BOW teaches women basic outdoor skills in a safe and supportive atmosphere, providing tips to be successful and confidence to go out on their own. BOW is a national program and has been conducted in Montana for 27 years by FWP with Flathead Wildlife supporting BOW workshops in the Flathead. BOW recently conducted a women’s ice fishing workshop at Pine Grove Pond. FWI Board members Roger Allick (on left) and Jim Vashro (on right) taught along with Dave Hagengruber from FWP. The women learned how to be safe on ice, dress to stay warm and ice fishing gear and techniques. Pine Grove produced as always, the women landed around 75 cutthroat and rainbow trout and went away with good memories, skills and newfound confidence.
Kendal and Shelly Bortisser moved to Montana 2 years ago, became members of FWI and quickly adopted the Montana life style. Kendal decided to take up hunting at age 58, I (Jim Vashro) was honored to accompany Kendal on his first hunts and pass along a few tips. Studies show that hunters who take up hunting later in life are more likely to stay with the sport. Kendal did things right, taking Hunter Education, a Beginning Hunting course at FVCC and talking to lots of hunters. Our first hunt was for antelope near Miles City. A group of us endured 6 days of extreme heat to snowflakes, constant high winds and even a prairie wildfire. Despite the challenges, Kendal said he enjoyed the entire experience, culminating in taking this dandy antelope after a long crawl through sagebrush and prickly pear and laying in the rain for ½ hour waiting for the buck to stand up.
Following that success, Kendal and I turned to deer hunting. Early season cold and snow quickly turned to crunchy snow, making it near impossible to sneak through the woods. Warm days made the bucks go nocturnal. Despite all that, after each deerless hunt Kendal would exclaim what a great day he had had. Kendal’s patience and optimism paid off when a friend took him on some private property after Thanksgiving. Kendal spotted this 4×4 whitetail buck and dropped him in his tracks with a well-placed shot. Welcome to the Hunting Fraternity, Kendal.
Tyler Jorgenson harvested this dandy whitetail doe in the Swan last fall using an 1898 30-40 Krag that had been used in the Spanish-American War. Tyler’s grandfather, Dale, purchased the rifle in 1964 for $27.50 and used it to shoot his first deer in 1965, a 2×2 whitetail in the Swan. Dale shot many deer and elk with the 30-40 before handing it down to his son, Duff (Tyler’s father), who shot his first deer, a 2×2 whitetail in the Swan. Last fall, 12 year old Tyler became the 3rd Jorgenson to take his first deer with the 30-40 Krag. Holding with tradition, the rifle is still outfitted with the original open sights to make it more challenging. Tyler plans to hand down the rifle to his children to Preserve the Tradition – Jorgenson style.
Jack Jay exemplifies Preserve the Tradition by fulfilling your hunting passion under extreme ideals of fair chase. Jack got bitten by the sheep bug 12 years ago with encouragement from FWP wildlife biologist and fellow hunter John Vore. Montana offers unlimited tags in some sheep units on a quota because the terrain is so challenging. Much of the Beartooth-Absarokee Plateau is above 10,000’, extremely rugged and with low sheep densities.
Over the last 12 years, Jack spent 140 days scouting, packing supplies in an out and hunting. Over time Jack endured heat exhaustion to hypothermia, high winds, rain and blizzards and even had to pack water into some areas. FWP biologist Shawn Stewart gave Jack information and encouragement and Jack met and partnered with some like-minded hunters in his quest. Some years they saw no sheep, some years only ewes and juvenile rams. Two years ago Jack’s partner Ben found two legal rams but rather than just shoot one he came back for Jack, when they returned the rams were gone. This last fall, they again found rams including two trophy rams but in an unapproachable spot. They put the sheep to bed, were up before daylight hiking back in. The sheep eventually moved to a good spot, after a long stalk through car sized boulders Ben and Jack were able to down 2 magnificent rams.
The picture shows Ben with the rams at just under 11,000’ in some incredibly rugged terrain. They still had to pack the rams and camp back out 8 miles. Jack will have to wait 7 years before he can apply again, he says he will have to think about it since he will be 80 by then.
For nearly 40 years the Flathead 4-H Shooting Sports Program has been teaching safety, marksmanship, team work and hunting skills to Flathead youths ages 9-19. The program uses air pistols, air rifles, .22s, shotgun, blackpowder and archery. The program was founded by legendary Pat McVay who also developed Montana’s Hunter Education Program. A dedicated group of volunteer instructors teach 250 to 400 youths from October through March each year at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.
Youths pay $2 per discipline per night but that doesn’t cover the cost of the program. Since this program meets so many of Flathead Wildlife’s goals for youth in the outdoors, FWI donated $1,000 to the program. The donation was made in memory of Pat McVay who passed away this year and Bernie Windauer, long-time Shooting Sports and Hunter Education instructor.
Pictured at the check presentation are (L-R) Bill Voermans, Marsha Voermans (Pat McVay’s daughter), FWI’s Jim Vashro, Program Director Dale Saverud and Don Anderson.