Purple Heart Hunt leads to success for veteran

FORT HARRISON – They’ve given their all-in battle, and now they’re getting a chance for a rare hunt. There is a special piece of land near Fort Harrison that’s full of trophy bucks, but the only people who are allowed to hunt there are people who have earned a purple heart, brave men and women who were injured in the line of duty.  

A chilly November morning in Helena and Sean Gifford is suiting up for a once in a lifetime hunt.  

"This is an amazing opportunity and I'm grateful to be here and experience it,” says Gifford, a purple heart recipient. 

Gifford is a member of the National Guard, a citizen solider who has stepped up and headed overseas multiple times. And this piece of land has some special history.  

"My unit use to come up here and train quite a bit,” says Gifford. “And we actually jumped right out here in the field. So this is a real exciting opportunity for me.” 

Not anyone can hunt this land. It’s reserved for soldiers who have been hurt in battle. Gifford was injured in a blast while on patrol in Afghanistan.  

"I'm really grateful that the Montana National Guard had this opportunity and has this opportunity for wounded soldiers across the state." 

After 20 years in the National Guard, he is getting ready to retire. But not before taking one last shot at the enemy, a mule buck on this once in a lifetime hunt. 

Only one hunter is allowed on the land per day and they only open it up to hunters for five days. So just five people can hunt there all year. It’s really a special treat to honor our veterans.  

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