Sunday, October 16, 2011
Yesterday I had a fantastic time pheasant hunting at the Fairbank Rod and Gun Club (FRGC) with the Western Pennsylvania Wounded Warrior Group. This is the first year for the FRGC disabled hunt, but hopefully it becomes an annual event!
Once again Jeff and Hayes came early to my home and picked me and my trailer up for a great day of hunting. We arrived at the club about 9:00, and met several of their officers and members in the parking lot of their beautiful club.
The club has several stocked trout ponds, a 3-D archery range, a 200 yard rifle range as well as a clay pigeon range. It's one of the best Rod and Gun club's I have ever been to personally.
The wind was kicking up and the temperature was in the high 40s, thankfully they had hot coffee and doughnuts inside the clubhouse. We all gathered there to discuss the procedure for the pheasant hunt, go over safety procedures and get partnered up.
There were several hunters in manual wheelchairs, I believe I had the only power chair. Hunters in manual wheelchairs were loaded into the backs of pickup trucks and I was loaded onto my trailer, which we connected to a 4 Wheel drive pickup.
My partners for the day who would be assisting me were, Jerry, Bob, and Bruce. I could not ask for a better group of guys. We had never met before but were sharing hunting stories right from the get-go. These were my kind of hunters, safe, ethical and understood the real trophies were the shared hunts with family and friends not the animals taken.
It wasn't long before I was at the first of 10 stations, they assisted me getting my shotgun loaded and into position. As the first Rooster flew by in the high wind, I pulled the trigger crank for the 1st time on a pheasant since I was 15. Wow, what a rush... also what a miss.
This same procedure went on, with my new friends loading my shotgun, getting it into position, driving the truck to the next location. Birds flying over and me missing. About halfway through Bob pointed out a pheasant walking through the corn, presenting a clear shot for this quadriplegic! I was finally able to cash in and harvest a pheasant!
The great news was everyone in the entire group was able to harvest at least one pheasant. That's no easy feat considering all of our differing disabilities.
When all of the stations were completed we returned to the clubhouse for a great lunch. Pictures were taken, stories exchanged and e-mail and phone numbers were given to new friends.
It was a tremendous day, hunting with all the volunteers who were willing to give up their Saturday for individuals with disabilities. I would like to thank the Fairbank Rod and Gun Club, the WPA Wounded Warrior Group and Pheasants Forever for a special day.