By Greg Humphreys, Wildlife Biologist, Deltic Timber Corp.
Photo: Due to the generosity of Cedar Hill Hunting Club and Buckmasters, young Timothy Glasgow (far right) was able to travel all the way from Williamsport, Tenn., to Washington, Ark., and harvest his first deer.
-- During the summer of 2007, I received a phone call from the Cedar Hill Hunting Club. They were calling to inform us they were planning to host a youth hunt for a young handicapped hunter during the upcoming modern gun deer season. The club wanted to ensure it was permissible by Deltic for them to host this hunt, as well as to invite any company representatives to attend if they so desired.
Cedar Hill Hunting Club has 1,120 acres leased from Deltic and is located in Hempstead County just northeast of the historic town of Washington, Ark. Like most industrial timberlands, the habitat is primarily pine stands of various ages with mixed pine and hardwood corridors along major streams. This lease also has the unique attribute of having a significant amount of the land lying on blackland prairie soils that are incapable of growing pine. The blackland habitat supports unique flowering plants, tall native grasses, and also contains a significant cedar component, hence the club's name.
GENESIS OF THE IDEA
Club member Butch Miller and his friend Mike McKee were talking one day at work. Mike happens to be a member of the local Buckmasters chapter in Foreman, Ark., and has participated in many of the Buckmasters handicapped hunts that have taken place in and around the area. He was excited about being associated with those hunts and apparently that excitement rubbed off on Butch. Butch then took the idea to some of the club members, and this resulted in the Cedar Hill Hunting Club deciding to check into the process a little closer.
Photo: Mike Cranford with BADF poses with Tim and Timothy Glasgow. Timothy is holding a custom built bois d'arc box call that was given to him during his stay.
Cedar Hill then invited Mike McKee and Mike Cranford, the local president of the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation (BADF) chapter in Foreman, Ark., to their camp for a late season bow hunt in 2006 in order to talk more about it.
During that day of hunting, Mike Cranford was impressed with the habitat and other characteristics of the Deltic land the club was hunting. Encouraged by the fact that the lease had a fantastic all-weather road system built and maintained by Deltic and also the fact the club had numerous food plots established along these roads, he thought it would be a perfect place for a handicapped hunt. These two factors help to ensure that handicapped hunters can be easily transported to and from stand locations - a significant concern for many of them.
At one of the club meetings in early 2007, the potential for hosting a hunt was officially brought to the table for club discussion. By the end of that meeting, the club basically came to this conclusion: We're all fortunate and blessed to have good health, to have a good place to hunt, and to have good friendships. We want to share our good fortunes with those who are less fortunate. With that, they committed to hosting a handicapped hunt. The only decision left to make was whether or not they would prefer a youth hunter or an older hunter. After a small amount of discussion, the club decided to host a youth hunter.
HOW THE PROCESS WORKS
Armed with a commitment from the club that they were willing to host a hunt, Mike Cranford simply had to get on the phone and call the national director of the BADF to see if he could line up a hunter for them. Fortunately for the club, a new hunter's application had just arrived and was on the director's desk. It was from a young man named Timothy Glasgow who lives in Williamsport, Tenn.
Photo: Club members Tim Conner and Donny Hughes along with Timothy Glasgow before the first afternoon hunt in the AGFC's Bud Lift.
Timothy is 10 years old and suffers from spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect where the bones of the spine (vertebrae) do not form properly around the spinal cord. This defect can occur anywhere along the course of the spine. In Timothy's specific case, it forces him to wear a body brace to help support his weight on his legs.
Mike then updated the health information about Timothy to the club to see if they would be interested in bringing him in, or if they would prefer to find a different hunter. The club immediately felt like they had the facilities and set-up to accommodate Timothy perfectly. He would be a great hunter for them to host. Mike Cranford then called Timothy's parents to talk to them about his physical condition and needs, and also to see if he and his family would be interested in traveling all the way to southwest Arkansas to hunt deer. After a few minutes of discussion, the family accepted the club's invitation and the hunt was officially set up for Nov. 14-16, 2007. It was a relatively easy process.
