Bowhunters headed to Missoula
By Hookemharry

Posted: March 7, 2002

When hundreds bowhunters gather in one place, you might think they would resemble a mini-forest or a swamp or the rocky high country of Montana, depending on what type of camouflage they happen to be wearing at the time.

Well that won’ quite be the case next weekend in Missoula when archers from around the state gather for the 24th annual Montana Bowhunters Association (MBA).

Sure, you might see an occasional “walking tree” from time to time in and around the Missoula Holiday Parkside Friday from March 15-17. But expect most of them to be wearing their city clothes as this collection of sportsman and women attend their big show of the year.

They will be here to learn a few tips about the sport they love and, of course, tell a few tales about the past hunting season.

MBA membership is over 800 in the state. The banquet and convention rotate in different locations around Montana annually. The last time it was held in Missoula was 1996.

This year’s event will feature speakers from various backgrounds and most of the seminars are free and open to the public.

The featured speaker at the banquet Saturday night will be Don Thomas. Thomas has taken over 30 species of big game with a bow. He accomplished this by traveling throughout the American west, including his home states of Alaska and Montana as well as Africa, Siberia, and the Pacific.

Thomas has 11 outdoor books to his credit including three on bowhunting. The titles of the three on bowhunting include, Longbows in the Far North, Longbow Country, and The Double Helix.

Banquet tickets cost $30 for adults and $20 for youngsters 12 and under. In addition to being the keynote speaker for the banquet, Thomas will conduct a free seminar Friday evening on bowhunting in Alaska that is open to the public. Other free seminars include Hunting Safely in Grizzly Country and Bear ID by Jamie Jonkel; Saving the Hunt for the Common Man: The Public Ownership of Wildlife presented by Jim Posewitz; and Raptors of the Rockies, live birds of prey with Kate Davis.

The largest bowhunter event in Montana will also feature exhibits and displays of bowhunting equipment from manufacturers and dealers. The MBA is having a photo and game calling contest and you can look at some great trophy displays.

For general information on the MBA convention contact Stan Rauch at 406-642-6639. For tickets to the banquet call Marian Stratton in Great Falls at 406-452-3238.