Tom and I spent many days over the years hunting and fishing throughout Montana. He helped me plan and develop habitat on a section of land that I purchased North Denton. He was an advocate for Montana's Fish and Wildlife resources. He had great interest in upland game bird habitat enhancement and the use of cover crops to improve soil health. On several of the ranches we had hunted on over the years, he worked with the owners to encouraged the planting of cover crops that not only increased soil fertility but provided habitat for wildlife.
That being said, I first meet Tom at a State Meeting of Pheasants Forever in 2006. At that meeting the concept of Upland Habitat Enhancement on State School Trust Lands, that had public access was discussed. Tom and I developed a strong bond at that meeting as we both had researched what opportunities there where to enhance habitat on state school trust lands. He was instrumental in getting state lands that had public access and were in agricultural leases mapped for all counties in Central and Eastern Montana. This under taking identified over 100,000 acres. We worked to craft a MOU that was eventually signed between that State Department of Lands and State Department Fish and Wildlife that established a process by which habitat enhancement of these lands could be developed. The MOU is in the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Strategic Plan and Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program User's Manual.
Tom took the lead in developing a publication "Life after CRP", that outlined ways land owners could mitigate the impacts of the loss CRP acres on upland game bird habitat. Tom was appointed to the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Advisory Council in the fall of 2015 by the Governor. He would have been great asset to that Council.
There others here today that will comment on his involvement in the Gallatin Valleys Chapter's Youth Hunters Program and his role as chairman of the Chapter's habitat committee and the establishment of a hunting area that emphasizes youth hunting North of Bozeman on land administered by College of Agriculture at Montana State University.
As for story's there are many, but the one that sticks in my mind, was while hunting elk this fall (2015) on the Round Grove Ranch. It had snowed about 6 inches the night before. While driving up to the place where we were going to hunt Tom said, "if we don't see elk today we never will". Less than minute later, a herd of 25 so crossed the ranch road in front of use. The elk stopped less than 100 yards away on hill side. Tom got of the pick-up and I said, "shoot Tom shoot". He got back into the pick up and said, "that is not hunting, I am not a road hunter". The next day, being the day of the Bobcat / Grizzly football game, you know where I was... at the game. He went back to the ranch and posted himself on the ridge well before day break where we had seen elk the day before. He was successful getting a cow. He could have shoot a bull, but he had drawn a cow tag for that unit.
Tom was my best friend....