Story Contest 2016 - Third Place

A Trip of a Lifetime featuring Opatcho Lake Outfitters

Third Place 2016: A Trip of a Lifetime

by Shannon Caraway featuring Opatcho Lake Guide Outfitters

I have been hunting since I was a teenager. I moved to Montana when I was 34 and had been  trying for a moose tag since the  first year I was eligible, but never had the luck of the draw.  Finally, my husband and I decided to use an outfitter in Canada for a moose hunt.

We chose a 10 day, one on one, guided hunt with Opatcho Lake Outfitters. Other than the pictures we found on their website, we really didn’t have any idea what we were heading into, but we were up for the adventure.

I am disabled. Several years ago I broke both of my legs in a work related fall, and most of my left leg is artificial. I can walk very easily, although walking down hill is difficult and slow. We had explained this to the Outfitter and he assured us that he would be able to accommodate my needs.

We arrived at camp late on a Friday evening. After being shown our cabin, and all the features of the camp, we ate dinner with the other hunters. After dinner the entire group sat and discussed where we would all be hunting and who our guide/guides would be. My guide was the camp owner and outfitter, Ken Watson. Even though we had booked the hunt during the rut it was unseasonably warm and dry. On day four Ken and I rode in the side-by-side for several miles, then hiked about a mile into a logged clearing. Ken went through his normal routine; telling me to find a stump to sit on and get situated and ready before he began to call. After about the third cow moose call we heard a wolf howl! We both chuckled that the wolf answered to the moose call. Ken took the opportunity to begin calling wolves, as I also had a wolf tag.

The wolves returned a few howls, but we could both tell they were moving away from us. No luck on a wolf. Ken and I both agreed that the moose hunting was probably not going to be successful in this spot, since we had switched to calling wolves. We decided to head to another spot.

No sooner had we walked about 100 yards, and the crashing of a bull moose was heard in the trees. Ken and I both froze. I got ready while Ken cow called a few more times. The bull spent about 30 minutes teasing us as he crashed his way through the woods, then he was gone.


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