For clubs that aren't fortunate enough to have a local Buckmasters chapter to help organize hunts as Mike was able to do, the process is a little different. Handicapped hunters submit their applications to the BADF. In like manner, potential hosts also submit their requests to the BADF. The BADF then primarily serves as the facilitator to link hunters and hosts via various methods of communication including list servers, phone calls, and/or emails.
In Timothy's particular situation, the SW Arkansas chapter of Buckmasters paid the bill for the gas needed to get him and his family from Tennessee to Arkansas. The money to fund this is collected at annual conservation banquets, not unlike those banquets many sportsmen attend by the NWTF or DU. Last year, the BADF banquet in Foreman generated $43,000 in donations.
From the total funds collected, half of the money is returned to the local chapter to be utilized for local benevolence (gas/lodging/meals for hunters, donations to children's hospitals, purchase of wheelchairs for individuals, etc.).
LET'S GO HUNTING
Timothy Glasgow made it to Hempstead County a little after lunch on Wednesday with excitement coursing through his veins. Accompanying him on the trip were his mother, Heather, his father, Tim, and his two younger brothers. After touring the camp, they then decided to check the zero of Timothy's gun. Club member Tim Conner helped Timothy get his rifle, a scoped H & R single shot .243, sighted in and accompanied Timothy and his father on every hunt they went on.
Wednesday afternoon they sat in an AGFC provided Bud-Lift stand and the conditions were a little tough. It was fairly windy that day and they didn't see any animals until around 4 p.m. At that time, two gobblers walked out into the road about 300 yards away. Timothy was able to watch them for a while though his scope before they eased on out of view. Later, right at dark, four deer walked out from the same location as the gobblers did. With the distance involved and the intensity of the wind, a shot at them was out of the question.
Photo: Butch Miller, who brought the original idea to the club, rides out of the woods with Timothy Glasgow and his deer.
The next morning they went back to the lift. The activity level dwindled from the evening before, with the only animal seen being a fairly decent buck that was also a long way off. After being asked if he felt he could make the shot, much to young Timothy's credit, he stated that he didn't feel like he could. Consequently, no other opportunity presented itself that Thursday morning.
Other hunters on the lease were seeing deer these first two hunts. From one tower stand in particular, there were tons of deer being seen. So a plan was devised to set up a ground blind about 40-50 yards from where most of these deer crossings were taking place. Tim Conner and other members erected the blind and cut several limbs to camouflage it before the Thursday afternoon hunt.
Just after lunch back at the Cedar Hill camp, more new acquaintances were being made. Several new camp members arrived to meet Timothy and his family, as well as Mike Cranford and his friend Dearil Jackson with the Ark-La-Tex Sportsman Outdoor Show. Dearil and Mike had been busy trying to film several of the 11 different handicapped hunts that were taking place around the area due to the focused efforts of the Foreman BADF chapter. They were hoping they could get some footage from this hunt, too.
After some great camaraderie at camp, during which Timothy was given several gifts from the Foreman BADF chapter, it was time to leave for the afternoon hunt in the ground blind. That afternoon, Timothy, his dad, Tim Conner, and Dearil Jackson were all sitting in the ground blind looking down the road and adjacent foot plot. Back 150 yards or so from them, myself and two other club members were in the large tower stand which allowed us to view any deer that might come out in front of the ground blind. More importantly, we could also see two additional food plots along the road that the guys in the ground blind could not see. We were both equipped with two-way radios, so any deer we might see we could tell them about.
As it got closer to dark that afternoon no deer were being seen. Then those of us in the tower stand saw three does come out into a food plot behind us and not visible from the ground blind. We quickly radioed the ground blind and informed them that we had three deer out in the food plot behind us. Since they had seen nothing from the ground blind all afternoon, they unzipped and began heading up the road toward us. Dearil was out of camera light by this time, so he just remained in the road right beside the ground blind. Timothy climbed onto his dad's back and they headed up the road to the base of our tower stand. The intention was that they could peak around the base of the stand and get a close shot at a nice big doe that was feeding less than 100 yards away.
