Montana Wounded Warriors finished up our big game season with a trip down to the Trails End Ranch in Twin Bridges November 22-24. Josh Peppers of Lame Deer, Billy Beck of Whitefish and Anthony Embesi of Connor headed down to help the ranch thin out the whitetail population before they brought in 1,000 calves for the winter. New board member Mark Boardman coordinated the logistics of the trip for our three wounded veterans. Trails End Ranch employees Kyle Nye and Casey made sure that our hunters got lots of trigger time and came home with lots of meat for themselves and other wounded veterans.

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The vets were allowed to use their A tags for any 4 point on the ranch and then they were each allowed to get up to 5 B tags in that area for antlerless deer. The hunting was hot right from the start and the guys were able to harvest 14 deer by the end of the weekend. Kyle and Casey did an awesome job of helping our warriors get their deer tagged and loaded and then skinned out at the ranch’s skinning shack which most commercial cutters would like to have. The ranch’s “shack” was immaculately clean and had an automated lift, hot and cold running water, pretty nice. We had a wonderful time and would like to thank the owners of the Trails End Ranch and their staff for the opportunity to hunt their property and would love to hunt it again in the future if offered.

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We would also like to thank Don Frey of Frey’s Meats and Custom Cutting in Columbia Falls. We brought back quite a few of the deer shot during the weekend back to the Flathead Valley. Don, himself a veteran, did a great job of processing all of the meat and when he found out that the meat was going to help wounded veterans in the area did it all for half price, thanks Don.

Montana Wounded Warriors third trip of the year was in Dillon, MT.

This is the second year we have been blessed by the people of Dillon and allowed to bring down three of our Purple Heart veterans for an awesome hunt over the Veterans Day weekend. We would like to start off by thanking the folks who allow our wounded warriors access to their private property. The Tash’s and their neighbors Dennis Rehse and Ron Fick allowed our vets to hunt deer on property they own or manage and Jason Baker who has a duck hunting lease called Montana Mallards and showed our guys some top notch waterfowl hunting.

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Then there is the Schuett family which has some of the best elk hunting opportunity in the state with great handicapped hunting access in a fair chase setting. We use outfitters on some other hunts we do but these folks not only allow access to their land they also help guide the warriors to game on their property with no trespass fee and we want to thank them for their generosity.

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Our 3 hunters arrived in Dillon on Friday Nov 8th They were Saul Martinez of Bozeman, Tim Colvin of Helena and TJ Smith originally from the Medicine Lake area but now living in Billings. Tim and TJ both served in the 163 guard unit when deployed in Iraq and were together in the same humvee when it was hit by an IED. TJ was the driver and Tim was the NCO in command. TJ was hospitalized in country but Tim had to be airlifted to Europe. The 2 had kept in contact over the years but hadn’t actually seen each other since the attack. Saul was also deployed in Iraq and severely injured in an IED attack. We had told all 3 that this was a special place to hunt but I don’t know if they realized how great the weekend would turn out.

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Friday night the hunting was kind of slow for Tim who was hunting deer and TJ who was hunting waterfowl, but their spirits perked up when Saul came back with stories of the elk herd on the Schuett ranch. Blade, the son of the ranch owners, David and Shelly Schuett, took Saul around the ranch in hopes of getting a bull into range. They weren’t able to get Saul within range that evening but he came back telling of huge herds of elk with many legal bulls. They weren’t sure if he was pulling their leg but they started to get excited. The next morning deer hunting was slow again for Tim but TJ got lots of trigger time as Jason was able to pull in lots of ducks and geese to his spread of decoys. Then we got a call that Saul had got a bull elk and everyone was pumped.

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Saturday evening was Tim’s turn to hunt elk while TJ hunted deer and Saul shot ducks. Tim, like Saul the night before saw lots of bulls, just nothing in range. The deer weren’t cooperating so TJ’s hunt was slow and he started to wonder if there would be any elk left by the time he got to Schuett’s ranch. I tried to assure him everything would work out in the end. Sunday morning Tim got his elk while TJ hunted ducks and Saul took a break. He and his service dog had already had quite an adventure and needed a little rest. The theme of the weekend for the elk hunting was to go out in the evening see bulls get excited but no shots and that was the same for TJ on Sunday night. Saul who has only been hunting for a year and a half and has serious mobility went out for the evening deer hunt alone. Deer hunting had been very slow but just before dark a doe came out and Saul filled his B tag and field dressed his first animal.

