Successful hunters, Hunter Bower, Hunter Hoover, and Josslynn Hoover, with their White-tailed buck. Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian

Local hunter’s fill the freezer on the last weekend of season

By Brian Baxter


The morning after Thanksgiving day, I decided a hunt in the snow at mid-elevation would be enjoyable, and could be productive. Going in early behind a Kelly-humped logging road, in an old fire salvage sale unit, the snow revealed tracks of a few does and a young buck. The blackened trees and off white snow created a unique contrast for this solitary hunt. Not far in, a doe leaped over a log and vanished into the woods. A short walk to a good spot to sit, and several doe bleats from a can type call drew no response or eager buck. After a while, I resumed a slow walk, explored, and then headed back to the rig for lunch and to assess my strategy for the day.

As I was finishing up my sandwich, a Toyota pickup with three young people cruised up the mountain. They smiled and waved, as did I. As they passed, I checked my map. I decided to go on up and do an afternoon hunt behind where the gate was across the main road. Just then, I heard a shot up the hill, about a third of a mile up. Instinctively, I grabbed my rifle and spent some time scanning the hills as I walked around. No movement, only that one shot. Back to the pickup and up the hill. I ended up seeing where the kids had pulled over in a turnout. There was a young blond gal grabbing some gear out of the back of the truck. She was a bit out of breath, and excited. She told me they had gotten a 4 X 4 buck. I smiled and congratulated her. At the top where the final gate was, there was a young man just heading behind the gate. I rolled down my window and said hello. A young man, maybe early twenties smiled and said hi. I told him if he was just going in, I would find another spot. He very politely said thank you and wished me luck.

On the way back down the mountain, the young folks in the Toyota were pulled over where I had originally been parked for my morning hunt. I eased up and jumped out. I could see they had a nice young 4 X 4 buck all ready to load up. Upon congratulations, each one of them reached out their hands to shake, and with that introduced themselves. They were Hunter Bower, Hunter Hoover, and Josslynn Hoover. Turns out Josslynn spotted the buck, her brother tracked it, and Hunter Bower managed to shoot it through the heart at just under 200 yards. Two hunters and a spotter I remarked. They all laughed, and so did I. I try to drive really careful on icy roads these days, so when I saw them coming up behind me, I pulled over for them and let them pass. They were still smiling. Winding down the icy mountain, this old gray beard with almost 50 years of hunting was still smiling too, and was very proud of all the polite, young, and respectful young hunters out there.

There seemed to be a spike in harvest towards the end of the season, with a bit more snow and the White-tail rut, but the numbers aren’t going to be out for awhile. As Dillon Tabish, Regional Information and Education Program Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks told this reporter, “This year, we replaced  the game check stations with chronic wasting disease sample stations to assist hunters who wanted to have their animals tested for CWD. We considered it a customer service priority considering our winter telephone surveys will provide us a a good set of data on this years hunter participation and harvest success. That information will be available in spring.”

Libby/Troy Middle School

Basketball Match-Up

Libby Logger, Aiden Rose, goes up to add two more points to the board in the final moments of the 8th grade match-up between the Libby Loggers and the Troy Trojans this past Saturday, Dec. 5, at Ralph Tate Gymnasium in Libby. The Loggers would go on to close the game with a 41-21 win. Making the most of their momentum found for the season, the clock has already begun ticking to a close on the court for these young athletes.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel and interactive play, competitive seasons were shortened to just four center court appearances and kept within the county for the 2020-21 schoolyear. Libby will finish out their shortened season of play in Eureka on Tuesday, December 8, as they face the Lions in their final game of the year. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.