Recipient of “Catch a Dream Hunt”
This was the most special hunt we have ever done.
Sam was a recipient of a “Catch a Dream Hunt” as he is a cancer survivor. Sam and his family only had 21 – 2 days to defy the odds of fulfilling his dream and harvesting a bear and boy did he! The whole town came out to help and enjoy the experience.
“While I was lying in my bed about to fall asleep, I thought about all the events up to this point and for the first time in months, I realized I was no longer the kid with a brain tumor and lots of limitations,” Sam said. “I was the kid on the hunt of my life to harvest a Montana black bear.”
His new support group of friends instilled a determination in Sam – he was going to get that black bear.
In order to make the hunt as efficient as possible, Carr coordinated with Plumb Creek, Forest Service and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to obtain special hunting access. This allowed the group to cover more ground and bring Sam’s dream to a realistic goal.
“I was overwhelmed when I learned that so many groups came together just for one reason – to make sure my dream adventure would be possible, despite my limitation because of cancer,” – Sam said.
With only a handful of days, time was limited. The last day of the trip was closing in and Sam had yet to see a shoot-able bear.
Carr released his troops and had everyone he could looking for a bear in hopes that Sam would be able to at least see a bear for more than a matter of seconds.
Finally a bear was spotted. The terrain was tough and involved a lot of hiking to get to the perfect location. Carr looked at Sam and told him the rest was up to him.
“(He said) we can press on and hopefully find a good place to take a shot or we can turn back and keep hunting for another bear, the choice is totally up to you,” – Sam said.
Without hesitation, Sam knew it was his time.
“I looked at everyone and said that I did not come this far to turn back now, let’s go get that bear,” – Sam said.
As the group pressed on, Sam said he experienced one of his defining moments of his recovery. He realized that he was not helpless and was still capable of plenty.
After getting closer and closer to the bear, his opportunity arrived. As the bear stopped broadside, Sam lined up and took his shot. A few seconds after the trigger was pulled, a thump followed.
“I turned and looked at Cody, my dad, and Judd, waiting for someone to say something and then came some of the best words I had ever heard: ‘Sam, man, you just smoked that bear!’”
McCreary recalls the excitement he felt with those words. With the Montana weather and the darkness creeping in, the group had to wait to find the bear the next day.
After a solid dinner and however much sleep Sam was able to muster, the group went up to find the bear. After finding the blood trial, the search was on.
“As I looked around, there it was, lying in the edge of the ditch area. The bear that I, along with all the others, had worked so hard for,” – Sam said.
The bear was packed out fully intact so that Sam mother and two sisters could see the size of the bear.
The animal was prepared and the guides put the bear on a rack, taking turns carrying it up the mountain on their backs.
As Sam arrived at the lodge with his trophy in tow, he realized his surprises were still rolling in.
Over 50 people from the community awaited Sam arrival. A cookout was organized in his honor and everyone was anxiously awaiting Sam to tell his story of the bear.
Sam dream would have not been possible without the helpfulness of a loving community that came together for a great cause. Not only did Catch-A-Dream help put the hunt in play, but Big Hearts Under the Big Sky, the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, as well as Cody Carr Hunting Adventures made it possible.
The trip turned out to be more than just a bear hunt. It taught Sam that he was still more than capable of accomplishing the dreams and goals he had ahead of him. It showed Sam that he is not a victim to cancer and that everything is still possible.
And he realized just that.
“I left Montana extremely excited about the great harvest, all the great things I was able to experience, and all the great new friends I had made, but I was also excited about overcoming some of the limitations cancer left me with and learning my limitations were only as big as I thought they were,” – Sam said.