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Monday was Veterans Day, the last day of the trip, and I had the privilege of being with TJ when he took a nice 6 point bull. His shouts of joy echoed across the valley on a beautiful Montana fall morning. TJ worries of no elk being left for him weren’t an issue at the Schuett ranch. Monday night had TJ and Saul hunting together with Dennis. TJ got a doe and Saul took his first buck, a wonderful end to a great trip. The hunting was great with 3 bull elk, 1 whitetail buck and 2 does and multiple ducks and geese going home to fill their freezers but the real story was the bond between these men, especially the two who had been wounded together and the people of Dillon who let them know how much they appreciated their sacrifice to our country. It was also a weekend of firsts. TJ and Saul had never killed an elk before and Saul got his first buck, he also got to experience a feeling that most of us take for granted. I would never go into detail about the wounds that any of our warriors received while serving but I will say the Saul Martinez has the most serious physical disabilities of any warrior I have had the pleasure of taking on one of these trips. The idea that he had the chance to go out on his own and successfully harvest an animal must have given him a great sense of accomplishment and I’m glad we could provide him that opportunity.

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I would like to extend one more thank you. Jeff Swenson of Helena is the action chair distributor in Montana. He contacted me several months ago to offer the free use of a tracked wheel chair for this hunt. Two of our vets on this trip have pretty serious mobility issues so I asked them if they would test this unit out, they agreed but I could tell it wasn’t something they were real excited about. Jeff and his wife were kind enough to deliver the unit to Dillon. We loaded it into the Back of TJ truck so it was ready to go into the field. That’s where it stayed all weekend long. Those guys wanted to prove to me and themselves that they didn’t need help getting around and that chair in the truck was all the motivation they needed. Jeff your chair may not have been used the way you intended but it accomplished its goal it got our wounded warriors out on a successful hunt, Thank You.

Fall 2013 Culbertson Hunt

January 21, 2014

Montana Wounded Warriors took two wounded Montana veterans from Great Falls on our second annual trip to Culbertson for pheasant and whitetail hunting the first weekend of November. Tsgt Aaron Evenson who served with the 22sfs, UASF and SGT E5 KC Sivumaki with F Co 2nd BN 5th Marine,USMC were accompanied by board member Justin […]

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Fall 2013 Alzada Hunt

January 21, 2014

Montana Wounded Warriors started our third year of taking wounded Montana Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan on hunting trips here in Montana with a visit to our friends at Trophies Plus Outfitters in Alzada. Once again, Mike and Ester Watkins and their staff made our wounded warriors feel welcome and Appreciated. We took four wounded […]

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Sheriff corrects naming of parties involved in Dillon accident

December 11, 2013

Many concerned parties have contacted us regarding a shooting accident in Dillon. Montana Wounded Warriors was mistakenly identified as being involved, however no one from Montana Wounded Warriors was involved. We received this retraction letter from the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s office.    The Associated Press also issued a “correction” to their story, as follows: Correction: […]

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A Successful 2013 Spring Turkey Hunt

June 15, 2013

Montana Wounded Warriors had another successful turkey hunt in the Flathead Valley this year. We took Dev Stutsman and Kyle Lockwood out the last weekend of the season and were able to get a double. The weather was a little wet but we were able to get the birds to respond to calls and they […]

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Prepared to Protect event benefits Montana Wounded Warriors

May 28, 2013

On June 8th, a special event benefiting Montana Wounded Warriors will be held in Three Forks. http://educationtofreedom.com/coming-event-june-8th-2013/ The event is hosted by Montana Tactical Firearms Instruction and will feature speaker Tim Macy from Gun Owners of America. We appreciate these organizations for what they do and for thinking of our organization and the wounded Veterans we serve. […]

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Rotary Club of Columbia Falls donates rifle, funds

January 7, 2013

The Rotary Club of Columbia Falls had its annual Rotary rifle raffle. This fundraiser helps the club support local organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, the Columbia Falls Food Bank and Montana Wounded Warriors. This year another service organization from the valley won and decided to take cash to help with one of their […]

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Fort Peck Wounded Warriors Hunt – December 2012

December 12, 2012

Montana Wounded Warriors held their second hunt of the fall at Fort Peck Montana. Board president Jesse Mann took 6 wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan on this trip. The group were hunting mule deer as well as ducks and geese with a little fishing added in for good measure. The hunt was extremely successful […]

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Veterans Day weekend Elk and Duck Hunt in Dillon

November 11, 2012

Montana Wounded Warriors final trip of the year was in Dillon, MT and to say we finished strong this year would be an understatement. I received a call from Jason Baker of Montana Mallards about getting some of our Wounded Warriors out on a waterfowl hunt on some bodies of water that he leases in […]

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