Some good news came on Saturday for my two oldest sons, Joe and Andy. First, they both got their youth tags for elk and deer hunting in Montana this fall. The state issues them to youth under age 18 and the boys got them for the second year in a row. Like last year, we will be going out west the week of Thanksgiving.
Both Montana residents and nonresidents are eligible for the youth licenses, provided they have a resident sponsor. Their grandfather, Bob Guditis, lives in Great Falls and filled out the necessary paperwork and sent it to us. The tags went on sale March 1 and were available first come, first serve. He was concerned they might get taken in a short period of time, especially when the state reduced the number available this year.
So, it was a nice surprise to get them in the mail on Saturday. An even bigger surprise was when Joe got word that same day that he had won first place in an essay contest sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of Safari Club International. His prize will be a $2,000 trip to a youth hunting camp in Texas at Indianhead Ranch in Del Rio. Part of the package is a chance to shoot an exotic animal at the camp. Joe is very excited about the trip.
The Safari Club started its Apprentice Hunter Program in 1992 as a way to help educate and train youth in outdoor skills. Topics covered include environmental education, wildlife management and conservation. I suspect this camp will produce wildlife managers someday. Perhaps, Joe will be one of them.