Relationships between hunters and landowners can be testy at times but one Flathead Valley family has put in the time and effort to ensure all parties benefit each other.
Laura Cox, the district secretary at West Valley School, shared a story about her hunting family and the hard work they put in well before the season begins.
“I’m not sure how unique their story is but I’m proud of them,” Laura wrote in an email to the Daily Inter Lake. “My husband, Sam, and his father, Victor have been hunting on the east side of Montana for many years. They have worked hard to maintain good relationships with ranchers who have graciously allowed them to hunt on their property.”
Laura said her husband started going over throughout the year to help with fence repairs, harvesting, spraying fields, basically whatever was needed to secure a hunting spot for himself, his dad and eventually his sons.
“We have four sons, Tanner, 24, Wyatt, 15, Wayne, 12 and Will, 9. Wyatt and Wayne began hunting with their dad a few years ago, as soon as they could,” Laura wrote. “Going over to Big Sandy each year is a tradition they all look forward to. Sam has incorporated the boys into earning their hunting privileges as well. You wouldn’t think kids would get excited about working 10-12 hours a day in the hot sun but you would be wrong. They love it!”
Last week, four of the gang brought home four healthy mule deer bucks.
Laura wrote that “They know why they are there and what it means for them and our family. They are happy to help and show their appreciation.”
She said Will, who can begin hunting next year, is already setting himself up as a ranch hand who can earn his keep.
“Hunting is not just for fun, bonding and to show skill. The entire family relies on the meat for the year,” Laura wrote. “With a household of growing boys, we go through quite a bit. All my guys have had great success and will continue to be grateful to those that have allowed their success.”