Back in September we started our hunting season. Just seems like a blur though considering with the odd weather we've had we are still haying ended up baling freezed dried hay, not able to combine the grain to wet, and when it did warm up, the first week of rifle season, it was all hands on deck to get everything done while we could. In the midst of all the work madness is still that fact we have two active boys. When not working they in school and playing sports again. People told me as I was preparing last year to have a senior that we would be busy but I had no idea it would be quiet like this! It's an emotional time, we kind of like our kids, so it's hard to think about next year when he's not around. He's up to good things, so you try to think of all the positive but it is draining. Bill ended up being voted the 6th best 6-man player in the state of Montana this year, quite an accomplishment and probably the best way to end a his last season. The picture that show the four seniors walking off the field for the last time is very emotional for two reasons, the first one obvious, but the second these boys have played together for six year, that's a long time! They are brothers and our families have been together since 1st grade, just makes the statement that family isn't always blood true. Then the youngest is busy too, just an 8th grader, but still has plenty to do! We also add a new addition to the crew, Scarlet joined us in October. Back to hunting season, cause that's why we are all here...right? It's been a pretty good season so far, and we expect with some snow and cold moving in that it's going to continue to be good. As I mentioned before our first week of rifle was a bit rough, even though we were successful the guys had to work for it! I have to put in a plug for Lon though, thank you hon for the new bino's, I love them! Here is a few behind the scenes so far from September till now to show you what we've been up too. Remember the most recent stuff you can see from our Facebook page!
I'll tell you upfront and right now, not a fan! This might be repetitious for those that I've already email and/or texted today but here is more of a step-by-step into the new system...I think. This is new for me too, but I've tried to poke around in it and see what I could make of it.
During the last month of license sales Outfitters and their clients experienced an unprecedented change in how client information could be accessed. The Department Licensing section, in response to some legal advice related to ID theft, created the “New” MyFWP, a convenient and secure way for individuals to view license, bonus points, preference points, drawing information and results, Hunt roster sign up and your placement on the roster, submit mandatory reporting, and manage your email subscriptions. Unfortunately, MyFWP was not designed with the Outfitter/Client relationship in mind. Now, after the roll out, we are working with FWP staff to see if we can incorporate key functionality that will help you provide the type of client service they expect/need in a simple manner.
In the meantime, while we wait for government.... You guys will have to be responsible for checking your drawing status because we can not see it anymore. Please, please, please, especially if your in a group, tell your friends so everyone knows to check!!!
Step 1: Go to: https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpExtPortal/login/login.jsp
Step 2: Create a new user.
Step 3-4: Enter all the information on this dialog screen. If you don't know what your ALS# is you can look it up. The state assigns you one the first time you apply for a license in Montana.
Step 5: You will then get a confirmation email link that you will need to click on and use within 24 hours to get into the system. Go out to your email and click the link to activate your account.
Step 6: Once you've created an account you can log into myfwp website.
Step 7: Click on the "My FWP Information" on the left menu. It will expand a dropdown menu click on "View My Information".
Step 8: Click on the words "Draw Results" bar to expand it.
For screen shots to help you through the steps click on the file below to open a .pdf document.
This is the best I can do everyone from my end this is what I see... I won't comment anymore what I think of the system but just know I don't have much faith, and I think the picture says it all this time!
(Side note giving credit to the picture cause it's not mine here.)
It's our version of "art work". There are many different pieces of "art work" that people chose to hang on the walls of their home. Posters, paintings, regular decor, cool metal designs, family photos, are probably the more common things to hang on your wall. You may find a couple paintings in our house and yes I still make room for some family photos too, but more than anything our "art work" are taxidermy mounts. And it seems they all tell a story just like a painting. Most of our mounts are European and on a plaque. Check out Outdoor Life's DIY about European mounts and how they use beetles to clean the skulls. We try to save as much space as we can, and they tend to be a bit cheaper. On that note, most of our mounts are not small, so really how much space are we saving? None really, our house is full. There are no blank walls. Every spot is taken up by something. So now that we have gotten back Lon's elk and Tyson's first elk, what do we do? So here they sit. Well, Tyson wants his in his room; fine we can find a spot there. However, I'm not exactly sure where to put the other, so there it sits in the middle of the floor or should it go to the basement and sit with all the others. Maybe we will rotate one out one day and put him up. Who knows, the next option is to build. Yes, a "trophy room", maybe some day. Oh the price we pay for our "art work".
