2017 Lansing Area Chapter Wish Hunts
by Jim Leonard, Lansing Chapter Member
Wish Hunts for Two Youth Hunters
This year our Chapter took two deserving young folks on a cold but successful deer hunt. Their hunts took place at the same beautiful ranch we have gone to before about twenty miles north east of Grayling. It still has lots of big deer to see but sports a new name, Cedar Hollow Lodge and Outfitters.
The hunt was in conjunction with the Foundation for Hope Outdoor Adventures and took place November 9th through the 12th, much later than previous years.
There were five hunters total; our two live in Michigan and three others; Emily from Virginia, Chris from Pennsylvania, and Brock from Mississippi.
Alec loved the Wish Hunts
One of our Chapter hunters is 9-year-old Alec who lives with his mother Jessica near Perry. Chapter member Larry Witte recruited him. Larry recently moved into an assisted living facility in Haslett where Jessica works. Janet and I took them shooting at a local range before the hunt and they both shot very well. They also had just passed a hunter safety course so Alec was ready.
Our other hunter lives in Suttons Bay near Traverse City. Kathleen is 18 and a High School Junior. She is a real sweet heart; wheelchair bound with minimal arm usage and communicates with a computer device like Steven Hawking. Like she says, ”I am smart with a broke body”.
Everyone arrived at the Lodge late Thursday morning. The hunters were briefed on how the wish hunts would be conducted, assigned guides, and presented with hunting gear and an Apple I Pad. The tablets were loaded with the hundreds of photos taken during the stay before they went home.
After Lunch and a session at the range with their guides, they were all ready for their first evening in the blinds. The temperature was around ten with wind and light snow. Needless to say, when they all got back after dark they were COLD! Brock had made a nonlethal shot and the others did nothing but shiver.
Friday morning no one connected but Friday night Kathleen got a nice 13-point buck. Yahoo!! Saturday morning Emily got her buck and the guides found Brock’s deer from Thursday night. Chris and our Alec still had not connected and they were going home the next day!
I don’t know why every year we are put through this anxiety of worrying that maybe they will not be successful. You can see the building disappointment on the kid’s faces. To add to my and Janet’s stress, I had to go home Saturday afternoon to be ready early Sunday morning to meet a friend and drive to our own hunting camp in the UP for the Michigan deer season.
The report Saturday night was that Chris got his deer but Alec was still empty handed. Sunday morning was his last chance. This was like Michigan State being on the 40 yard line, behind in score and 5 seconds left to play. Only a “Hail Mary” could pull it out. Well, Alec had that “Hail Mary” in his pocket.
HE GOT HIS BUCK SUNDAY MORNING! WHEW!!!!
These kids had a ball and they so deserve it. Thanks to all who attended our last Chapter Fundraiser because only you made these hunts possible. Alec and Kathleen both plan to join us at our fundraiser next March so please attend and meet these two great people.