In addition to their daily work and public service, the Montana Game Wardens Association is involved in numerous additional events and community activities throughout the year. These events and community activities include:
- Kids Fishing Day
- Check Station Assistance
- Special Olympics--- The MGWA sponsored the Special Olympics Torch Run in 2009
- Hunter Education Classes
- Water Safety Classes
- Montana Game Wardens’ Association Youth Camp,
- Tyler Youth Hunt,
- Miss Teen Rodeo Montana,
- Thank Game Wardens,
- Fishing Without Barriers Day,
- Making Wishes Come True
Photo of the top four shooters in the first class at Camp Make a Dream.
85 Anglers With Disabilities Brave the Rain at Special Flathead Lake Fishing Day
By MTFWP , 06-16-11
An angler (left) is proud of the lake trout he caught on Matt McComb’s (right) MoFish Charter Boat, June 16, 2011 (FWP Photo)
Rain fell continuously today on the 18th annual Fishing Without Barriers Day on Flathead Lake. But the wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the 85 anglers with disabilities, who spent hours on boats fishing for lake trout. The anglers ranged from 7 to 87 years old, and most of them went out on boats in the face of rain and rough water, eager to catch a lake trout. Although only two 3- pound lake trout were caught, anglers and boat captains enjoyed the day and renewed friendships from previous years.
Anglers fished from Montana Charterboat Association boats and private craft. Only 11 boats were available this year and anglers waited patiently for their turn to fish. Anglers hailed from the upper Flathead Valley, Kalispell, Polson, Ronan, and as far away as Missoula.
At a post-fishing barbeque, about 200 people, including anglers, helpers, and family members, enjoyed a gourmet luncheon. Barry Schrammeck of Woods Bay RV Park and Campground provided the facility for the barbeque. Doug Averill and Jim Frissell made available Hidden Harbor where boats were launched. The Montana Game Wardens Association served as a major sponsor. Jerry Howard of the FWP Crossing the Barriers Committee organized the food, donations, and other aspects of the event. He also baked 40 dozen chocolate chip cookies, which have become an event trademark.
Charter Boat Captains included Brent Persinger of Flathead Lake Charters, Jerry Landskron of Woods Bay Charters, Dusty Bagley of Dusty Bagley Charters, Jim Landwehr of Glacier Fishing Charters, Matt McComb, Bob Orsua, and Tom Cobianco of Mo Fisch Charters, and Mike Howe of A-Able Charters. Other Boat Captains included Dan Hartwell, Jens Gran, and Bob Seccombe.
Those donating to the event included: Montana Game Wardens Association, Sportsman and Ski Haus, Flathead Lake Lodge- Doug Averill, Glacier Bank, Flathead Beverage, Super 1 Foods, Coke, Pepsi, Bigfork Nursing Home, Flathead Valley Orthopedic Center, Farm to Market Pork, Bigfork IGA, Meadow Gold ice cream, Costco, Woods Bay Market, Smiths, Frito Lay Chips, Meadowgold, Snappys Sport Senter, Farm to Market Pork, Tri-State Restaurant Supply, AMVETS Riders 770, Sue Crawford, and Steve and Mary Hoffman.
The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Crossing the Barriers Committee coordinated the event. Jerry Howard serves as chairman and main organizer. Other volunteers included Ilene Howard, Jim Landis, Katie Landis, Jeff Rach and many others. Also helping out were FWP’s Garland Hamilton, Ben Chappelow, Chuck Bartos, Lee Anderson, Perry Brown, Nathan Reiner, Brian Schwartz, Wes Oedekovan and many others.
The Fishing without Barriers Day is held annually to provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to get out on Flathead Lake and enjoy fishing with the experts. For many of the anglers, it is their only fishing experience for the year.
