I am humbled by the support of my clients in making this a memorable day for the kids. Friends of WyoBraska Waterfowl contributed over $4,000.00 to support the hunt.
Twenty local hunters who donated their time and pits served as guides for the kids. The Youth Hunt is not a competition. It is our way of introducing kids to the sport of waterfowling.
If you have been following the blog (and if not, why not?) you know that we have had an unusually warm winter. Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and all of Montana have been warm as well. The geese never migrated in the numbers we are accustomed to seeing. We were all concerned about the quality of the hunt for the kids. More than one volunteer guide told me a tale of woe regarding their goose hunting so far. One pit normally has harvested over 200 geese by this time and they have shot 5! Some pits have not had a shot all year. Until Sunday.
I am certain that my good friend, Tom Harpstreith, was responsible for the storm that hit Montana last week. Snow coupled with below zero temperatures for several days pushed a number of fresh birds into our area. Many pits that had not bagged a goose all year shot limits on Sunday. Every pit had shots at geese. More geese were bagged during this hunt than were harvested during the Goshen County 2-Shot Goose Tournament in December. Thank you my dear friend, I know you had a hand in the storm. The kids thank you as well.
The two hunters I had with me epitomize the purpose of the hunt. Ten year old Cade Herring had a hunting accident in December. Cade lost his thumb and little finger on his left hand to a shotgun blast. His desire to hunt and experience the outdoors has not been diminished by his accident. Joining Cade in the pit was his good friend Jared Myrtle. Cade and Jared did not want a parent to accompany them on the hunt because they wanted to experience a guided hunt on their own.
Think they were excited? The boys slept in their layout blinds the night before the hunt. How cool is that?
On the way to the Lingle pit, I explained the pit we would be hunting was Tom's favorite pit. The designated retriever for the day was Tom's Lab, Awesome, aka Aussie. Both young men were quick to grasp the significance of the honor that had been bestowed upon them. Once in the pit, Cade was informed that he was sitting in Tom's chair. His response was "I can't believe I am hunting in Tom's pit, with his dog and sitting in his chair. This is the best day of my life!" Quite impressive for a ten-year old.
The hunt ended at 12:00. Everyone gathered for lunch at The Little Moon Super Club in Henry owned by Ben Hager. Ben served on the organizing committee and guided in the hunt as well. The complimentary lunch for the hunters and parents was provided by Bret Van Rensselaer of High Plains Wingshooters. Thank you Bret. Following the lunch a goose calling contest was held for the young hunters. Brett Guth won the 14-17 year old age group and Kash Kaufman won the 10-13 year old age group. The winners were presented with Zink goose calls. The highlight of the day was a drawing for a new Benelli Black Eagle 20-gauge shotgun. This is the exact gun that Tom shot for many years. The winner of the drawing was Hannah Woster of Torrington. Hannah had to borrow a gun for the hunt. Is it coincidence that last year's winner of the shotgun also did not own a shotgun? I think not. Thanks again Tom!
We had very few geese and then there "SOME"!
Trent Tatum Photography