Unusual eagle rescue brings together Bozeman nonprofit and Yellowstone-area outfitters

By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor

Hell’s A-Roarin’ Outfitters, a ranching and guiding outfit located on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, is holding their third annual horse drive on Saturday, May 27.

In addition to a horse drive, the event will include a barbecue dinner, cowboy poetry with Sandy Sallee and Gwen Peterson, and live music fit for dancing from Wylie and the Wild West.

The Hell’s A-Roarin’ Horse Drive will begin at the Gardiner Rodeo Grounds at 1 p.m. and continue to the Hell’s A-Roarin’ ranch in Jardine later in the afternoon.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Montana Raptor Conservation Center and Western Montana Search Dogs.

Approximately 450 attendees attended the 2016 horse drive, 100 more than were anticipated by Sue Johnson, who owns Hell’s A-Roarin’ with her husband Warren. This year Sue expects about 500 people will attend.

There’s an incredible story behind the outfitting business’s connection to the Montana Raptor Conservation Center, a Bozeman-based nonprofit.

November of 2014, Warren came across a golden eagle with a fractured wing during a backcountry elk hunt in Deckard Flats. When it became clear that the eagle wouldn’t recover on its own, Warren roped it with his lariat, brought it home and called the game warden.

The juvenile female golden eagle was taken to MRCC, where it recovered. Warren visited it at the MRCC facility and participated in its release near the Hell’s A-Roarin’ ranch several months later.

“He came out to the Raptor Center to visit the eagle and he kind of ended up being [bound] up with her, so he decided to put us as the recipient [for this year’s horse drive fundraiser],” said MRCC board member Jeannie Counce.

The eagle still hangs around near the ranch. “[Warren’s] seen it a couple of times,” Sue said. “He can tell because of the one wing.”

To learn more about the horse drive and attending festivities, visit facebook.com/hellsaroarinhorsedrive.