Friday, May 13, 2011

Joe Shults - H.O.O.A.H.

The Pine Mountain Longbeards Chapters Wounded Warriors /
Wheeling Sportsman annual hunt was held in Campbell County
Tennessee again this year. I have been looking forward to
this hunt all year. Last year I was introduced to a program
called H.O.O.A.H (Healing Outside Of A Hospital). This
program is one of the finest and most needed programs that I
have ever had a pleasure of being a part of. After spending
2 years of quality time in blinds with 2 warriors and
hearing their stories of battle, pain and recovery I have
seen why this program is needed and how this program is
helping ! Last year I had the honor and pleasure of hunting
with Corpl. Catlin Mixon and this year it was RET. SGT.
Leroy White III. Both of these brave soldiers have fought
proudly to protect us and this great land! For that I am
grateful and proud of these fine soldiers.

The Pine Mountain Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild
Turkey Federation and C.O.R.A are the host of this event and
do an excellent job in doing so. It takes a lot of hard work
and organizational skills to put together such a event and
for that I salute these great organization's!

This year we were surprised with a visit from an Army
Apache helicopter. It was truly an awesome sight ! What a
piece of machinery it was. All the kids got to get there
pictures taken in it. I would like to give a special thanks
to Mike Trentham for taking those photos and helping get the
Apache there for this event!

Last year I met Leroy briefly but this year I got to get
to know him and hunt with him. He is not only a decorated
soldier but a really nice man and a true outdoorsman. While
we were hunting and Leroy was telling us of his war
encounters it would make the hair stand up on the back of
your neck ! With his many injuries and exposure to chemical
warfare he is lucky to still be with us. Leroy was telling
us about the H.O.O.A.H. program and what it has done for him
and that let us know real fast what a great program that
this is.

The morning hunt was a slow hunt with not a lot of
action. After the morning hunt we went in for lunch and all
the midday events that where planned. Around 2:30 we went
back out for the evening hunt. It really got hot with the
temperature reaching 81. We were not complaining since last
year it rained the whole weekend. After a few hours Leroy
spotted a bird coming into the food plot as I raised the
camera and zoomed in there were actually 4 birds and all
gobblers! As two of them spotted the Feather Flex decoys
they had to come in for a closer look. Big mistake!! As
Leroy got into position the gobbler gave him a perfect shot
I gave him the signal to take him and he wasted no time. The
gobbler dropped like a rock and the hunt was over! Leroy
was so excited and it was his biggest bird to date! It was
also the biggest bird taken during the hunt!

It was an honor to get to hunt with Leroy and once again
I feel like I have made a friend for life! I also got an
invitation to The White House for dinner! It just happens
to be in Savannah, Tennessee. When I go it will be proudest
I have will have ever felt as I walked through the door of
an true American hero! -Joe

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

John O'Dell - Spring Break

So I had to take a break from turkey hunting to take the family on our annual trip to Fort Myers Beach FL for spring break. My kids school spring break was late this year due to Easter being so late. Even though I was going to miss a few days in the spring woods I was really looking forward to this trip as we always have a blast on the beach looking for shells, swimming in the ocean, just relaxing on the beach, and fishing.

This year in particular was a great year for fishing! Jacob was up early with me every morning by 5:00AM to hit the beach. He had two goals for the trip this year. 1) He wanted to catch a big redfish and 2) he wanted to catch a shark. Early in the trip he was rewarded for waking up early by catching a big Fort Myers Beach redfish. Also by trips end we had hooked and lost several sharks (one giant that almost spooled our line off the reel) and on the second to last day lady luck shinned our way and he caught a nice bonnet head shark. Not to be outdone by little brother Madison got in on the great fishing action as well and caught the biggest speckled sea trout of the trip and the only pompano.

All in all it was a very relaxing trip for the whole family and I can’t wait to do it all again next spring!

Later this month Dave and I are headed to Saskatchewan for Bow Madness to hunt with Black Bear Island Lodge for my first ever spring bear adventure so stay tuned to the DOD journal to see how we do!