WQW

Hunt for Purpose


Guiding Combat Veterans to Purpose Through Archery Hunting

Hunt for Purpose is designed to guide post-9/11 combat veterans to a greater sense of clarity around their identity, values, potential, and purpose. For many post-9/11 combat veterans, purpose is found by rising to meet a meaningful challenge. Our newest alumni program, Hunt for Purpose, is an intensive, 6 month pursuit to plan, prepare for, and execute a successful archery hunt in Montana’s backcountry. Along the way, participants will learn the basics of hunting and backcountry survival, improve their physical fitness, and work alongside fellow Warriors and loved ones toward a common goal.

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Our program application is currently closed.

If you would like to be among the first to know when our 2025 application becomes available, please provide your contact information. We will get in touch with you via email in the fall of 2024 when our application period opens.

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Finding Purpose through Hunting

Hunting is not the objective of the program; rather it is the mechanism we’ll use to help our participants achieve clarity of what they believe, who they are, what they can do, and what gives their life meaning. We’ll do this by interweaving a guided-discovery process around the areas of identity, values, potential, and purpose with the process of preparing for and conducting a week-long archery hunt. 

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Program Details

Participation in this hunting experience consists of two 6-8-day trips to Montana, as well as virtual training and a fitness program to be completed throughout the year. Hunt for Purpose is free to participants, including travel to Montana, lodging, food, gear, and education. Participants should be ready to challenge themselves both physically and mentally, and grow and learn in a group environment.

Goals

  • Clarifying who you are, what you believe, what you can do, and what brings your life meaning through commitment to a challenging pursuit

  • Improving nutrition and physical fitness habits

  • Improving social well-being through connection and camaraderie

  • Applying the skills acquired in the program to the pursuit of other personal and professional goals in life

  • Planning, preparing for, and executing a successful archery hunt

Typical Hunt for Purpose Schedule

Participants will complete virtual learning throughout the year, as well as three separate trips to Montana in the spring, summer, and fall. Each program will be tailored to create the best hunting experience for the group. Here’s generally what participants can expect.

In spring, participants will make their first trip to Quiet Waters Ranch to meet their cohorts, collect and learn their equipment, and learn the fundamentals of archery and animal behavior. Each day, participants will have designated time for reflection and personal development workshops.

In fall comes the culmination of everything participants have learned over the year: a week-long archery hunt in the Montana backcountry. Here, participants will put their skills to the test and seek to harvest, accompanied by veteran hunting companions. If successful, the harvested game will be processed locally and participants hard-earned protein will be shipped to participants at their homes to enjoy.

Prior to the first trip, participants will complete virtual training through the University of Elk Hunting. Throughout the year, they’ll communicate virtually with their hunting companions to plan their hunt and obtain the necessary licenses and tags. In addition, participants will work through the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter’s Fitness Program – a 9-month physical fitness regimen they will follow on their own to prepare for their hunt.

Meet the Organizations that have made Hunt for Purpose possible

Participant FAQs

Yes, Quiet Waters Ranch is accessible for people with disabilities. We work to accommodate all disabilities to the fullest extent possible. Our staff, guides, and volunteers are well-versed at accommodating various types of disabilities and conditions (including those who are visually and audibly impaired) to ensure a positive and rewarding experience.

Yes. WQW has a service dog acknowledgment and agreement that allows service dogs to go fishing with participants.

Yes! Everything from clothing to equipment is yours to keep. Our goal is to set you up with everything you need so you can continue to tap into your new skills independently without gear as a barrier.

No, you DO NOT have to be a Purple Heart recipient to qualify for our programs.

WQW has an active zero alcohol policy on all experiences.

Built for More discusses spiritual fitness, not religion. Essentially, there’s space in our program to incorporate any spiritual practices that contribute to your growth. We do not take or encourage any particular religious stance (including being religious at all), and we ask that you respect religious differences across your cohort.

Absolutely. WQW strives to build long-term relationships with our participants and we are always looking to have you return for more experiences or as a volunteer. However, Warriors who attend their first experience are not guaranteed an invitation to return for future programs.

Yes, there is wifi and cell phone service at the ranch so that participants can connect with their loved ones as needed while they’re away. However, the ranch is an ideal place to take a break from your devices and reconnect with yourself and your community. We highly recommend being fully present as much as possible for this one-of-a-kind experience.

While we relied on experts to develop our program, it is completely non-clinical and non-medical. That said, we support Warriors in getting all the care they need, and you’ll continue your existing care during the program. If therapy or psychiatric care is something you choose to start during the program, we’re happy to make recommendations for veteran-focused organizations.

These proven expeditions are still the bookends to Built for More—but now, there’s an essential new program in between. Over the years, Warriors were impressed with how these reflective outdoor adventures could serve as a turning point in their lives but requested more guidance for making long term changes. Built for More answers that call with a structured, expert-driven program that still relies heavily on those original excursions.

There are still a number of shorter specialty programs for alumni, but all first-time Warriors now start with Built for More.

View an example Built for More schedule HERE

Built for More is a program we developed ourselves, rooted in in-depth research, evidence-based expertise in wellness and psychology, and our own years of experience. It’s structured to be challenging, but not overwhelming, as you dive into self-exploration, identify areas of growth, and develop healthy habits. You can expect elements of video, facilitated group discussion, reflection, and skill development exercises.

WQW programs are at no cost to the participant including paid-for air travel to Montana, comfortable lodging and home-cooked meals, professional instruction, and gear for trip’s activities.

WQW is committed to objectivity when reviewing applications. This thorough screening process requires confirmation of participation in combat operations, either through the receipt of combat awards or proof of service in a location in which you received Imminent Danger Pay.

Please include your service record (DD214 Member-4, ERB, ORB, BIR, BTR, etc.). We recognize that service records are confidential and are stored securely.

Check the following locations on your DD214 to ensure eligibility (only one of the following requirements must appear):

•Block 13: Decorations Medals, Badges, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons (check the continuation page for overflow of Block 13 information).

•Block 18: Remarks. This is where you will find information about receiving Imminent Danger Pay.

If you do not see confirmation of participation in combat operations on your DD214, or if you are currently Active Duty and do not possess a DD214, please provide any official documentation of combat related service. This can include, but is not limited to:

•Award Citations for Combat Awards (ie. Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon/Badge/Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with "V" device, etc.)

•Service Record (which clearly indicates combat service and/or deployment information)

**If you do NOT possess any of the above documentation, but think you still qualify, let us know why in your application!

Currently, we’re focused on making our programs richer and more effective for the same number of veterans annually. For now, we aim to grow in impact, not size, working hard to offer transformative experiences to roughly 300 veterans a year.