Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Montana RMEF Youth Hunt

Montana Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation partnered with the Outdoor Dream Foundation in sponsoring a special needs youth hunt in 2018.  Jason is a 12-year old from near Atlanta, Georgia.  Jason was diagnosed with a Hypothalamic Hamartoma when he was two years old, because he was having multiple seizures a day.  He was flown from Georgia to Arizona to Barrows Neurological Institute where they specialize in Hypothalamic Hamartoma brain tumor surgery. By age seven Jason had two brain surgeries and radiation to treat the tumor. Since then he has been seizure free. But the side effects from the tumor and treatment has left him with weakness on his left side, limited vision on his right side and hypothalamic obesity.

Jason and his father Shane flew in to Missoula on November 4.  The Five Valleys Chapter of RMEF gave them a tour of the RMEF Visitor Center, and then they settled in for the night at the Hilton Garden Inn which graciously donated their room.  Dinner was courtesy of a gift card from Park Side Credit Union. 

On November 5th, there was a quick stop to pick up their rental car which was donated by Dollar Rent A Car, followed by getting some groceries for the week.  Finally they were on their way to a hunt in Bitterroot River valley near Darby, MT.  They arrived late morning at the Darby Bed and Breakfast and checked in.  They also met up with Gene, the videographer for the Outdoor Dream Foundation.  A quick lunch followed by sorting through gear to get ready for an afternoon hunt on the CB Ranch.

They met with CB Ranch staff to discuss the ranch and hunting plans, and did a quick check to make sure Jason's firearm was still sighted in.  The crew was off and it wasn't long before a group of bulls were spotted.  Jason got situated and made a great shot at about 200 yards and harvested a dandy 5-point bull.  Handshakes, photos and good times followed, and the elk was taken back to the ranch.  A pretty exciting and successful first day.  That night, and the next few nights, they kicked up their feet and eventually hit their pillows at the Darby Bed and Breakfast.

The next morning it was off to see if they could find a whitetail.  The rut was just starting so it wasn't long before they found a buck and Jason made another great shot.  Two days and two animals harvested. Can't beat that and way to go Jason!

The animals were taken to Lost Horse Custom Cutting for processing.  Jason and his Dad took back the loins, but the rest was donated to the Darby Bread Box, which is the local food bank.   The capes and antlers were taken to Glacier Furs for taxidermy. 

A few more days doing some relaxing and sight-seeing, and hanging out on the CB Ranch rounded out the trip.  Then it was back to Georgia where Jason will recount his  stories and relive the memories again and again.  And of course, to eat some mighty fine meat as well. 

Montana RMEF wants to thank the CB Ranch for hosting this hunt which is a wonderful opportunity for a youth with special needs to have an awesome experience.  We also want to thank the Outdoor Dream Foundation for partnering with us in putting on this hunt.  We also wish to thank the Hilton Garden Inn, Dollar Rent A Car and Park Side Credit Union for their donations and the Darby Bed and Breakfast for providing their services at a reduced rate.  Kudos to Lost Horse Custom Cutting and Glacier Furs for providing assistance on the meat processing and taxidermy.  Finally, we want to acknowledge the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and their program of providing a complementary deer and elk license for youth with these types of health issues.     

Jason summed things up by saying "Thank you everyone for making this dream of mine come true!"

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