This week we had the pleasure of doing another wounded combat veteran hunt through Support U.S. Armed Forces. As always, taking these war fighters hunting is the highlight of our season. Nothing we could ever do would pay these soldiers back for the sacrifices they have faced. But, it is a rewarding endeavor for all of us to say the least.
This year Dustin and Stephanie guided the hunts and were both successful. Dustin hunted the area of the ranch he always hunts on the far east side. On the first day the gobblers were acting very strange and unwilling to play fair. Dustin and his hunter MSgt Ben Alicea USMC (Ret) hunted very hard but never had an opportunity. On the second day things looked about the same until mid-morning Dustin found three toms together without hens. Dustin made some quick moves and did some serious turkey calling and brought all three toms to within gun range. Ben was able to take the best tom in the group. Stephanie experienced the same as Dustin on day 1. It looked like the birds were all behaving in the same way regardless of what part of the ranch was being hunted. Stephanie knew that there were a good number of toms in the area she was hunting and decided to return to the same area on the second morning. Stephanie and her hunter, LCpl Blake Markwell got in close on the roost. When the birds flew down they made their way to within gun range but were positioned wrong for the shot. Stephanie decided to let the birds walk away and reposition on them. This proved to be a very wise choice. On the second set-up Stephanie called the bird into seven yards where Blake took a beautiful gobbler.
Words will never describe the satisfaction in being able to provide these soldiers with a good time. The times spent in camp and in the woods are about as good as it gets for us. May God bless these men and of the others involved in keeping our country free.