This December, the Condition One Foundation sponsored some combat veterans on a two day goose hunt in south east Montana. After getting landowner permission to hunt a beat field, we headed out the evening prior to the hunt to do some scouting. We located a few thousand geese and had a good feeling they’d be back in the same place the next morning when they left the river. We brushed in our blinds, laid out some decoys, and headed back to town for the night.
The following morning, we arrived at the hunt location well before sunrise to finish setting up decoys and have everything in place before the morning flight. With over ten dozen decoys in place and 13 of us tucked inside our blinds, it was go time. We watched as thousands of birds left the river and headed toward farm ground to feed. Not soon after, the geese started flocking toward our decoys. A few hours later, we had successfully harvested a few limits of geese.
After enduring gusting winds, snow, and below freezing temperatures, the following morning’s weather turned out a bit better. Although the morning brought near single digit temperatures, the sun was shining. The six of us hit the field before sunrise and were ready to hit the geese for a second round.
Waterfowl, unlike big game hunting, is much less stressful and physically demanding. Waterfowl season is a time to unwind and relax after logging mile after mile in the mountains looking for deer, elk, sheep, and mountain goats. This was a great event that allowed bonding and a lot of storytelling. Memories from Iraq and Afghanistan were spoken of; some good and some not. Events like this one in particular allow veterans to reflect on past experiences and memories of combat and talk about the life long friendships we’ve made.
Bringing veterans together into the outdoors without a doubt offers them a chance at peace. When the only thing on their mind is worrying about lying still in their layout blind and who’s going to yell, “Take ‘em, boys!”, everything else on their mind is a thousand miles away.
Thanks to your donations, the Condition One Foundation was able to 100% fully fund this hunt and make it possible for these veterans to have this experience.