By Larry F. Hart
At the age of 14, Jack Harvey is a walking miracle.
He’s also an accomplished hunter, thanks to the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation Heart of Texas Chapter.
Jack suffers from spinal bifida, a birth defect in which the baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly. The result is an incomplete closing of the backbone and the membranes around the spinal cord.
His condition was discovered at the time his mother was 14 weeks into her pregnancy. Surgeons conducted surgery microscopically to cover the nerves outside of his spine. Placed back into the womb, he continued to develop until almost full term when he was born via Caesarian section.
When Jack was born, his feet curled back to his legs and doctors believed he would never walk, because around 98 percent of children born with spinal bifida never walk and are bound to a wheelchair. Children born with spinal bifida also do not have a very long life expectancy.
However, Jack and his family met one surgeon who believed Jack could walk, and he underwent several orthopedic foot surgeries and spent months in rehab. The surgeries and rehab were successful, and Jack has been walking for several years now.
He has also developed his upper body strength and successfully competes against adults in wheelchair games, often winning awards.
When the request for a Life Hunt for Jack was made to the BADF Heart of Texas Chapter, the answer was yes.
Jack’s dream hunt was sponsored by longtime BADF-supporter Don Gillchrist, who owns the G2Ranch in Pearsall, Texas.
During the hunt, which occurred Jan. 23 and 24, 2016, Jack was able to harvest a 15-point mature south Texas buck.
Jack’s buck scored 158 2/8, however it appeared another 14 inches of antler had been broken off during the heavy rutting activity on the ranch. His guides realized if Jack had been able to arrive at the ranch earlier in the season, the buck’s score would have been more.