Hands wrap around the base of my horns and give a slight tug. Being pulled from the ground is like a birth of sorts. Parts of me are stark white than have been buried and protected- but I can feel the green moss that blankets my horns dislodge with the movement. Abruptly I feel the grips of the earth loosen and I am free. I sit in a lap of crisscrossed knees and stare into a face tinged with awe and joy. I was a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep ram.
When you hear about a deer camp in Montana, what comes to mind? You probably think about tents, cold weather, hiking many miles looking for deer, hunting hard during the day, skinning, quartering and packing out harvested deer, camp food, stories told around the tent at night and the hard work that goes into it all. You can picture it all in your mind because you have either been there, or you’ve heard stories. Now picture that same scenario, but picture this deer camp full of women, and only women.
At 64-years old, Dave Born never thought it would actually come to this; to have to hike a couple of miles and crawl his way through 100 yards of prairie just to conceal himself behind some abandoned farm equipment in the hopes of sending a 150-grain bullet into one of the 60 pronghorn feeding in the field below. Behind him, his sons smiled. He had made the hike, as they knew he would. Despite his bad knees, he also covered the 100-yards to the old thresher. Once he brought the rifle to his shoulder, there was never a doubt that he wouldn’t make the shot. The boys just needed to get him there.
"As a gay man, hunter and angler, I’ve long felt I’m a member of two disparate communities - with membership in one preventing me from 'coming out' to the other. About 2 weeks ago was the first time I experienced belonging in both when Hunt to Eat sent me to the LGBT Outdoors Summit to host a workshop with CEO Mahting Putelis entitled “Hunting for Acceptance.”
Ever since I can remember, my Dad, brothers, and I have loaded up the truck and made the 4.5-hour drive to Eastern Washington for the September 1st Opener. This year I was able to bring my son along on our annual trip. I guess I should specify what species. We make the nearly 300-mile drive for… Grouse! Yes, you heard that correctly. We spend a day’s travel in hopes of bagging a handful of chicken sized fowl. But to us, its well worth the price of gas, and I’ll try and capture why.