We All Have a Story….What’s Yours?
By angelamontana

Posted: December 25, 2015

There are naturally certain things in your life that stand out more than others when you reminisce–and let’s face it, Christmas is a great time to reminisce and appreciate everybody you have in your life.  Certain events might come to mind.  Certain eras might come to mind.  But, for me, it’s the people and what they did that I think about, and sometimes I’m not sure if they realize how much they are appreciated.  For example, the first few people that come to my mind involving the outdoors starts with when my ex father-in-law gave me a bow–my very first bow.

This nonchalant, unexpected gift led to my bowhunting addiction in my 20s. I had never drawn back a bow before, much less held one before then.  He will never know how appreciative and grateful I am for that one action…a bow that he had in a closet upstairs with a bunch of other things.  It was an old bow that was too small for him….a no-name bow with a 35-pound draw weight.  But, that bow changed my life, and after I purchased a new bow, the first one became my bowfishing bow–which led to the beginning of yet another passion.  Thank you for that.

My former boss is another person I appreciate for taking the time to teach me everything I needed to know about shooting my bow and how to get started.  Adjusting and tuning my bow, arrow length, fletching, aiming, shooting from a tree stand, shooting into water..etc….you name it.  Practicing shooting in the yard during breaks at hay bales he brought in to work…Thousands of arrows flung at paper plates from all sorts of distances and heights.  I appreciate him for feeding that archery addiction that I didn’t even know I had until I pulled back that bow and shot an arrow from it for the first time.  Thank you for that.

Toby Walrath, also known as Trigger right here on montanaoutdoor.com, has also opened the door to an addiction I never even considered.  Steelhead fishing for me is officially tied with bowfishing as my favorite type of fishing.  I have never in my life enjoyed fishing with a pole as much as I did last year–and I owe that all to Toby.  Just mention steelhead around me, and watch my attention leave whatever I was focusing on and see my eyes light up and start blabbering about steelies.  Aside from steelhead fishing, Toby has taken the time to not only walk us through proper techniques in setting muskrat traps and wolf traps over the years, but he has also taken time out of his day and away from his family to show two eager newbies how to skin their first coons and rats.  There is something to be said about somebody who not only enjoys sharing the knowledge they have with people who want to learn but also has a recognizable passion that shines through so brightly just in the way he talks about his own and other’s outdoor adventures.  He does so much for sportsmen through writing, lobbying and speaking on behalf of sportsman organizations, there aren’t even enough ways to say thank you.  He is motivating to people lacking confidence, and he is right there next to others fighting to keep our rights as sportsmen alive and well in Montana.  He never stops going.  Toby’s enthusiasm and expression of his passion are contagious, and it always reminds me that getting stressed out over work and everything else that we get caught up in on a daily basis doesn’t really matter as much as we think.  The reset button is just a hunt, fishing trip and/or trapline check away where you can reconnect with the reason we are in Montana and are sportsmen.  Thank you for that.

Our friend John Wilson is one of the most vocal, opinionated and generous people I know.  Any time we have skinning to do or if we are looking for volunteers for a  hunting or trapping event, John is on the phone or opening his door to the Trapline Tavern and Skinning Shed.  He has taken the time to show us how to skin rats (his way….in about three seconds lol) and even feeds us from time to time.  Wilson’s trapping partner and our friend Joe Michels is also an excellent example of just how incredibly generous people can be.  Joe is always willing to lend a hand for any of his friends and never asks for or expects anything in return.  He recently took three hours out of his evening to help us skin some animals we are having tanned.  I am so grateful to know these two fellow sportsmen, much less call them friends, as they are just good people.  Thank you for that.

Jason Maxwell….ah, where to begin?  My favorite…mostly..lol.  This guy’s voice is louder than most people’s…metaphorically.  He says the things that many only think.  He pushes people to their limits by dissecting their opinions, mostly in an attempt understand where the logic in their position comes from–if any logic is there. This guy would, and has, dropped what he’s doing for anybody he calls a friend to help them drag their bull out or check their trapline at any time.  He and I learned how to trap together….he was there when I shot my first Montana buck…he was there when I could’ve taken a shot at a bull for the first time…..we trapped our first rats and coons together.  We have waded through waist-deep snow to check our wolf traps in the black of night in negative temperatures…many times.  We have checked empty traplines and we have had missed hunting opportunities.  We have gone fishing successfully and not so successfully.  Through it all, he is my best friend.  He is my trapping partner.   He is my hunting partner…my reluctant fishing partner.  There is nobody else in the world with which I would rather spend my time outdoors…and indoors.  Thank you for that.

What good is a note of appreciation without including the one person that makes it possible for me to not only express my own passion for the outdoors and this insanely beautiful and extraordinary state while also supplementing my income by allowing me to write about everything I love about Montana.  Cap has given me this incredible opportunity to write about everything I experience and love involving hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, dirtbiking, street biking and even just photography of the scenery right here on montanaoutdoor.com.  One thing I am particularly appreciative of is that when I was so eager to write for the Montana Outdoor Radio Show in my very first interview more than three years ago, I told Cap I would do it for free–he refused to let me do that…although, now I am sure he is wishing he would’ve kept his mouth shut and said ok– lol.  I genuinely appreciate and love that I’m able to live my dream and write about it.  Thank you for that, Cap.

I could keep this going and talk about my good friends and fellow sportsmen Aarron….Keyvin…Kevin…Mike V….and more….but, there isn’t enough time.  In short, I just want the people I do consider friends to know how much everything they do is appreciated.  Every second we spend hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, boating, riding or anything outdoors is appreciated more than you will probably ever know.  All I can say is that I look forward to many more seconds, minutes, hours and days of time outdoors with you all and can’t wait to pass on my passion, as you have with me, to others.  I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you all as my inspiriation.  Thank you for that.

What is your story?  Let us know how you became involved as the sportsman you are today.


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