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NWTF Helps Veterans with Disabilities Enjoy Special Deer Hunt
posted November 18, 2008
EDGEFIELD – Thirty hunters with
disabilities from across the Southeast enjoyed two days of sharing
stories, lots of laughs and some white-tailed deer hunting during the
eighth annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF Ultimate Team-Up, held Nov. 12 to
Nov. 13, 2008, at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s headquarters in
The event paired veterans with disabilities with experienced hunting
mentors and gave all participants an opportunity to forge new
friendships and enjoy time afield.
Since its founding in 1973, the NWTF has made continual advancements in
its mission of wild turkey conservation and protecting America's
hunting traditions. Its Wheelin' Sportsmen NWTF outreach program
provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in
outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing and archery.
Other partners in the event included the Disabled American Veterans,
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Columbia, S.C., Primos Hunting
Calls and Ameristep Hunting Blinds.
One pairing at the Ultimate Team-Up included Clint Jones, who is
stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., and was injured by shrapnel
while serving in Afghanistan, and Benny Smith from Anderson, S.C.
The duo shared a hunting blind just outside of Edgefield, and Clint
used Benny’s .30-06 rifle to bag a nice doe at dusk.
“My hands were shaking the whole time,” said an excited Jones, who
immediately called friends and family to spread the good news as soon
as he was able to get a cell phone signal. “This is awesome to
come out here and take part in something like this.”
The two shared mutual excitement with other hunters back at NWTF
headquarters as they admired the day’s harvest. Just hours
before, many of the men had been strangers, but after a couple of hours
of experiencing the fellowship of hunting they were buddies.
“I told Clint my gun was sighted in straight and true, and he didn’t
miss,” said Smith, patting his new friend on the back. “He might have
been shaking like a leaf the whole time, but he didn’t miss. I
just want to say thanks to the NWTF and their partners for making this
happen, as well as the local landowners for letting us hunt on their
Illana Burkhart, Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF program coordinator, said that
seeing the enjoyment on peoples’ faces as they experience the thrill of
the outdoors is one of the most satisfying parts of her job.
“Getting people involved and helping them discover a new hobby, or
rediscover something they loved to do before an injury is really
rewarding,” said Burkhart. “The NWTF has always been a proud
supporter of our servicemen and women and their families, and this is
just our way of showing our appreciation for all that they do for our
country. We also want people to know that just because they have
a disability doesn’t mean they have to give up a way of life that they
To learn more about Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF contact Brian Purtymun at
or visit http://www.wheelinsportsmen.org.
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without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
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