Veteran Hunter, Russell Terrian with Leon Low.
By: Randy Raymond
Our first hunter was John McLaughlin, a four and a half year veteran from the Marine Corps. This hunt took place at A.J. Wildlife owned by Dr. Alan Bugai. Once again Dr. Bugaigave us a great price on an awesome buck. Helping out on this hunt was Blaine Bailer, a manager at Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare and Mark Newcomb from MM Meats located near Loomis.
John was hunting with a cross bow making the hunt a lot more interesting. John used Dr. Bugai's crossbow making it even more of a challenge because he had never shot this bow before. After a few lessons with the crossbow, John was ready. When the time was right this buck gave John a standing forty yard shot. With one well placed arrow the hunt was almost over. Everyone knows that's when the work begins. Drag the deer to a good spot for field dressing, drag the deer to a vehicle and load it. This is where Blain Bailer and Mark Newcomb helped out.
John was very grateful for this hunt. He also donated the meat from his buck to our SCI Sportsman Against Hunger, Mike Strope from our Humanitarian Services handles this. Mike went to MM Meats and picked up the meat from John's buck and donated the processed meat to different services in our local area.
Our next hunter was Kevin T. McDevitt, hunting at Smokey Tree Preserve, owned by Carrie and Frank Haywood. Another great buck for our veteran at a great price.
This hunt started on a cool fall day, setting in a blind by a clearing with a pond nearby. There was lots to watch while waiting on a deer to show itself. Ducks and geese were flying in and out making the time go by even faster. Soon a deer appeared out of nowhere, it seemed. He was just behind the blind and then another buck appeared. They just stood frozen forever not wanting to move. Kevin handled this very well waiting for a perfect shot and finally the biggest buck moved forward and Kevin made the shot. This was an awesome buck! This deer had a double main beam on one side of his rack.
Neal Saylor was along on this hunt. He was one of last year's veteran hunters wanting to help anyway he could.
Kendall DeVuyst, the new owner of The Trophy Room Taxidermy located in Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare gave Kevin a special Veterans discount on mounting his buck.
The next hunt was with Mike Brown and Larry Finkeeiner. These guys grew up together and served in the Army and went to Vietnam together. Mike Brown was the first to hunt. Leon Low donated this hunt for a 130 to 150 inch buck. Low's Trophy Whitetail Ranch is located near Falmount. He has a large hunting area with full service.
Mike wanted to upgrade his hunt to a larger buck after seeing a big non-typical. Leon gave him a great discount for this larger deer. Mike's hunt was a two day hunt.
Larry Finkeeiner was hunting next after Mike's hunt. Larry wanted to shoot a larger buck but I only had $1,800 left in my budget. Larry's hunt lasted four days. Leon, Mike, Larry, and myself were in a blind together for all this time. There were lots of stories and lots of deer being seen. Larry wanted to shoot different ones. The bucks were either running chasing does in the thick cover or at a bad angle. Finally on the fourth day, Larry connected on a large buck. Leon Low let him shoot a much larger deer than our budget allowed. A special thank you to Leon Low.
By: Randy Raymond
Once again Mid-Michigan SCI sponsored the Disabled Veterans Hunt. This hunt takes place every year at the Tails a Waggin' Acres Hunting Preserve, usually at the end of September. This year the hunt was a four day event. Chuck and Joan Connell are owners and operators of Tails a Waggin'. The event includes five pheasants per hunter and an all day buffet.
The event is growing every year. This year Michigan Out of Doors was there with a film crew. In The Crosshairs Hunting, an outdoor television productions was also filming.
The weather was excellent for bird hunting on all four days. Lots of help from volunteers from cooking to planting birds and anything needing to be done. There were lots of donations. Teal Saylor, a retired Army Veteran, had donations from a boot factory and was handing out free boots to any veteran that wanted a pair. We as a group, Mid-Michigan Chapter of SCI, sponsored over ten veterans on this hunt. Each hunter cost $70.00. The money for our donations comes from our fundraiser that takes place every year. Our fundraiser is a two day event raising money for many different things from food for the hungry to shooting sports. Lots of great things promoting hunting.
Once again we had some of the best hunting dogs on the planet. Their trainers are unchallenged. Pointers, flushers, dogs from Labs to Setters, this was a real treat to watch, these dogs and trainers in action.
Lots of birds hit the ground. Some real great shooting was taking place. There was a veteran from every branch of service from World War II to the present day. Some had to use power chairs that were provided. These chairs are awesome. I couldn't believe what they would go through. Everyone had a great time at this event. Stories from Boot Camp to Deer Hunting were told. No one complained about a disability, only laughter and how grateful they were for our sponsorship of this event.
There was a cleaning station provided for all birds taken. There was lots of help cleaning and bagging birds.
All ammo was provided and if anyone needed a shotgun, Chuck Connell had loaners available.
This was a great event and I was glad to be a part of it. Many thanks to all SCI members and non-members that come to our fundraisers to help promote these events.
Thank you to all our service men and women for their service to this great nation. Remember Freedom isn't Free. God Bless You All.