Re: Western Upland DIY Hunt
Never hunter Montana. But have been to Idaho (1 time), SD (3 times), ND (3 times), and IO (twice). I am planning to go to either NB or KS this year (got a new pudelpointer that I want to take out).
We hunt all walk-in or private land (after getting landowner permission - Free).
The western Dakotas are far different than their eastern portion. The Missouri is the break.
ND = pheasants, huns, and sharptails
Northern SD = pheasant, huns, and sharptails
Southern SD = pheasants, sharptails, and SOME praire chickens
I have always hunted in areas where there is the best opporunties for mixed bags. If you stay near the Missouri in both states this will be the case.
That said, you will get more shooting if you target a specific species. In other words the best pheasant areas are only marginal hun areas and usually hold little grouse. The best grouse areas are nearly void of pheasants. Etc.
Go to the state game sites. Each state will have species distribution maps. Look for areas that overlap, and cross reference these will access maps.
I can give you specific general areas via PM if you like.
I believe the winter of 2010/2011 took its toll on bird numbers in many areas.