HELENA — This time of the year around Montana should be a state holiday given the number of hunters spending countless hours in the woods and mountains looking to fill their tags. But for some hunters, the pursuit lasts longer than a month, or even a season.
“I’ve been applying for moose tags on and off all my hunting life," said Helena moose hunter Stephanie Conrady Senn. "But since I’ve been here in Helena, for the last 27 years I’ve put in for 26 years in a row.”
Almost three decades of hoping, planning and checking until finally, she got the good news.
“I checked my email and sure enough, there was Fish and Game. So I thought I should go in and verify that it said unsuccessful. And it said successful," said Stephanie. "And I just kind of sat there like… I showed the phone to my husband, and he threw all his stuff down and jumping up in the air like, 'YOU GOT A MOOSE TAG!'"
Just like that, after 26 years, Stephanie was on the journey to achieving a dream and continuing a purist that runs deep within her family.
“I’ve been hunting since day one. My dad, brother and my son now, my daughter, everybody, we’re all hunters. It’s just been part of the family," said Stephanie. "It is what we eat. Growing up that’s what we did, and I wouldn’t take any of it back.”
Food and family have driven Stephanie to keep trying to get a moose tag year after year. And the excitement she felt after getting the news that this was her year was nothing compared to when she took the shot.
“It was emotional, I had to tell them to shut the camera off. I thanked him. My heart was pounding. I knew still the work had to be done, so it wasn’t over yet… words can’t explain it," a choked-up Stephanie told MTN News. "It was on my bucket list, so it was actually a bucket list thing for me to do.”
For all the hunters out there who haven’t had the luck of the draw, Stephanie has some advice.
“Patience, having patience, having faith in the system, which after 26 years you wouldn’t think you’d have any faith," Stephanie said. "People that say, no I’ll never get it. We’ll you’ll never get it if you don’t put in for it.”
After all, when it comes to hunting patience is often the name of the game.