I am proud of my daughter. She did not take the shot. That’s right! She didn’t take the shot. In late November, Alaura and I had the opportunity to hunt Whitetail deer on the shores of Flathead Lake. It was her first hunt. Once we reached the frosty forest of aspen trees, we caught a glimpse of a large four-point buck. Alaura exclaimed “Dad, he is a big boy!” and she went into stalking mode. As we worked our way through the aspens, “Big Boy” was trying to escape around our right flank. I positioned Alaura in a narrow clearing with a downed tree to act as her shooting bench. I whispered to her that I was going to go to her right in an attempt to push “Big Boy” back into the clearing in front of her. As promised, I outflanked the buck. He pivoted left and into Alaura’s shooting lane. I waited. No shot. After a few minutes, I quietly return to where I left Alaura.
She was gone. I walked out into the open meadow and found her creeping across a steep slope. I whistled for her to return to me. When she returned, I asked her what happened? “Dad, he ran through the clearing and I didn’t have a clean shot. I was trailing him when you whistled me back.” I instructed her that “Big Boy” probably hustled back into the thicket. I guided her back into the aspen as the final minutes of daylight started to fade away. As the sun set over the lake, “Big Boy” became a ghost and could not be found.
With the day officially over, I broke out the hot chocolate. Alaura was excited and I listened to her recap her adventure of tracking “Big Boy”. At the end of her story, she said, “Thanks dad, I had a great time!” Right then it occurred to me, I told my dad the same thing after my first hunt in 1974. In my heart, I knew I had successfully passed on the love of hunting to the next generation.
This past weekend I was privileged to rub elbows with some of Montana’s best outfitters and guides at their annual meeting in Bozeman. One guide challenged me. He asked, “As Governor, how will you protect our rights to hunt and fish?”
My answer was simple. I will continue to build upon my voting record defending and protecting our rights to hunt, fish and trap wildlife. I am proud to say, I have a 100% voting record supporting the legislative priorities of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association in the past three legislative sessions.
My dad passed on the love of hunting to me and I have passed the love of hunting onto my children. Montana’s hunting tradition is personal to me. I will protect, defend and foster this tradition so that future generations may enjoy it as much as we do.
Al “Doc” Olszewski, MD
Candidate for Governor 2020
State Senator, SD 6