GLASGOW – The big game general season wrapped up last weekend and a few beginning hunters were able to get out and harvest game thanks to a new mentor program.
“It was awesome, it was one of the greatest days of my life,” said Kim Selby who had just harvested her very first deer, something she has been wanting to do for 20 years.
“I was born and raised in Montana and I have become more interested in keeping the Montana traditions alive in the family,” Selby said. “And I found out about the mentorship program and it was just like exactly what I was looking for.
Members from the Highline Sportsmen took beginning hunters into the field this fall as part of a mentoring program that serves as a way to get more people involved in hunting.
“It’s been a really nice, low key program. But I think the important thing is we are putting our money where our mouth is, we are actually doing something to create more hunters,” said Andrew McKean with Highline Sportsmen.
Pursuing game in the field can be a daunting endeavor can be a challenge for any beginning hunter — regardless of age.
“You can look a lot of this stuff up, but when you are really just starting out and you don’t have much experience with wildlife it’s almost like you don’t even know what questions to ask,” beginning hunter Nick Fasciano said.
“It’s really helpful to see someone who knows what they are doing in that environment just kind of go after it,” he added.
But it’s not just the beginning hunters who find this experience rewarding.
“I didn’t think about how excited it would make me. I still like to hunt for myself and get really excited, but to hear somebody say things like ‘that was one of the greatest experiences of my life,’ yeah, I mean, very rewarding as a mentor,” Drew Henry said.
The Highline Sportsmen hope this mutual rewarding experience will inspire more mentor hunters across the state and the nation.
“We are trying to change that definition of a trophy hunter is that you taught somebody else how to do it. You have taken all of your accumulated knowledge and poured it into somebody else that’s a heck of a trophy,” McKean said.
The Highline Sportsmen hope to continue this mentor program next fall.
-Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Winston Greeley reporting for MTN News