You may recall that back in July the crew from Hunt's End Deer Ranch and I made a trek to Louisiana to attend an outdoors show. I can't speak for the other guys, but my personal experience was pretty amazing. Most notably because we met a lot of like minded people and made several new friends that I hope to see again very soon.
One of those friends is Troy Coleman, founder of Hero Hunts, a non profit that works with disabled veterans that share in our passion for the outdoors. While at the outdoors show, Troy approached us and asked if we would be interested in setting up a hunt for one of the vets. I, for personal reasons, was all for it. So we got the ball rolling and set it up.
To make a long story short, yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Chris Sullivan and his cousin, Moe Thibodeaux, who traveled 19 hours from Louisiana to hunt with us. From the first time I talked to Chris on the phone I could tell he loved to hunt and be outdoors. However, he had never shot a deer before.
Chris was critically wounded in 2005 while deployed to Iraq. He and his team came under fire while investigating a report of an IED along a military travel route. Confined to a wheelchair, seemingly simple abilities that you and I take for granted often cause him some struggle. But, amazingly, he gets the job done, with a smile on his face and treating the hindrance as a mild annoyance. His attitude, personality, and determination truly are an inspiration.
We formulated a plan and with anxious anticipation and excitement, this afternoon, Chris, Moe, and I headed out to the woods. Well it didn't take long for that plan to get thrown out the window. As we headed down the trail, a couple of does and a small buck popped out of the woods right next to the blind we were heading to. Not wanting to spook them too bad we quickly set up in another blind.
With a near perfect afternoon for hunting, it didn't take long for the action to pick up. A couple of does and yearling bucks worked their way out into the field. It was a little breezy but the direction was perfect. We thought we were done for when a bruiser came out of nowhere, downwind, and busted us. Last we saw, he was doing mach 1 heading for Green Bay. With a near empty field we settled back in. That's when it got interesting. The does and yearling bucks started coming back out into the field, where they were joined by others.
Then just like that, the buck we were after charged out into the field. The "playground bully," a three and a half year old 9-pointer. He comes out shoving everyone around, stealing their food. What a jerk! Moe and I got Chris all set. All we had to do was wait for a clear shot. So we waited, and waited... and waited. So many times the buck would turn just right and another deer would step in front of or behind him, or Chris would have to adjust his position. Poor Chris, it must have felt like an eternity. But then, a clear shot was presented and with a single well placed shot, Chris had his first buck. High fives and congratulations all around. Even though it may have been improvised, I love it when a plan comes together.
Chris, please accept this as my way of saying thank you for your service and sacrifice. I am so glad that I could be part of this hunt and help a dream come true.
I'm thinking a genuine Wisconsin venison cook out is in order for lunch tomorrow.
I was recently invited by Hero Hunts to come to Kaplan, LA for a duck hunt. Hero Hunts put us up in a cozy bed and breakfast. I was able to hunt with them 2 mornings and boy howdy did I have a blast. Troy, Kevin, Justin, their staff and volunteers took very good care of me. I have recently dealt with some significant problems in life, and the hunt couldn't have come at a better time. Being in the outdoors has always been my personal therapy. Hero Hunts got me out in the duck blind and helped me forget about my problems and experience and that there are good things in life. We shared many laughs and two great mornings in the duck blind. The staff is very accommodating to individual needs and their goal is for you to enjoy yourself! They want to see you smile and have a great time. I'm very thankful to all of the staff at Hero Hunts and the memories made. All of us Wounded Veterans need to get in contact with Hero Hunts and get back in the outdoors! You will for a moment forget about your injuries and problems in life. Again, thank you to Hero Hunts and all their staff for such an incredible duck hunt. Hero Hunts rocks!
I came into Hero Hunts by accident. I was getting my hunting license renewed and got a card from the owner of the store that said Hero Hunts, so I called and that is now history. What I discovered was something I never would have imagined. I had given up hunting because of my injury I had in Vietnam in 1968. These people that work to make these hunts happen for us Vets; They need to be thanked. They are special folks. I now have something to look forward to until my last days come. Depression is a serious thing and it will come on a Vet and he will not notice what every one around him can see. Thanks to my daughter Helen, Mr Troy Coleman and all his people YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ME MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW!
My trip out with HeroHunts has reignited my love for the outdoors! Growing up I loved fishing and hunting, but never had anyone to show me the ins and outs. When I went with ya'll duck hunting, each and every person was always more than helpful to answer any question I had. I've been hunting everyday that I've not been at work since going out with ya'll. Thank each and everyone of y'all for my making my experience possible, teaching me to hunt duck, and the fellowship with new friends!
“Amelia Manor would like to thank you for the fishing outing you provided for our Veterans. Although it was hot, you made every effort to make sure our Veterans and everyone involved were comfortable. The food was great, the grounds were wonderful and our Veterans were catered to. It was so nice of you to take the time to let our Veterans know that they are appreciated. I felt privileged as I sat among our Veterans listening to them as they spoke with pride of their years of service for our country. Thanks again for making our Veterans feel special."
I recently was invited on a duck hunt and I had the time of my life. When we arrived we met several of the coolest guys who made us feel welcomed, like we belonged there. They presented us with a couple of hats from Spectra Shot, who provided our shells for the hunt. The hunt was absolutely awesome! The ducks might have been a little slow, but we had plenty of fun anyway. We bagged 8 ducks on the hunt. Afterwards, we were treated to an awesome hamburger meal at the local diner. We had the time of our lives and hope to do it again in the future. Thank you Hero Hunts!
Thanks for taking the time to bring us guys out to hunt duck. The hospitality was much appreciated.