Event Recap: Montana Cabin with a Cook | June 18-20, 2021

In January 2021, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers hosted our first ever Winter Extravaganza, a 3-day live virtual event featuring stories, seminars, policy updates, fun competitions and an online auction.

The Montana Chapter contributed an experience for that auction: a Montana Cabin with a Cook!

Here's how that experience unfolded:

On Friday, the lucky winners - Logan and Karina Anderson - were welcomed to Orion's Rest, a cute little two-bedroom cabin in the Flint Range near the town of Phillipsburg, MT. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson made the long drive from eastern North Dakota, so we were sure to have some ice-cold salt and pepper martinis for them when they arrived, and then left them alone to settle in!

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Later, Montana BHA Chapter Leaders Molly Vandevoort and Scott Desena served the Andersons ground pheasant and morel mushroom potstickers with soy dipping sauce. These little dumplings were chock full of local bok choy from Two Bear Farm in Whitefish, MT and homegrown herbs and scallions from the VandeVoort’s garden. They were handmade and rolled, lightly pan fried, then steamed to piping hot perfection. For dinner our guests were served a whitetail and antelope meatball medley simmered in a massaman thai curry. The curry was spooned over jasmine rice, and accompanied by roasted Two Bear Farm broccolini and bell peppers. The VandeVoort’s chickens and garden delivered for a dessert of crème brûlée topped with fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Mrs. Anderson polished off the remaining whipped cream and strawberries for a bonus dessert!

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On Saturday, the Andersons were treated with Molly’s huckleberry scones, elk sausage and eggs before heading out for a lake fishing adventure with sack lunches featuring homemade baguettes, slathered with backyard basil pesto, and stuffed with Molly’s smoked andouille elk charcuterie and provolone cheese. The pesto was made with hazelnuts grown by the VandeVoort’s family in Dundee, Oregon. Apples, and a plethora of snacks were sent along to sustain the high-activity fun!

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That evening, while everyone shared stories about their day on the water - including Logan's first grayling and his first fish on a fly rod, and Scott and Logan identifying many friends in common - they enjoyed appetizers of crackers and Alaskan sockeye salmon spread accompanied by Two Bear Farm radish, turnips and kohlrabi. For dinner, the duo feasted on homemade Italian elk bratwursts cooked on the Traeger, then sliced up to add as a topping to fresh baked focaccia. The pizza went into the smoker till bubbly and golden. Barracudas emerged from the cocktail shaker, then the pizza was served with a garden greens salad tossed in a lemony homegrown herb dressing. For the final act of the evening, the Anderson’s were left with a huckleberry galette and vanilla ice cream, and an ice cold bottle of limoncello in the freezer. We agreed on a brunch time for the following morning and said goodnight by the campfire.

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Sunday started with Molly’s giant biscuits rising in the oven while she swapped gravy tips and tricks with Logan over a steaming pan of antelope sausage gravy. The fridge was packed with treats for the road including freshly made sandwiches for the Anderson's long journey ahead. A steady drizzle set into the mountains, symbolically telling the crew it was time to head home just as we said our goodbyes.

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Thanks to the generosity and talents of many Montana BHA members and Chapter Leaders, the auction winners had a delightful and memorable Montana experienced, as promised!

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Orion’s Rest was generously donated by BHA Life Member, Shawna Yates and Serena Brewer. Weekend hosting and kitchen help was provided by Shawna’s partner, Life Member and MT BHA Chapter Leader, Scott DeSena. All meal preparation was provided by Life Member and MT BHA Chapter Leader Molly VandeVoort and her partner, Alex VandeVoort. Signature cocktails were generously donated by Spotted Bear Spirits (Whitefish, Montana). Special thanks to MT BHA member BoLars Matson, Head Distiller at Spotted Bear Spirits and master of mixology; and MT BHA members Lark, Kristen & Brian Barbaree, who donated the delicious game bird.

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