Hunting and Fishing 2018
Once again Montana Wounded Warriors had an awesome weekend in the Flathead Valley. The Flathead Valley Clay Target Club did another fantastic job with our cookout on Friday night and the trap shooting the rest of the weekend. The club provides a wonderful environment for our wounded vets to be able to relax and enjoy the company of the club members and to get in a lot of time with their shot guns. This year we had another belt buckle winner in the new shooter category. Congratulations to Dustin Anderson.
We also had our annual fishing trip on Flathead Lake with Mike Howe and his guides with Mo Fisch. The fishing was really good this year, with all three of our boats being very successful at landing multiple lake trout. It was an beautiful day to out on Flathead Lake.
Thanks again to all who made this a successful fundraiser.
Montana Wounded Warriors were invited to the Riverstone Ranch, just south of Big Timber in McLeod, MT, for a fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Three wounded warriors and their wives, Luke and Tamara Thomasson, Johnny and Ginger Byers and Reo and Michelle Phillips, enjoyed 5 days of absolutely awesome accommodations and hospitality.
After settling in on Monday, the 14th, the ranch manager, Craig Greenlee, took everyone on a tour of the ranch, showing us their different fishing holes. This was just a small taste of the adventure that was ahead.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we met up with George Anderson of Big Timber Fly Fishing. The Yellowstone and Boulder Rivers were running really high from snow melt after the long winter, so George suggested we go to a couple of smaller lakes and try our luck fly fishing for rainbows and browns. The weather was spectacular with bright sunshine and beautiful views of the Crazy Mountains. Each couple was in their own boat with their guide, who helped those not experienced at fly fishing. After a few pointers from the guides everyone hit the water. The fishing was incredible. There was constant action from the fish hitting our flies and many large fish were netted. These lakes were catch and release, so after photo ops of our vets and their wives with their fish, they went back in the water. Both days were very successful with everybody catching their largest fish ever on a fly line. This truly was a once in a lifetime fishing experience.
On Thursday, we headed up to Big Timber to take a tour of the Shiloh Sharps gun manufacturing facility. We were shown how Shiloh Sharps reproduces the Buffalo Guns of the late 1800’s. These rifles, chambered in the older cartridges including the famous 45-70, are beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. Seeing how these guns are made was just a bonus to the already awesome trip.
Then we headed down to the Natural Bridge where the winter runoff of the Boulder River comes down through a rock tunnel, and when the water is high enough, flows over the tunnel as well as through it. We hiked around and explored many angles of this incredible rock formation created by the force of water. Then we headed back to the Riverstone Lodge. After lunch, we headed out to shoot sporting clays on the lodge’s course. Everyone enjoyed the challenge in the amazing setting.
Thank you to the lodge managers, Craig and Deb Greenlee, as well as their staff for their incredible hospitality. Thank you also to George and all the guides at Big Timber Fly Fishing for the great couple of days they showed our vets on the water.
Nick Riley, of Columbia Falls, MT, contacted Montana Wounded Warriors with an offer to take our wounded veterans on a mountain lion hunt. Nick has dogs who love to run the cats, and over the years, Nick and his sons have enjoyed chasing the lions through the mountains of northwest MT. Many of our wounded vets applied for a mountain lion tag in the area where Nick hunts. Dev Stutsman was the only one who was fortunate enough to draw a tag. The first time Nick took Dev hunting things were slow and they were unable to cut any fresh tracks. The second time out was much different. They found fresh tracks and the dogs got on several different cats. Eventually the dogs were able to tree one of the lions. The first lion that was treed made things quite exciting as it leaped from the tree and began to run again. The dogs were able to get back on the trail and within two hundred yards had the lion treed again. Dev made a good shot and shot his first mountain lion and the first lion ever taken on a Montana Wounded Warriors trip. We would like to thank Nick Riley for his generosity of time and effort to make this possible. It is a hunt that Dev will remember the rest of his life. We hope to have the opportunity for more of our wounded vets to hunt with Nick for lions in the future.
Well we did it, we put our first trip in the books for the 2018 season, and it was one to remember. We were led by the awesome guide Jesse LeNeve to give the Wounded Warriors Jim Lish, Mac Vosbeck, Chad Wigley and Michael McGouldrick an ice fishing experience to remember. The men couldn’t have picked a better time to go and be hit by some nasty snow storms. The Warriors worked their butts off and gave it their best effort but several feet of snow did make it difficult. Jesse never let that stop them from having a great time. The Warriors even got a little extra time together with being snowed in at the marina and had to wait an extra day till the county could come plow the road and get them out. Fishing might not have been the focus of this great time, but the camaraderie sure was. Thank you so much Jesse for all that you did for our Montana Wounded Warriors, and thank you Warriors, for your service and making this a memorable first trip of the season.