It’s a partnership set to make a real difference in real lives
I love to hunt white-tailed deer, among other game. Everything that revolves around this popular pastime culminates into a set of traditions that we hold dear. It’s incredible, really, and something quite difficult to express with words.
A Labor of Love
You see, my wife Peggy and I have been active members of the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) for a long time. This organization understands that the hunting population is getting older, and many kids simply do not have an opportunity to get outdoors. They lack the outlet to learn about hunting and fishing.
That is why Peggy and I are involved with DSC youth activities. It all started about six years ago when we were asked to host a youth hunt at our ranch. Of course, bringing people you’ve never met to stay at your place and hunt on your land seems like a large ask for a ranch owner. Still, after much planning, we hosted that first event through DSC’s sister organization — the Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation (OTF). We’ve hosted a group every year since. This year, we even hosted two.
We can’t do it alone, though. Our friends, Billy Williams and Mike McCormick volunteered for the past three years. They teach gun safety, firearms training, shooting practice, hunting basics, and shot placement. For a ranch owner, it’s fantastic to know each hunter is properly trained, which reduces the odds of a poorly-placed shot and wounding animals. Billy and Mike help prevent that.
Making a Difference
During the last event, we met at the ranch on a Friday evening, got everyone acquainted, settled into respective rooms, and conversed about the ranch. We even covered expectations, rules, and a hunt plan.
On Saturday morning, Billy went to stand No. 7 with Joseph and his father. Mike headed to stand No. 9 with Colten and his mother. With minimal acorns on the ground, deer hit feeders pretty hard. I told the kids the deer needs to look like me — have a gut and a big old head.
Around 7:20 a.m., I get a text from Mike — “Buck down.” I arrived at the scene, and Colten had bagged a mature 9-point buck. Everyone was excited about the deer and the perfect shot. Billy and Joseph saw plenty of deer that morning, but did not harvest one.
That afternoon, the hunters walked back to the stands, but at different locations. Billy and Joseph went to stand No. 8, which is a high-rise stand overlooking a mesquite flat. This was the perfect location to catch game out in the open.
Joseph hoped to at least see a hog. Those who hunt know animals don’t always follow the script, but Billy and Joseph had a huge solitary boar pass through. Joseph made an excellent shot on it.
Now hoping to fill a doe tag, they waited to see if an antlerless deer might step out. Sure enough, the deer showed up, and he harvested a mature doe.
Mike and Colten went to stand No. 5, and saw a lot of deer, but never spotted any hogs. Still, they had a great time watching plenty of deer. Everyone returned to camp for the evening, and all was well on the ranch.
On Sunday morning, we didn’t harvest any additional game. Still, everyone was thrilled about the hunt results and being out on the ranch. Overall, it was a great weekend of hunting. Taking out hogs and harvesting does is excellent for our wildlife management program. Plus, everyone had fun, and we helped two youngsters learn about the outdoors. That’s the real trophy.
Peggy and I truly enjoy hosting youth hunters and their parents out at our ranch. Hopefully, we will be able to continue spreading the word about this great initiative. The good news? So can you.
Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation Explained
The Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation (OTF) is an organization designed to recruit and educate new hunters. It teaches archery, camping, first aid, fishing, outdoor cooking, shooting, and general safety. It does this by introducing the outdoors to kids in both public and private schools, as well as providing grants.
To date, there are more than 250,000 graduates, from 500-plus schools in 34 states. The organization continues to educate 50,000 students per year. That translates to 9 million hours of education each year.
Today, Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation still teaches outdoor education, promotes wildlife conservation, and helps preserve our traditions in the outdoors. For those interested in helping with this initiative, free workshops and accredited teacher training program are available. Learn how you can help today by clicking here: OTF.
Get to know more about Mark Rose: Mark Rose Bio