Wardens fix'n fence
Wardens fix'n fence this past Saturday Joe Kambic put together a crew of
Sportsmen and Wardens to help landowner Don Ueland of Anaconda area. Don is
a Block Management Cooperator and he puts up with hundreds of elk and
sometimes even more hunters. The fence is a continual maintenance issue for
him. We pretty much had elk watching us the whole time from his fields,
nervous I might add. Anyway hats off to Joe for putting this together and
encouraging good relations between FWP, landowners and sportsmen. FWP crew
Schwalm, Kambic, Ramaker, Singelterry, Darrah. The MGWA bought lunch thanks
to them for the pizza. The newspaper was there should be in the paper this
Montana Game Wardens’ Association Youth Camp 2010
This September the Montana Game Wardens’ Association (MGWA) conducted its first annual youth camp. The camp was held at the Big Sky Bible camp in Bigfork Montana. The first camp was accompanied by 7 youth and all agreed that it was well worth the time. Youth arrived on Friday night and stayed thru Sunday. Each participant spent the night in genuine outfitters wall tent fitted with wood stoves and cots. September weather in Bigfork is chilly in the morning and hot during the day so the wood stoves were a welcome addition.
The focus of the MGWA youth camp is to expose youth to outdoor activities. The kids got to go fishing, camping, and hiking. Survival skills were a major part of the day on Saturday. The kids learned how to build a fire with more than just matches, build a survival shelter, and prepare a survival kit. The Big Sky Bible camp provided food as well as a ropes course and zip-line.
There was lots of unstructured time for the youth to decide what they wanted to do for activities. Most were interested in honing their survival skills. Every night there was a campfire and smores were eaten and jokes were told. The camp was a big hit for both youth and adults alike.
The 2010 MGWA Youth Camp was conducted by off duty game wardens from northwest Montana. Youth participants were from the Big Brothers and Sisters program in Flathead County. The camp was fully funded by dues paid to the MGWA from game wardens across the state.
Tyler Youth Hunt
While watching KPAX news one evening, Warden Lou Royce saw a story about a 14 year old young man named Tyler Hennes, of Stevensville, who was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in May of this year. Warden Royce checked the ALS database and discovered that Tyler had just purchased his Elk license a few weeks before he found out about the cancer. Warden Royce knew that the CB Ranch in Darby, owned by Craig Barrett, allows some youth and disable people to hunt antlerless elk on the ranch. He contacted the ranch manager, Jeff Snavely, and employee Brian Schlapman, who wanted to help Tyler with a chance to harvest an elk. They contact Craig Barrett, who said that he wanted Tyler to be able to harvest a bull elk instead of a cow.
While the hunt was coming together, Tyler’s had some complications relating to the cancer and had to have his leg amputated in early October. Warden Royce helped Tyler get a permit to hunt from the vehicle in case he was unable to walk to go after the elk.
On October 30th, Tyler and his father Josh met Warden Royce, Snavely, and Schlapman for Tyler’s hunt. The CB Ranch contacted several local people and businesses to help make Tyler’s day even more special. They secured a lot of hunting equipment, donations for the meat processing and taxidermy work, and money for Tyler. The CB Ranch also informed Tyler that they would allow him to shoot a whitetail buck. That morning Tyler made a perfect shot on a large 6x5 whitetail buck from the vehicle. Later in the day, Tyler shot a nice 5x5 bull elk. Tyler and his father, and everyone involved, were extremely happy.
August 30, 2010
Being Miss Teen Rodeo Montana (MTRM) has been and continues to be the ride of a lifetime. I want to take this time to thank you once again for your support which has allowed me to travel our state serving as an ambassador for Rodeo and the Western Way of Life. I could not have possibly imagined the many opportunities I have had the privilege to experience.
This past summer my horse digger and I were a part of well over a dozen rodeos, county fairs, main street parades and public events all across Montana. I will never forget the pride and excitement I felt on July 4th, carrying the American flag around the Livingston arena. By the time our National Anthem had concluded, we were going flat-out as fast as digger could carry me with the crowd cheering at a deafening roar. Wow, I still can’t believe I got to do that!
