The annual SCI “Hunts for Warriors” and disabled hunters project for 2012, was a big success. Thanks to the combined efforts with; Chairbound Hunters-Utah Chapter (non-profit organization), Safari Club International-Utah Chapter, Garrett Hunting Services, and all the wonderful volunteers to make this an amazing hunt for 1 wounded war veteran and 4 chairbound hunters. This year’s project and hunt on January 14th, 2012 included a day-long event, for the indigenous and often aggressive hogs in Castle Dale, Utah. This was one of those days that you have to question the weather and if the unusual sunny and warm day in January, wasn’t for a reason. Being around these brave and dedicated disabled hunters really makes one appreciate what we often take for granted.
The group consisted of approximately 25 people including;
• Ryan Johnson – Quadriplegic, sports injury 13 years ago. Lives in Orem, Utah - Life-long Hunter. Single dad with 16-year old son.
• Lance Hunt - Quadriplegic for 2 years from St George, Utah. Expert archer before accident rolling a big rig and fracturing his neck and back. Loves all kinds of hunting. Married with children.
• Vance Anderson - Paraplegic for over 40 years from Ogden, Utah. Active wheelchair racer, wheelchair basketball player, retired family counselor and now a counselor to younger wheelchair candidates. Married with 2 grown daughters and grand children.
• Justin Fuller - Paraplegic from truck accident 11 years ago. Life-long hunter with help from family and friends and the Safari Clubs. Recently married.
• David Gardner (Wounded Warrior) from Springville, Utah. Had right leg amputated from accident in Iraq five years ago. Loves archery hunting. Married with 3 young children.
Our day began with everyone meeting in the town of Castle Dale, Utah and soon we were off to the hunting location. It was quite the sight, to see such a caravan and gathering of 4x4 trucks, 4-wheelers, side-by-sides and a jeep. Once set-up and a general plan discussed, the group headed out to scout and locate some hogs. This process did not take long, but considering the nice weather and time of morning, we had to move fast before the hogs were off to bed down. It was no more than 30-minutes that we located the first two hogs from a higher bluff, while scoping the lower terrains. Shortly afterwards, the first two hunters were successful in harvesting both animals. During this samespot-and-stalk process, the group had also managed to spot two more hogs in the upper field. As the two first hunters, with their supporting group progressed to get their hands on their downed trophies, we could hear the shots of success echo through the valley. Two more hogs were now successfully taken.
Now, it was time for David Gardner our Wounded Warrior, to make it happen on a spot-and-stalk with his bow. After locating a loaner dominant hog in the North field and willows, David was off for the sneak attack. David was very dedicated and convinced this was the hog he wanted. After several methodical and careful stalking maneuvers, David was able to place his first shot and arrow, perfectly broadside. However, it soon became clear this big hog wasn't going down without a fight. It was not until a few more missed shots, and one more hit that David decided he would have to resort to his rifle. However, even the rifle was having a difficult time to bring down this hog. But, with great enthusiasm and commitment from David, he managed to finally knock the hog down. We now had our 5 hogs on the ground, and before noon. When we got back to base camp, Safari Club International provided a great lunch for everyone, stories were exchanged, pictures were taken and then the hogs were transported to the butcher for final processing.
Thank you to our SCI Utah supporters and members, the Chairbound Hunters organization and Owen Garrett for making this project, a success. This along with future projects, clearly displays and enforces the commitment of Safari Club International’s charter and mission; Wildlife Conservation, Camaraderie, and Community Service - Promoting a positive image of hunters and impact to our local community.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2012 DISABLED HUNTERS!!!!!!!!