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Local girls awarded
hunt trips for essays

Michaela Dunlap and guide Ralph Cahoon with her two-point mule deer she shot on the hunting trip she won from the Rich Ranch with her Ethics Essay.

Ivy Balcom with her mother Vicki Jardine and Rich Ranch Guide Justin Layman. Ivy did not get her buck, but she said she had a lot of fun and learned a lot on the hunting trip she won with her Ethics Essay.

December 16, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Two Junior-High
Gals Win Rich
Ranch Hunts
With Hunter's
Safety Essays

by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder

Michaela Dunlap and Ivy Balcom won a guided hunting trip with the Rich Ranch this past season with their essays on Hunter's Ethics.

The Rich Ranch has been giving the students who take Hunter Education a chance at a guided hunt for the past 10 years.

Jack Rich of the Rich Ranch said there are several reasons he provides this opportunity to the students.

"It's a way to give back to the community," he said. "You don't just take, you've got to give back. It gives some of the local people an opportunity to do something that they probably wouldn't do otherwise.

"I believe in the future of hunting, and this is one way to help give the kids a more serious consideration of hunters' ethics. We really emphasize that. We're proud of them for winning on their essays about ethics."

The following questions were presented to the students who wanted to enter the essay contest:

* Why are hunter's ethics important?

* Why would I like to hunt with an outfitter?

* What have I learned from this class?

Ivy Blacom's essay:
'Hunting ethics are what you believe is right'

"Hunting ethics are what you believe is right. Only you can decide what is safe and what you should or shouldn't do.

Ethics are important because if you are an ethical hunter you will make smart decisions. Your decision should show respect to the land, the wildlife, other people, the gun and the law. If your decisions show respect for those things, it probably is a good decision. If it doesn't, you shouldn't do what you were thinking about. That is one of the very important things I learned in Hunter Safety.

I learned a lot of other things also. I learned how you should leave the land in better shape than when you came.

I learned how to treat landowners and respect their answer even if it's "no".

I learned how to cross a fence with a gun and not to cross on logs.

I learned the parts of a gun and differences in ammunition.

I learned the three main rules and many others.

The trip with an outfitter would mean a lot to me because I haven't been out in the wilderness in Seeley Lake, and this would be a good experience for me to be outdoors and learn a lot about hunting from someone who has experience."


Michaela Dunlap's essay:
'...I found out that an ethic is a sense or right and wrong.'

"In class I learned what an ethic was. I found out that an ethic is a sense of right and wrong. I also learned that it was obeying the law and it was the sense of responsibility.

Ethics are important so people will obey the law, accept responsibility, and be a good hunter. They're important so hunters will respect the animals whether they're dead or not. And so people will make decisions for themselves.

I would like to hunt with a hunting outfitter because it would be fun, I'd get to ride horses, enjoy nature, and I would be getting out. The main reasons I would like to go is because, whether I get something or not, I would still have fun and I would enjoy it. An outfitter has more experience hunting than I do, they know the land better, and they know the animals route. They would know good hunting spots and the trip would be all set up. These are some of the reasons I would like to go hunting with a hunting outfitter.

I learned tons of things in Hunter's Safety. I learned about ethics, laws, regulations, safety and how to use a gun. I also learned about the environment, land and resources, habitat, and how to be a responsible hunter. I learned about different kinds and parts of a gun and where to shoot an animal.

I was also taught the 10 principles of gun safety. We were also told to make the best shot that you can. But the 3 main things that I remember are:

1. Always point the muzzle in a safe directions.

2. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

3. Be sure of the target and beyond.

I gained knowledge about hunter's safety and to respect the land and others."

Ivy did not get a buck. Michaela got a two-point mule deer. And, both of them said they had a lot of fun. Michaela is donating half of her buck to the Seeley Lake Food Bank.

Ivy said that she really didn't care that she didn't get her buck because she had fun and learned a lot.

Both girls received a one-day guided hunting trip from the Rich Ranch, and they got to take their mothers with them.

These girls were two of over 30 students who took Hunter Education this year. It is offered in the spring and fall.

The students attend a 17-hour course, and they have a final written exam and a field test to pass. They shoot 22 rifles and BB guns as well as watch a high-power rifle demonstration by one of the instructors.

Al Woodward, Bart Peterson, Deann Gehrke and Hank Sommerdyke are instructors for the classes held each year in Seeley.

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