Hunt of a Lifetime
The Ekalaka Eagle - November, 2002
Six disabled hunters got the chance of a lifetime to hunt deer and antelope this season in Carter County, thanks to the Beaver Creek Rendezvous, a hunting camp designed to offer hunting opportunities to disabled hunters.
In its second year, the Beaver Creek Rendezvous is the brainchild of Leonard Livingson, and is located at his LA ranch a mile north of Ekalaka. Livingston was involved in a similar project in Wyoming before moving to Ekalaka, and has been several years putting the Rendezvous together in Carter County.
Each of the six physically challenged hunters was accompanied by a helper or companion, so 12 hunters participated in this year's hunt. All were Montanans, hailing from Bozeman, Great Falls, Big Fork, Roundup, and Libby. The hunters were accompanied by local guides and provided exclusive hunting access by several local landowners.
And the hunt was a resounding success. Over the course of three days, deer tags were filled, as well as an antelope tag, and one hunter bagged a turkey.
Hunters began arriving at the Beaver Creek Rendezvous on Saturday, October 26, the day before the deer season opened. This gave time for them to meet Livingston, other hunters, guides, and cooks; get settled in the camp's newly completed bunk house; and sight in their rifles at the camp shooting range.
With the group spread out at several local ranches, three mule deer bucks fell on opening day, four more and an antelope the next day, and three deer and the turkey on the third day.
Livingston was able to utilize some specialized equipment to help some of the hunters. Since many use wheelchairs, a hydraulically operated stand that raised two hunters some 16 feet, proved useful. The stand was provided by the Budweiser company and Disabled American Veterans for use by disabled hunters in Montana. It was sent on to another area in Montana, following use at the Rendezvous.
Monday night featured a spit barbecue for everyone involved, thanks to an army of cooks, including Janet and Tawnee Parks, Jane Logan, Ronda Bonsell, Duane and Sandy McCord, Mick and Trudy McCord, and Sandy Stieg. During the evening, successful hunters were provided with framed photos of their game.
Landowners who provided hunting access for the project were Livingston, Milton and Tyler Markuson, Mac Tooke, Doug Bonsell, Sam Denney, and Kenny Schultz, so the hunters were spread out over a good share of Carter County.
Some of those who provided guide assistance and help with the game were Mac Tooke, Sam Denney, Duane McCord, Jay Beach, Mike Freeman, Les and Nick Dorris, Jason Nygren, Kent and Ken Ehret, Doug Wolverton, and Stefan Livingston. Game Warden J.D. Douglas of Baker visited the camp and briefed hunters on hunting regulations.
Other items were donated to the effort by Red Rocks Sporting Goods of Miles City, Clark Bock of Minnesota, Baker Furniture and Hardware Hank of Baker, and the LA Ranch, The Buckhorn Bar donated meat and ice.
And last, but not least, were the hunters and their companions, Scott and Taren Birkenbuel and Gil Fandrich and Willam Graves, all of Bozeman; George Young and John Miller of Great Falls; Matt and Greg Sather of Big Fork; Walt and Pauline Atkinson of Roundup; and Harry and Sandra Kraft of Libby.
The hunt provided plenty of smiles, said Livingston, who says he's already looking forward to next spring for a turkey hunt; and of course, next fall for the third annual Beaver Creek Rendezvous.