I’ve had the chance to visit with our Senators and Representatives, business leaders and teachers from all across Montana. I have had the pleasure to speak with so many young Montanans about setting goals, maintaining high morals and keeping their dreams alive. I have humbly learned very valuable lessons from visiting young and old in hospitals along the way. I am a very lucky girl.
Today I am attending my first classes at Montana State University in Bozeman, majoring in Marketing. I will continue my travels as MTRM 2010 until my rein ends in mid January. I fully intend to pursue the opportunities made available through the Miss Rodeo Montana Program. My next goal is to compete in a couple years for the title of Miss Rodeo Montana, eventually competing for Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas. For now, I have my first college math homework.
Take care and thank you so much for believing in me.
Miss Teen Rodeo Montana 2010
MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Special Flathead Lake Fishing Day Attracts Nearly 100 Anglers With Disabilities
Jerry Landskron of Woods Bay Charters holds a 39-inch lake trout caught by an angler on Fishing Without Barriers Day (#10).
By MT FWP , 06-10-10 The 17th annual Fishing Without Barriers Day on Flathead Lake came off successfully today with mixed sunshine and clouds. About 100 anglers with disabilities caught about 65 lake trout ranging from a few pounds to more than 25 pounds in weight. The two largest lake trout measured 39 inches in length. One angler planned on getting a 39-inch, 25 pound trout mounted. Many of the lake trout were filleted and included in the fish fry. A number of “slot fish” ranging from 32-34 inches were caught and released.
Anglers fished from Montana Charterboat Association boats and private craft. At the barbeque, about 250 people, including anglers, helpers, and family members, enjoyed a gourmet luncheon and fish fry. Anglers hailed from the upper Flathead Valley, Kalispell, Polson, Ronan, Eureka, and as far away as Missoula.
Barry Schrammeck of Woods Bay RV Park and Campground provided the facility for the barbeque. Doug Averill made available Hidden Harbor where boats were launched. The Montana Game Wardens Association served as a major sponsor. Jerry Howard of the FWP Crossing the Barriers Committee organized the food, donations, and other aspects of the event. He also baked 40 dozen chocolate chip cookies, which have become an event trademark.
More than 20 boats were provided to host anglers. Charter Boat Captains included Brent Persinger of Flathead Lake Charters, Jerry Landskron of Woods Bay Charters, Jim Landwehr of Glacier Fishing Charters, Jess Michelson of Flathead Lake Cruises, Matt McComb, Bob Orsua, Mike Howe, Tom Cobianco, and others of Mo Fisch Charters. Doug Averill provided a boat from Flathead Lake Lodge. Other Boat Captains included: Dan Hartwell, , Gary Lapka,, Chuck Williams, Jess Michelson, Jens Gran, Jerry Mahugh, Willie McNeill ,Daryle Handy, Bob Seccombe, and Jim Vashro. Many other volunteers assisted the boat captains with the anglers.
Those donating to the event included: Montana Game Wardens Association, Sportsman and Ski Haus, Flathead Lake Lodge- Doug Averill, Glacier Bank, Apple Barrel, Fun Beverage, Super 1 Foods, Coke, Bigfork Nursing Home, Flathead Valley Orthopedic Center, Bigfork IGA, Costco, Woods Bay Market, Smiths, Frito Lay Chips, Meadowgold, Snappys Sport Senter, Farm to Market Pork, and Safeway.
The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Crossing the Barriers Committee coordinated the event. Jerry Howard serves as chairman and main organizer. Other volunteers included Ilene Howard, Frank Landis, Jim Landis, Katie Landis, Heather Fraley, Troy Fraley, Brock Reiner, Joe Hagengruber, Karyn Jones, the staff from the Lakeview Care Center, and many others. Also helping out were FWP’s Jim Vashro, Garland Hamilton, Chuck Bartos, Matt Heaton, Lee Anderson, Perry Brown, Ben Wiersma, Nathan Reiner, Dave Hagengruber, and many others.
