I'm a 5th (or 6th) generation Montana (depends on who I talk to). I grew up in a small town southeast of Great Falls, spent a lot of time hunting deer, elk & game birds. In 1991, I joined the USAF & served for 22 yrs, 15 of that was in Air Force Special Operations Command, I was a gunner on MH-53 helicopters & AC-130U gunships; 8 deployments.
In 2004/2005, I managed to mess up my hack in a couple helicopter "mishaps" and realized that I wouldn't be hunting big game (elk) ever again; since FL doesnt have upland game birds, I figured it was time to learn how to hunt waterfowl!
I hunted wood ducks in the Eglin AFB Swamps, and had a great time. I actually couldnt remember how long it had been, so I logged in here to see: November 2007! OUCH!
My military life in USSOCOM was an incredible adventure, and I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything; but on the flip side, I had little enough time for my family, let alone hunting. I hung up the rifles (eventually selling them off) and shotguns; cleaning them every so often, dreaming of the day I could get back to Montana to get outdoors.
On August 1st, 2014, I officially retired and moved back to Montana. I grew up in Great Falls, we stayed there a few weeks looking for work; but the wife got hired in Whitefish. We're now settled near Kalispell and I have been extremely lucky to find the house we did. It's time to LIVE LIFE!!!!
I just got my guns from my dad's place, and the movers dropped off all our stuff--more importantly: all my fishing and hunting gear! I've been brushing up on fly fishing and relearning how to be a civilian, an outdoorsman, and how to be a Montanan. I have to remind myself that the pace of life here is much slower than it was in Florida, and that is a GREAT thing!
Things have changed a LOT since I left in 1991. Areas I used to hunt are now "PRIVATE PROPERTY - KEEP OUT" or have been developed. Attitudes towards fishing and hunting access have also changed significantly. How sad. I guess that's my part as an outdoorsman: to ensure we do the right thing, educate those around us, and to keep a positive light on our hobby.
Anywho, I'm literally re-learning everything from scratch. I'll be on here asking dumb questions. Bare with me! I look forward to discussing things & meeting folks here in the forum!
SHOOT STRAIGHT & KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY!