Silver Star Deer Hunt 2023
From the moment Caylin Gardner, Justin Menzer and Jeff McDonald met, we could tell this was going to be a memorable trip. Jeff and Justin served in the Marine Corp respectfully, while Caylin and I are former Army soldiers. With everyone from their respected combat arms backgrounds, the trash talking started in the first 30 seconds until the goodbyes Monday morning. To some, this might be considered rude or even a bit unprofessional, but from Soldiers and Marines born of the Infantry, it brings back memories of training and fighting alongside our brothers on our deployments.
As they got out of their trucks to unload gear, they were awe struck with the H Double C Ranch nestled next to the Jefferson River. Almost in unison, they all turned to gaze up at the Tobacco Roots staring down on us. This is one of my favorite moments, as new Veterans come into this landscape. The serenity of it all, leaves them speechless and this group was no different. We finished the day making sure rifles were zeroed at 100 yards, checking gear, showing them maps of the area, where they would be hunting and going over the rules for the weekend.
Saturday morning started off brisk and the search was on. That afternoon, Caylin would be the first to strike, harvesting a nice 130 inch buck. We have a competition every year to see who will get the biggest buck and he was in the running. Justin and Jeff both got their bucks Sunday morning with Jeff winning the contest. Jeff’s buck scored between 145-150 inches. A hunting guide and outfitter would later score the buck at 155 inches overall. For a new hunter, Jeff would have a story and trophy of a lifetime.
By Sunday afternoon, tags had been filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Monday morning came too fast for the guys and they weren’t ready to leave. Lifelong friendships were made easy and the H Double C ranch in all its spender was working its magic once again. The Veterans were at peace with the world, and freezers are full. Adam Bell