Jeff Rach and the Badrock Canyon Band provided bluegrass music for the event. Band members included: Jeff Rach (banjo); Todd Noble (Guitar); and Steve Kendrick (base).
The Fishing Without Barriers Day is held annually to provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to get out on Flathead Lake and enjoy fishing with the experts. For many of the anglers, it is their only fishing experience for the year.
Group makes wishes come true
By Elaine Forman
Mitchell Schmitt, 17, saw a group of about 15 mule deer when he brought down the biggest buck of the group, a 3x4 buck.
“For us, that was a trophy,” said his father Kevin Schmitt. “He’s never gotten one before.”
That was Oct. 25, when Mitchell came to Miles City to hunt mule deer. Living in Dubuque, Iowa, he has plenty of opportunities to hunt white tail deer but they have no mule deer. But there is more to the story...
Mitchell, his dad and his brother Peter, 23, are the first guests of Miles City’s Kippenberg Creek Kids, a non-profit organization that helps make dreams come true for kids with life-threatening illnesses.
The family returned for a second trip. On the first trip, his father said, “The biggest reason (we’ll return) is because I’ll get to hunt!” Kevin and Peter did not hunt the first time because the trip was planned for Mitchell. “Basically whatever he wanted to do, they wanted to do,” Kevin said of the organizers.
Mitchell has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.
Kippenberg Creek Kids
Kippenberg Creek Kids started in Gleason, Wisc., seven years ago, when Larry Beyer and a brother lost a relative. When the boy, 16, died, they regretted never taking him hunting, which was his dream. They realized they wanted to make adventures possible for other sick children.
They work to make any adventure possible, especially - but not limited to - those related to hunting, fishing, ATV riding, camping, and snowmobiling.
Dennis Barlog had worked with Kippenberg Creek Kids, and when he moved to Miles City he knew he wanted to start a local chapter.
This year work got underway to start two chapters: the one in Miles City and another in Willow, Alaska.
Once Barlog and Beyer put the word out last spring, they found people who wanted to help by offering services, land, volunteering or contributing financially.
None of the people in the organization benefit from any of the donations.
Mitchell was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia on May 21, 2007. He was one of just six pediatric patients in the world diagnosed with it in 2007. Since the disease is so rare, there is no data of its effects on kids. It is more common in the elderly.
One day Mitchell noticed his stomach was hard and it was discovered that his spleen, usually the size of a fist, was the size of a watermelon. The spleen normally sits under the rib cage, but his extended down to his hip. His white cell blood count was 386,000 (4,000 is normal).
The condition gives him “a super immune system,” which is why he feels good, but it also can cause his blood to become thick like jelly and cause a stroke.
In five days, Mitchell’s spleen was back to normal but he wasn’t cured, and it could happen again.
Peter explained that when the spleen enlarges it can rupture.
Mitchell said the organ is like a sponge and cannot be sewn up very well.
Fortunately he has felt no pain and only has to take one pill a day for his treatment. There are no invasive treatments. The only side effects he has had are that his hair became curly and his teeth are sensitive.
“We’re very lucky, because Mitchell basically takes a pill and is fairly healthy,” Kevin said.
“I’ve seen kids that are 3 years old and have gone through a lot more than I have,” Mitchell said.
He doesn’t have much energy so he doesn’t compete in sports in school, but he can still hunt and fish.
He has been able to enjoy several opportunities that cater to sick children.
Being around other sick children has made Mitchell feel guilty he doesn’t have discomfort, but that doesn’t minimize the seriousness of his disease.
As of last August there are no leukemia cells and he is in full remission but he won’t be cured until he gets a bone marrow transplant. The transplant could be life-threatening (he has a 5-10 percent chance of not making it).
Since he is doing well now, he will be monitored, but once the illness returns, they will have to consider the transplant.
His sister Rachel, 21, is a complete match.
“It’s a step in the right direction for a full cure,” Kevin said.
Mitchell was invited to Kippenberg Creek Kids in Wisconsin to hunt bear. Then they asked if he would like to hunt mule deer in Montana.
