FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Outfitters and guides are some of the most generous, kind and supportive people in the country. In Montana, outfitters understand and know the importance of sharing their beautiful parts of the world with others. Through Big Hearts, Montana outfitters and guides recognize the responsibility of giving back to deserving individuals. Through this program, deserving individuals and families are introduced to the healing powers of nature.
A fully outfitted and guided trip can cost thousands of dollars, which is generally more than a single family operated business can routinely provide. To ensure a steady supply of high-quality trips, MOGA’s Educational Institute arm raises funds to help offset the outfitter’s expenses. With every trip, participating outfitters donate to the efforts, with MOGA assisting with covering some of those costs. Through this approach, many parties (MOGA, Big Hearts and the outfitter) share in the financial costs which allows us to continue to offer trips to qualified and well-deserving participants. Our program is family focused and each trip meets the needs of all of the attendees, not just the individual members.
This program has a streamlined approach in marching deserving applicants with professional outfitter members who are licensed, insured, have the necessary infrastructure, experience and the ability to provide a high-quality and fully outfitted trip that meets the needs of each individual group, including military veterans or children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Not at all. As mentioned, the outfitting industry is one of the most charitable and giving entities that exist. Many MOGA members have been donating trips for years, even before the existence of Big Hearts (which was founded in 2007). Montana outfitters and guided regularly give to charitable donations, non-profit groups and worthy individuals and we’re grateful they understand the importance of the Big Hearts Under the Big Sky program.
MOGA members excel at providing a safe and enjoyable outdoor opportunity. Each and every participating outfitters is licensed and insured and is able to adapt to the specific needs of each individual Big Hearts trip.
Montana code is very narrowly written and many deserving people cannot be served because they do not qualify for a license. Montana law requires that for a person to qualify for a license they must be 17 or younger and must be terminal. This law needs to be reviewed and softened. There are many case studies where deserving people are turned away because the doctor (and family) considers the situation to be life-threatening rather than terminal.
Military veterans who have been wounded in battle or may have won the Medal of Honor cannot qualify for an elk tag under existing law.
The demand for these types of trips are relatively few (less than 25 per year) but under the current laws Montana turns away more than they serve. MOGA and other organizations regularly work with the Montana Legislature to see if anything can be done to address Montana code.
That’s a great question and we’d love to have your help. To ensure a steady supply of high-quality outfitted hunting, fishing and outdoor trips are available for use under this program, MOGA raises funds year-round, with proceeds being placed in the association’s 501 (c) (3) Educational Institute. We seek a combination of sponsorships, donations and sales of auction items to generate the money necessary to cover the hard costs for businesses that provide these trips.