The Yellowstone Hunt Club began as an idea. The first twinkling happened circa 2004. I remember hunting deer in the Blanchard Creek drainage near the Blackfoot River with my friend Justin Michels. Justin and I were co-workers at Best Buy. We were both young men at the time and living on limited finances. At least they seemed limited then. Hindsight being 20/20 I know now that I personally earmarked a ridiculously large amount of income for beer. I digress.
On the drive back to town after that deer hunt in 2004-ish I told Justin, “We could get more hunting gear and have better hunts if we put our money together.” The idea was conceived. Justin was unconvinced.
Fast forward to 2006. Best Buy went through one of their many ‘re-organizations.’ I can still remember Culture Training in 2000 teaching us Best Buy’s mantra: “If it ain’t broke, BREAK IT!” That particular BREAK IT! episode was a turning point in my life. My position had been eliminated and I had a choice to make. I was to either take a demotion and pay cut or apply for jobs outside of Missoula, MT. I decided to apply for a manager job in Billings, MT. In May of 2006 I moved to Billings.
In Billings I met a ton of new people. One of those new people was Richard Cope. Rick ran the install bay at Best Buy. One day when I was hiding out in the bay, Rick asked me if I was a hunter. That conversation changed the world. Well at least it changed my world. That summer Rick invited me to go on a pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota. I can remember thinking how lucky I was. At that point in my life I had only watched people on TV hunting pheasants in North Dakota.
At this point in life I had two dreams for my hunting life. Up to 2006 I had watched on television as people hunted pheasants behind pointing dogs. Similarly I had only watched on TV as people hunted geese from ground blinds in fields. My two big hunting goals in 2006 were to hunt pheasants behind a pointing dog and to field hunt geese. I can remember day dreaming about walking through waist high grass. Sometimes my mind would wander to a layout blind in a snow field. I could hear the cackling of geese. This was an obsession!
Ought Six was a watershed year in terms of my hunting experience. Rick and I were hunting fiends. We each hunted more than 60 days that year. We hunted before work, after work, and on every day off. On one of the many drives to or from our hunting locations Rick and I talked about hunting goals and how to achieve them. The idea came up again. We should form a club.
We thought that if a group of like-minded individuals could come together the group could achieve things that the individual could not. If we put our finances, ideas, skills and drive towards a common purpose we thought that the possibilities were without boundaries.