The Schmitts stayed at Comfort Inn, which donated a room, and ate at Airport Inn and Rib and Chop House, which both donated meals for the family.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park donated one of three “exceptional use tags” given out ever year for elk and deer.
The tag is a lifetime opportunity for Mitchell. He will never be able to get it again. It is good through to the end of November.
The Montana Game Warden Association paid for the waterfowl stamp for Mitchell.
Kippenberg Creek Kids paid for the family’s gas to get here and will refuse any donation the family attempts to make. The organization feels families with sick children are already dealing with enough.
“People who like the outdoors have been very supportive. Kippenberg Creek Kids go out of their way to give them the experience (the kids) may not have,” Kevin said.
The adventure was a big success and the Schmitts are eager to come back to Miles City again.
Why? “’Cuz it’s awesome!” Mitchell exclaimed.
He went on to say that the hospitality, the terrain, abundance of wildlife were great.
“The terrain is a lot different than back home,” Peter said.
“It’s a lot more fun,” Mitchell added enthusiastically.
Because there is a larger population where they live and there isn’t a vast amount of open space there, hunters aren’t allowed to use high-powered rifles, just muzzleloaders and bows and arrows. Mitchell enjoyed using the high-powered rifle. Here he used a 270 caliber Remington.
The first day of the adventure, Mitchell was able to get his mule deer on Justin and Shasta Madsen’s ranch in the Stacy area.
Mitchell thought mule deers are funny “because they bounce around like a little rabbit. Here comes this big, huge buck — and they prance,” he said.
Mitchell had hoped to hunt a bull elk, which the Kippenberg crew was trying to make happen in Bozeman, but elk did not come down the mountains in time. Locally he could only get a cow elk tag.
While waiting to see if the Bozeman trip would happen, they cleaned the deer and processed the meat. Barlog made jerky on the second day, and the Barlog family made dinner for the Schmitts.
The following day they took Mitchell goose and duck hunting and in the afternoon they went pheasant hunting. Mitchell was able to get two ducks, three geese and three pheasants when the day was done.
The hunt was filmed to help promote the program. The film has been shown in Wisconsin and they are looking for a way to start showing it in Montana.
The group had tried to make it possible for Mitchell to go prairie dog hunting and his eyes lit up everytime the subject was brought up, but they ran out of time.
Mitchell and his father returned for Thanksgiving, along with Kevin’s dad, Ronald Schmitt, to hunt elk.
Barlog said they went to Gardner and had the opportunity to go up in the mountains by horseback.
Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters donated the use of the horses and took the group on the adventure.
“Ninety percent of elk hunters never get to get up into the mountains on horseback,” Barlog said.
When they could not find any elk they went to the Red Lodge area, and hunted on the Lazy E-L Ranch.
After a full-day there, they were able to “move” elk but never got the opportunity to get a shot off.
“It’s just too warm. They are not coming down off the mountain,” he said.
Absaroka Lodge donated a room in Gardner and the Alpine Lodge donated a room and gave a deep discount on a second room in Red Lodge.
Despite not being able to bring an elk home, they had another great adventure and a great time.
How it All Comes Together
During the first trip, people and businesses that helped make it possible (through donations or volunteering) included: Stinson Ranch; Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Montana Law Enforcement Agency, Pat and Lori Linger, Bryan Holmen, Comfort Inn, Airport Inn, Rib and Chop House, and more.
“It would not have been possible without the hospitality of the great people of eastern Montana. We look forward to lots of good years out here in Montana fulfilling dreams of kids,” Barlog said.
“This is really beyond my expectations,” Barlog said of the first adventure.
“It’s really, really a Class A operation. I have no complaints. I wouldn’t change anything that has happened so far,” he said.
“Neither would I!” said Mitchell.
In the future, Kippenberg Creek Kids hopes to have four cabins throughout Montana for children to use.
The first lodge is expected to be built in the next few years.
Throughout Montana they will be able to provide other adventures, such as floating the river, snowmobiling, skiing, and dinosaur digs.
“Montana is pretty much limitless,” Barlog said. “Hunting is not our specific goal. Whatever dream they have of Montana, we’ll provide.”
On the Board of Directors are Barlog, Ben Holmen, Jamie Barlog, Jim Sanderson and Ken Stein.
Locally the group may have an auction, golf outing and concert to raise money for the event. They always accept donations and are looking for a couple acres to build a cabin, and new ideas of activities to offer.
The non-profit group pays for the family’s traveling expenses and any costs that occur on the trip. No one working for Kippenberg gets paid anything.
“We are doing this to supply dreams and not gain,” Barlog said.
“The nicest thing about Kippenberg Creek is that it’s for the whole family. To be able to come out here with the two boys — it makes it pretty special to me,” Kevin said during the first trip.
Beyer tells families that it’s not just the child that goes through the hardship, it’s the whole family.
Kevin called it “a kind of get-away from reality to a certain extent.”
Later Mitchell said he has been on other adventures with other organizations for sick children. “This was a totally different thing because I got to spend a week with my family.”
He grinned and said, “I can check mule deer off my bucket list!”
In September 2009 Montana Game Warden Association members participated in a “Work Day” on the Greenleaf Land & Livestock Ranch south of Colstrip, MT. The “Work Day” consisted of removing several large fenced enclosures that were used at one time for range monitoring, and were no longer necessary. Several area sportsmen and game wardens showed up to volunteer their time to remove the fencing. With the large crew that showed up the work was completed sooner than expected. This effort was a means of showing thanks to Doug and Kim McRae, owners Greenleaf Land & Livestock, for their many years of allowing hunting access on their property.
By MICHAEL BABCOCK
Tribune Outdoor Editor
The Cascade County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Montana Game Warden’s Association are developing a youth hunting program for kids who want to hunt but have no one to take them hunting.
This hunt is no gimme: the kids will have to do it the old fashion way; they will have to earn it.
They can earn a deer or elk hunt by writing a winning essay of 200 words or more on why they want to hunt and why they cannot get out hunting as it is. The essay contest is for hunters ages 12 to 16 and the deadline to submit an essay is April 15.
Cascade County Sheriff’s deputies Jay Groskreutz and Bob Wojciechowski came up with the idea last fall during the September archery season. They enlisted the help of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Game Warden Joe Kambic who found receptive landowners within a day or two.
“We put the word of mouth out and we got two young boys 12 and 16 who had limited access to get hunting and we took them out,” Groskreutz said.
“Cole Shippers had just turned 12 and wanted to go hunting but his mom and dad were not hunters, so I said he could go with me,” Groskreutz said. “And in a few days we heard about Mac Taylor. He displayed a fever that resembled ours and we made final arrangements.”
Shippers, hunting with Groskreutz, shot a nice mule deer buck on Oct. 28. A month later Wojociechowski and Taylor were hunting on the Jason Levine ranch. Levine was excited about the kids’ hunt, too, and by mid-afternoon Taylor, 16, had shot a cow elk.
Groskreutz said he, Wojociechowski and Kambic took the idea of continuing the youth hunts to their respective associations, both of which agreed to fund the hunt for the next two years.
“We want to take six kids this year. If we do or don’t shoot anything that is immaterial,” Groskreutz said. “We plan to get biologists involved to have the kids learn about habitat and to learn a little bit about landowners.”
Essays will be judge by members of each association. The essays are due April 15 and should be mailed to:
CCSO: Jay Groskreutz
3800 N. Ulm Frontage Road
Great Falls, MT 59404
The two associations also are looking for donations from private individuals or businesses to help establish the hunts as annual events.
The MGWA paid for a special wheelchair to be made for handicapped hunters to use.
For additional information about any of these events, contact Nicole, Executive Director of the Montana Game Wardens Association (MGWA) at (406)750-6310 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.