Wounded Warrior Hunt
February 1, 2010 09:40 PM
The 6th annual Wounded Warrior hunt took place at Oakridge Ranch on Saturday, December 12th and was co-sponsored by Oakridge Ranch and the TDHA to give back to the women and men that were wounded in combat while serving our great nation. Our TDHA president and organizer of this event, Douglas Mason, as well as other members, and the 20 veterans from the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps were present for the event. Oakridge Ranch residents were also present and were generous enough to give their time, open their homes, and properties to the soldiers for their hunts. Some of our members also brought blood trail dogs in case they were needed.
Foul weather plagued the event but everyone was all smiles and spirits were high as the day kicked off. After breakfast the soldiers were taken to their blinds for the morning hunt. First to make it back with his harvest was Casey Nowlin, of the Marine Corp and his guide Steve Cash. He was the youngest Warrior in attendance at 20 years old. This was Casey’s first hunting experience and he was fortunate enough to harvest a nice doe. I’m happy to report that Casey made it very clear this wouldn’t be his last. Another soldier Earl “Luke” Lucas, 29 years of age, is serving in the U.S. Marine Corp and harvested a doe on both his morning and evening hunt. I asked Luke, “What was the most valuable part of this hunt for you, and you’re fellow Warriors?” he replied, “It got me back into the outdoors. It also lets us know that what we do is appreciated. Residents went out of their way to make sure us felt welcomed and made sure that we had a successful hunt and I can’t thank them enough for that.” Felix Portillo, who serves with the U.S. Army, was the first back with two animals harvested. He wasn’t in the stand more than 15 minutes when he harvested his first doe and buck.
At lunch, Mr. Jim Trickett gave a speech thanking the soldiers for all that they have given to us and our country. It was a very emotional experience for all involved as some of the soldiers shared their stories and gratitude for us standing behind them and showing them so much support.
Some of the Warriors and the TDHA members also went to Doug Mason’s for a Hog Dog demonstration. They were very excited about the opportunity to see the dogs work and catch some hogs. The demonstration was a tremendous hit and the questions were endless. It was a great chance to show what working dogs are all about and expose new comers to the sport. Thanks Mr. Mason and the TDHA members that helped with the demonstration.
Steve and Brenda Harlan, Oakridge Ranch residents, were generous enough to offer up their home for the skinning and deer check in station for the event. After talking with Mr. Harlan and finding out he himself was a veteran, I asked him, how special was this event for him? He responded, “It means a great deal to me, to be able to give a little piece back to these soldiers, and I’m honored to be able to help them anyway we can.”
Douglas Mason had this to say of the event and its history, “This event started some six years ago with only five hunters the first year and I am very pleased with the growth and success of the Wounded Warrior event. We’re able to take them in like family, and the property owners were able to get donations to give to the soldiers, like this year Men’s Warehouse donated sweatshirts with the hunt logo. Jerry Rodgers with CBI donated all the coolers so the hunters can take their animals back with them and share the harvest with their families. Doug Jeskey donated ice and helped cook the brisket along with Ray Pool. They also got fishing rods, blankets, and caps donated as well with some help from friends. The event is special because we get a chance to talk and interact with the “Wounded Warriors” and show them our appreciation for their service to our country.”
Jim and Caroline Trickett, who have been involved for the last 4 years of the hunt, were “very sad to see them go. The whole community comes out and shows there appreciation, and it really makes you feel good.” They were very pleased with the turn out as well, and stated that “it was the largest involvement from Oakridge Ranch since the hunts inception 6 years ago, and only see it growing each and every year.”
In all there were 14 deer and 4 hogs taken by the hunters. It was a great time had by all despite the adverse conditions. The tremendous sacrifice made by not only them, but there families as well is something no one should take lightly. Oakridge Ranch and the TDHA would like to thank Oakridge residents, Men’s Wharehouse, CBI, and everyone that was there to help make the event so much of a success.
If you would like get involved with future events or even put on a hunt of your own visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org for more information.
Article by Jordan Faust
Texas Dog Hunters Association Unleashed Newsletter