will arrive in Missoula and be met and transported to the lodge and
              be in the field for an afternoon photo shoot.
Day 2    Photography
Day 3    Photography
Day 4     Photography
Day 5    Photography
Day 6    Guest will photograph in the morning and be transported back to the 
              Missoula airport in the late morning.

Trip price $2,750.00/person
6 days 5 nights  Max 4 people/time frame.

Food, lodging, guides, R/T transportation between Missoula, Montana
airport & the lodge, ground transportation during trip, 6 day photo safari

Does Not Include:
Transportation to & from Missoula, Montana; liquor, photo equipment, items of a personal nature, gratuities.

Additional Photography Opportunities:
   The sunset and sunrises of the Bitterroot Valley are some of the most beautiful you will find in the lower 48 states.  The Bitterroot Valley is bordered on the east by the Sapphire Mountains which offer beautiful sunrises and on the west by the rugged majestic Bitterroot Mountains offering spectacular sunsets.  The Bitterroot River flows from the old west town of Darby on the south end of the Bitterroot Valley to Missoula on the north end of the valley.  In early November the Cottonwoods are in their vivid yellow-orange fall colors offering spectacular vistas for the photographer.  We offer float trips on the river in 12 ft compartmentalized rafts with comfortable seats allowing guests to photograph the awesome fall river scenery as well as enjoy some of the great fishing the Bitterroot River is known for during your photo safari……at no additional cost other than the price of the fishing license!