The commune along Bass Creek in Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest was founded by four close friends who moved from the Bethlehem/Allentown area of Pennsylvania to Missoula in the summer of 1968. Tom Power, Kathy Healy, Peter Rice, and Mark Dinsmore were the original four communard stalwarts. Tom had a position at the University of Montana as an Associate Professor in Economics, having recently been awarded a PhD in Economics from Princeton. Tom’s appointment was in part what drew the group to Missoula.

Location on Bass Creek

Later that year, they identified a mountain property approximately 20 miles south of Missoula in the Bitterroot Mountains…


Hunting elk from Guide Creek Saddle in the East Fork of the Bitterroot River can be both productive and frustrating. The Saddle is heavily hunted as it is above Pasture Draw and French Basin-the two places the elk roll to if there is an early snow. The private ranches at the base of Pasture Draw and French Basin are a natural reserve for the elk, and after they have migrated, you may see as many as 700 elk on those ranches from the above public lands.

In any event, there can be some good hunting through there-if you are very…


The East Fork of the Bitterroot River in Montana covers sizable hunting grounds-more than 250,000 acres of the Sula Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service. Included in the district is 41,000 acres of the 150,000+ Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness. The elk herd following the migration of elk from the adjacent Big Hole Valley (to the south and east) numbers approximately 4,000 head. It is a big herd but also a very large area to get to know.

Many hunters now think the area is over-hunted. Bull elk hunting permits are unlimited, and in 2019, 3,200 permits were issued. …


In the East Fork of the Bitterroot River in Montana, the Reynolds Creek Gate is a great jumping-off point for elk hunting early in the season.

There is a bit of a problem in that some hunters use ATVs to circumvent the road closure and go up quite a ways above the gate and rudely interrupt your hunt. Fortunately, this is not a common occurrence, but don’t be surprised.

In my experience, there are three hunts past the gate. The first is to follow the road that eventually heads toward the 7,066-foot-elevation knob between Reynolds and Lick Creeks. The difficulty…


In the East Fork of the Bitterroot River in Montana, the Reynolds Creek Gate is a great jumping-off point for elk hunting early in the season.

There is a bit of a problem in that some hunters use ATVs to circumvent the road closure and go up quite a ways above the gate and rudely interrupt your hunt. Fortunately, this is not a common occurrence, but don’t be surprised.

In my experience, there are three hunts past the gate. The first is to follow the road that eventually heads toward the 7,066-foot-elevation knob between Reynolds and Lick Creeks. The difficulty…


Institutional investors have certain basic expectations for a private equity firm, including consistent upper quartile performance, low volatility, and strong leadership. In addition, investors want to see a well-defined strategy for investment that produces demonstrable results and, moreover, differentiates the firm from others in the same market or sector.

To attract investors, firms need to have a clear competitive advantage within their particular niche. This advantage often derives from the firm’s unique processes, especially in relation to how deals are sourced and ultimately selected. After all, the success of a private equity firm largely depends on its ability to identify…


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With thousands of small middle-market private equity buyout firms in the market to raise funds, differentiating your firm is critical.

1. Due diligence

Any successful private equity firm requires rigorous due diligence practices. To stand out from competitors, firms need to figure out how they can demonstrate the quality of their due diligence and the results it has produced. It’s not enough to just describe the process-metrics are necessary. For example, how did projections for portfolio companies in market studies and investment write-ups compare with their actual performance? Firms which compare quality of earnings reports from before acquisition to post-acquisition results can demonstrate…


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In our experience institutional investors seek a certain profile of private equity firms at this end of the market:

Consistent upper quartile performance with low volatility; high volatility but well-performing funds Wil have investor questions with regard to deal section and process for the inconsitent results

Leadership, team cohesion,widely-distributed carried interest and a clear development process for team members; longevity of team tenure with modest amount of turnover preferred

Broad deal attribution within the team for successful deals and a lack of team member concentration of attribution in under-performing deals

A high quality reputation as gleaned from references provided…

Charles Rial

With more than 40 years of experience working in the field of finance, Charles McKenna Rial serves as the principal of Bass Creek Advisors, Ltd.

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