It's never too early to think about how to safely fill your freezer. Before you get locked, loaded and ready to aim at your legal animal of choice this upcoming fall, you'd better know what you're getting into. If you're not quite up to snuff on hunting safety knowledge, check this out: The Missoula office of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks presents registration for hunter education courses for anyone 11 years old and up on Thu., March 25, from 7–8:30 PM at the FWP office, 3201 Spurgin Road. Free. Classes occur April 5–28 and April 6–27, all at Big Sky High School. More classes are scheduled throughout western Montana this spring, so visit fwp.mt.gov/regions/r2 and call 542-5500.
Then set your scope on getting your paws dirty for a good cause on Sat., March 27, when you join the Missoula Restoration Volunteers and Trout Unlimited for its Rock Creek Willow Collection, which runs from 8:30 AM–3 PM at Rock Creek. Free. Here's the lowdown: You'll be collecting willows in order to plant them later in areas along the creek where vegetation is scant. RSVP and find out where to meet by contacting Graham Roy at email@example.com.
Get panting for a benevolent reason on Sat., March 27, when Friends of the Arlee School, Inc. presents its annual Buttercup Run, a race that raises funds to promote programs and projects in Arlee schools. It starts with late registration at 10 AM in front of Arlee High School, 72220 Fyant St. 10k walkers start sauntering at 10:30 AM, and 1 mile, 5k and 10k runners start heaving and breaking a sweat at 11 AM. Registration prices vary from $22 for an adult with a T-shirt, to $65 for a family of four with four T-shirts. Visit buttercuprun.com for a detailed registration form. Call 726-3335.
Alternately, you can stimulate your senses with avians on Sat., March 27, when members of the Flathead Audubon Society lead the "Freezeout Lake Snow Goose Migration: A Rite of Spring," which starts with a meet up at 10 AM at the west side parking lot of Super 1 Foods in Kalispell, on First Ave. E. Free. You'll then caravan/carpool to Choteau in order to witness the afternoon fly-out of geese, which could mean seeing 100,000 or more of those buggers. Spend the night in Choteau (and you're responsible for your own lodging arrangements, buddy), and head back out to the lake on Sun., March 28, for more avian exodus action. Call Dan Casey at 857-3143 and visit flatheadaudubon.org.
Of course, Sat., March 27, also means it's once again time to push your pedals with Missoulians on Bicycles (MOBI) when they embark on the Clinton Ramble, a 40-mile bike ride that departs at 10 AM from Missoula's Eastgate parking lot, off of east Broadway St. Free. The ride takes you from Missoula to Clinton, where the plan is to dine at Poor Henry's Bar. Call Chris Jauquet at 593-0032. Visit missoulabike.org.
Give a peak a piece of your mind and your body when you join the Rocky Mountaineers Sat., March 27, for its overnight trip to Bass Peak in the Bitterroots, which starts at a TBA time. Free. The plan is to ascend the 8,855-foot peak, either on Sat. afternoon or Sun. morning, so bring your winter camping gear, skis/snowshoes/crampons and an ice ax. Call Forest Dean at 240-7612 for a specific time to meet and visit rockymountaineers.com.
Kids give a thumbs up to animals on Sat., March 27, when the Great Bear Foundation, 802 E. Front St., presents a Wildlife Track Casting event which runs from 11 AM–2 PM. Free. The sesh includes a number of wildlife tracks for your child's perusal, as well as a chance for little beasties to make their own plaster animal track. Visit missoulachildrenandnature.org and greatbear.org.
Tell summer to screw off on Sat., March 27, during Lost Trail Powder Mountain's Third Annual Summer Sucks Skiesta Splash Down, a ski/snowboarding competition which begins with a pond skim at 1 PM at the mountain, near the Montana/Idaho border off Hwy. 93. $10 entry fee for ski and snowboard competitors/free to spectate. The competition is open to all ages, and those interested in shredding should be at the mountain by noon. The powfest also includes a big air competition at 3 PM, followed by live music at 5 PM. Visit ltpark.com.
On Sun., March 28, you are hereby cordially invited to pedal hard and stuff your face with pie during the MOBI ride to Glen's Café for Famous Pie, a 40-mile bike ride which starts at 10 AM at Montana Lil's, on the corner of Brooks and Reserve Streets. Free. You'll ride the bike trail from Lolo to Florence for this two-wheeled excursion, so call trip leader Ken Moe at 239-9754 if you've got questions.
Your mind isn't the only thing going downhill (just kidding) on Sun., March 28, during Montana Snowbowl's North Dakota Downhill, a "slide and glide" contest for shredders of all ages which starts with in-person registration at 1 PM at the 'bowl, 1700 Snowbowl Road. Free for participants. Call 549-9777 and visit montanasnowbowl.com.
And here's a quick announcement for Sun., March 28: If you're planning to participate in Missoula Parks and Rec's Run for the Trees on Sat., April 3, get thee to Currents Aquatics Center, 600 Cregg Lane, or call 721-PARK, in order to pre-register for the race and pay only $20 if you're an adult, or $15 if you're of the youthful set. Visit runforthetrees.org.
You can't puff this next herb, but you can surely appreciate it: On Tue., March 30, the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society hosts Herbarium Night with Peter Lesica, a talk on cinquefoil in Montana at 7:30 PM, in Room 303 of UM's Botany Building. Free. Visit mtnativeplants.org.
Run quickly, shoot safely, ski freely.