ALS stands for Automated Licensing System. An ALS number is assigned by date of birth, followed by 1-3 digits sequentially. All applicants applying for a hunting license in Montana since 2001 will have an ALS number. If you have not applied since 2001, you will be assigned an ALS number. Once assigned then you can continue on with the license application process and purchase a license. Non-resident license that we typically work with are either the Big Game Combo tag or the Elk Combo tag. Those tag deadlines are March 15. The best and easiest way to apply for a license is through the Montana FWP website!
It's funny how you can meet people by fluke and then all the sudden go from just acquaintances to friends. That's kind of how we met Brandon, by fluke...He came to White Sulphur to give a presentation to the students, the students really liked him and asked if he could come back and be their graduation speaker. After visiting with him, he had never killed a bear, it being spring time when he would come back to do the graduation we could try to get him a bear then. Perfect we'll help the kids out, Brandon gets to go bear hunting everyone wins. Sometimes when you do these types of things you don't really expect to hear from the person again and that's ok too, but not in this case. Brandon did kill his first bear with us, yes, but we really enjoyed visiting with him, these are the cool things that happen when you become an outfitter. You get to met all kinds of people. So a few months pass, our football team was doing really good. So I thought I'd let Brandon know and maybe I could Skype with him and he could drop a good word to them. (By the way Brandon not only likes the outdoors and hunting, he really likes football!! ;)) What are the odds that he just happen to be within the vicinity and could drop by. Ok, so something was meant to be here! He came in, talked to the boys during their playoff run, and it was cool! So come to find out Brandon is also starting up his own line of gear and hopes to get that taking off pretty soon. So one day I get an email, yep here it is got his new line of gear going. Congrats Brandon your hard work paid off! Owning your own business isn't easy, it's a 24/7, no breaks/vacations/holidays, feel like your broke sometimes venture, but worth it. You almost feel like your a farmer or rancher...almost! So if you want to check out his new gear here it is: Rokman Gear.
PS. Sounds like he might be coming back to White Sulphur again very soon to do some more football stuff ;), well you know your welcome to stay out here at the ranch with us and good luck with you business!
Funny how things happen when mom's not home. You never know what will happen and may never know what happened, which is sometimes a good thing, when you’ve left all the boys at home alone (this includes dad). "Tyson, would you by chance know how this hole in the wall got here?" Tyson replies, "I don't know." "So it looks like to me this hole is pretty perfectly round, kind of like an air-soft BB right." A big long pause happens and then Tyson says, "no, no mom BB's don't make that kind of hole." "Oh!" I said, "so you didn't shoot my wall with your new BB gun you got for Christmas?" "I don't know who did that mom, I didn't do it." So we have a stranger living in our house named "I Don't Know". I Don't Know shot my wall with a BB gun I think. I also think I Don't Know should help fix the hole in the wall." "Ya, I think Bill should help you." "So Bill shot the wall?" "No, Bill didn't do it either." So we are now back to I Don't Know. Hum-mm... strange things happen while mom's at gone!
