When we rolled in on Friday, our initial campsite looked a little...white.
We went to our backup location: Russian Flats - only an hour down a gravel road, no matter which direction you came from. Really, a beautiful backcountry place in the middle of Lewis & Clark National Forest in the Little Belt Mountains.
As folks rolled in on Friday night, Doug Krings (Region 4 Board Member) busted out an epic stash of morels for the early arrivals.
Crazy story: We ended up sharing the campsite with some guys from Wisconsin who were bear hunting across Montana. They were driving across the state, listening to the Meateater and Randy Newberg podcasts when they decided to sign up for BHA on their phones - just the day prior. They rolled in to camp right after a few of us arrived, with a cinnamon boar they'd shot up at our original campsite location. They ended up hanging out with us around the campfire Friday night, and the kids in our group got to check out the bear.
On Saturday morning, the board members in attendance held a non-quorum meeting to go over the work being done and on the horizon for MT BHA. Campout attendees also sat in and provided helpful input and ideas.
Above: Clockwise - Hannah Ryan (Board, Region 2), Jeff Lukas (MT Coordinator - BHA Staff), Tom Healy (Board, Region 1), Greg Munther (Board, MT Conservation), Doug Krings (Board, Region 4), Jared Frasier (Board Co-Chair, Region 3), Richard Hutton (Member, R3), Bill Spahr (Member, R4)
Topics covered ranged from partnerships, to Forest Plans, regulation changes, the Breaks, outreach, conservation project opportunities, and the ever important Quiet Waters meeting this Friday.
Above: Huge welcome to our newest board member, Tom Healy - representing Region 1!
After the meeting, we started up the 2017 Backcountry Olympics, in which Region 2 once again pulled win out of thin air.
Being the first team to hang a bear bag. As well all know, people from Missoula "only eat kale," so their bag was light.
Fly-casting accuracy competition
And here are some of the guys who participated in the pack climb (you had to load your pack with a 40lb jerry can filled with water, run up and around that short tree and back down - all while being timed).
It rained throughout the Olympics, so we're a bit light on photos, but here was the final tally:
Fire Starting - Region 2*
Trad-Bow - Region 2
Compound Bow - Region 3
Bear Bag Hang - Region 2
Pack Hill Climb - Region 2 (3m46s)
Fly Rod Casting Accuracy - Region 2
Spinning Rod Casting Accuracy - Region 3 <And he was a teenager!
.22 Rifle Accuracy, 50yds - Region 3
Pistol Accuracy, 25yds - Region 3
*The asterisk for Fire Starting is here upon Region 4's request.
So - congrats, despite being outnumbered, you smarmy dirtbags from Region 2 won your 2nd consecutive Golden Antler Victory!
On Saturday evening, we had dinner catered in from Lewistown. It was BBQ. It was really, really GOOD.
Following dinner, the sun came out, so we set about shooting bows, taking hikes and getting a good fire stoked for the evening.
Once it got a bit darker, we settled in around the bonfire that the boys kept going all day through the rain (seriously, Mason and Travis, bless your souls) and Jeff Lukas started up our Storytelling Bonfire.
We went around the circle and shared a personal hunting or fishing story from the last year - and we even got a great story from 25yrs ago from an international hunt that involved too much vodka, a woman dancing in a pretty red dress, that woman's lover and his cohorts (the Russian Mob), and a few of our intrepid MT hunters cast under her spell.
The stories left us in stitches and dreaming of September.
Sunday morning, we packed up and went our separate ways across the state. Some went home, but the rest either: floated Belt Creek, snagged huge paddlefish, went turkey hunting, or went bear hunting.
You know, like we all normally do.
If you missed the campout, remember, there are activities you can actively be involved in -- right in your region! MT BHA (save our stalwart Coordinator) is entirely volunteer powered - that includes the board.
Don't sit on the sidelines.
Get into the arena!