Just when you thought that you'd seen everything. Does anyone else wonder sometimes how things just appear in your house, that probably shouldn't be there? As I came home from work tonight I was thinking to myself. Awh, I'm going to make myself a nice cup of tea and get to relax on the couch for awhile before having to make supper. Instead I walk into the house to be greeted by a funny, dead smell. As I approach the entrance to our kitchen I find that my husband had to do some hide stretching, drying something to a bobcat he had caught so he could sell it. So here's a side note if you don't know anything about trapping. So preparing a pelt for a fur buyer to buy later does take a lot of work and it may vary depending on really how they want it. The short version is you've got to first skin the animal, flesh the hide and then put it on a stretcher like this, you'd comb it and make it all soft and pretty, then sell it. Out of curiosity I did some research and found this link that was pretty interesting. It's a Pelt Handling Manual, I really did learn some stuff from looking through it! But back to my kitchen. Does it really have to happen right here? Really, you've gotta be kidding me! So I think of myself as a pretty patient person...BUT there has got to be somewhere else he can do this! I part of me thinks, that he thought he could get whatever it was he was doing with it done before I got home. I understand what he was trying to do, I just don't think he needed to do it in the kitchen. Needless to say by the end of the night the smell had dissipated I did have my tea, and I did NOT cook supper! :)
If the definition of “hanging out” with your husband is spending quality time while hunting, then yes welcome to the club! It was coyote derby weekend! My husband doesn’t understand why I don't think it's awesome to be able to hang out waiting for coyotes to come in to a screeching, headache triggering, rabbit call. Have you heard that screech? Wow, it kind of makes me think I must be dying! This thing isn’t just for a few minutes either it's for hours...at different speeds and tones, waiting and waiting, sitting out in the freezing cold, wishing I was in my warm bed! I'd rather be able to go to bed at night wake up the next day and have the daylight to see the coyotes. Daylight brings a whole new way to hunt coyotes. I'm not sure if I want to get into all the details of how you catch a coyote in a wide open field, but it is sure exciting! (Note: it’s not a good idea to take your wife’s new truck and run down a coyote in a field, forget about the homestead, jump the truck to clear it, and then pretend nothing happened. Eventually, she will find out! In a way though I’m glad he cleared the homestead it wouldn’t have never ended well if he didn’t!) Now that's my kind of coyote hunting! Heith and Lon have partnered up on coyote derbies for a few years now. It’s been nice and they have a lot of fun. So during the coyote derbies I have three main jobs. They are all super important and hinge on the success of the hunt! Number 1- make sure I know where all bullets are located and have them ready in case they run out! Number 2- have food readily available for at any point in the day they may show up, even midnight snacks! Number 3 is two part-check-ins, as in, make sure they haven’t gotten stuck somewhere and you have to go pull them out, and check-ins, as in, to make sure when he put your name down for the raffle drawing of the gun you are present to win! It is fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not an everyday thing. Usually when I shoot at coyotes they’re right by the house trying to get into the lambs, the cows, or snooping around the house stirring up the dogs. They are nasty little creatures! They stink! At any rate it was a good weekend, even if we didn't get to “hang out” too much! We know, and that’s all that matters, they’ll be some other time that we can hang out like a normal married couple...right?
Boy, that was harder than I thought! Hitting "publish" on my first blog. Talk about nervous. I think the best way to start this out would be to answer, who am I? Seems simple enough, but really it's pretty complex. Yes, I am an outfitter's wife. I’m also just an average, middle-class, women that lives on a ranch in rural Montana with her family, who just happens to like hunting and the outdoors. We just happen to like it enough we started a business out of it. My husband guided on a ranch across the valley from us for nine years before we went out on our own. We've been in business going on for 10 years now. When our family ranch split we had an opportunity and we took it. Why not? That’s what they teach in business school right, start a business out of something you love to do. We knew going in, it wasn’t going to be easy, especially if you add raising two boys among the chaos, but hopefully you can relate to that!
I must admit right away, I’m not much of a writer! I know some stuff about some stuff, live a busy life, I hope you find it interesting or perhaps relate, and maybe I can answer a question or two. I find it easier to have pictures to go along with, then you really get the full story. I find when I look at pictures I can actually get into more detail of what happened or remember that authentic moment, than to just type it to you. So that’s the game plan! “The Photo Story Through the Eyes of an Outfitter’s Wife” (and other stories of her life). Hopefully I can convince some of my other friends that are outfitter's wives to share a few of their stories too.
I hope Robin Moore was right when he said, “inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.” –author of The Green Berets. When I hear that I immediately think of sitting around the table at hunting camp, oh… “that bull, you should have seen him, he would at least score 400”, when really, he would only score like 250.
I really don’t want any political correctness, nor anti-hunting junk, keep it to yourself that is not my intent. I hope everyone enjoys this blog, we are all here to have fun, enjoy life, and see through my eyes (it can get a little crazy), just try to keep up!
Speaking of keeping up…that reminds me, I get busy, my goal is to post a couple times a week. I’m new to this so I will do the best I can, bare with me as I learn these new ropes!
Welcome and I hope you stick around to see!
P.S. You will rarely see photos of me, cause I'm usually behind the camera!
Julie Hanson married Lon in 1996. She is a Montana native, grew up on a ranch, lives and works on a ranch,and is a partner in Anchor P Outfitters. See more on the About Us page.