After they made it to the base of the stand, their view was still slightly obstructed by several young pines growing there. Consequently, the hunters had to crawl out into the road in order to see the three deer that were feeding nearby. Unfortunately, as they were attempting to get stabilized for the shot, every deer spooked and dashed back into the woods. To add insult to the day's events, as Timothy was attempting to get a shot on those does, another doe came out and slowly crossed the road and food plot not 40 yards from the ground blind and Dearil who was still standing there in the middle of the road! Day two also ended with no shots fired.
That evening back at camp, a fine meal of spaghetti and salad had been prepared. After the meal, Timothy was presented with some gifts that had been donated by local merchants in Hope. Scott and Diane Townsend of Townsend Outdoors donated some camouflage clothing to Timothy and the Columbia Sewing Outlet Store also donated clothing to him. More good camp fellowship continued until the Glasgows headed back to the Arkansas Game and Fish owned Grandview Prairie Wildlife Management Area to spend the night.
Friday would be the last day of hunting opportunity Timothy would have. That morning, he would climb up into the tower stand and hope for things to work out. Despite his significant physical impairment, Timothy was able to climb, by himself, up into the box stand he was underneath the evening before.
Shortly after shooting light, a nice 15-inch 8 point buck stood in the road about 40 yards from where the ground blind was set up. Since Timothy was now sitting in the tower stand, this buck was close to 200 yards away. Despite his best efforts to try to steady himself for the shot, he couldn't get the crosshairs steadied on him and the buck eventually eased into the woods. After this occurrence, Tim Connor sat Timothy in his lap so that he could more easily look over the high walls of the tower stand.
About 25 minutes later, a doe came out from behind the stand. As the group was trying to get Timothy turned around and in position, they made too much noise and she bolted off. Timothy, as any hunter would be, was getting somewhat frustrated with his misfortunes. But just as it seemed like the darkest hour was at hand, a little sunlight beamed through. At 8:20, Timothy saw a deer standing near the feeder in front of them about 65 yards away. He quickly told the other guys in the stand about her. They all waited patiently for her to walk in closer to the feeder and give him a clear shot. It seemed like this took forever, as every time she would move, one of the feeder legs would prevent a clean shot.
After waiting for several minutes, she finally cleared every obstruction and provided an open shot. At the crack of the rifle, she bucked, ran right at them, and then vanished into the woods. Twenty minutes slowly passed and by this time, Timothy just HAD to know if he hit her. Tim Connor climbed down to go look for blood. After a brief search for evidence, Tim climbed back up in the stand and had to tell Timothy that he did not find any blood or hair where she was standing at the time of the shot.
After 30 more minutes in the stand, they had to leave to go attend a meeting being held at Grandview Prairie. Once Timothy and his dad left, Tim Conner went back to the feeder to look around a little more. He really felt that deer had been hit. After circling and walking trails for a little while, he finally found some blood. He immediately left the site, returned to camp, and called Timothy to tell him about it. About an hour passed before they made it back to camp to begin the tracking job.
Timothy's mother had her camcorder charged and ready so that she could hopefully film the recovery of her son's first deer. Timothy was allowed to be at the lead of the party that was attempting to find his deer. After slowly making their way through thick, briar-infested woods, Timothy was the one to spot his first deer! He had officially joined the ranks of successful deer hunters and nobody was more excited about that than him!
With the pressure now off, they decided to try one more hunt that Friday afternoon. It was pretty uneventful. The only live critters they laid eyes on were a big solid white housecat and one opossum. Nonetheless, his trip from Tennessee to the piney woods of southwest Arkansas was a big success.
For the 2008 season, club member Steve Burke and his family were so touched by Timothy's perseverance and attitude that they invited him back down to hunt with them on the lease. Steve also committed to paying the gas for the family on that trip and also to house them in his own home.
Relationships were formed and lives were changed by a few simple things. A simple conversation between friends at work to germinate an idea. A simple effort to make time in order to sit in a blind or stand and observe nature with someone. And finally, the simple fellowshipping and swapping of stories back at camp after a meal all led to memorable experiences for everyone involved.
However, there was nothing simple about the efforts the club put into hosting the hunt. Countless sacrifices were made by members of the Cedar Hill Hunting Club. Members used vacation time to guide a young hunter.
Members sacrificed deer stands. Members sweated while putting up blinds, planting food plots, and trimming shooting lanes. Members spent time calling, organizing, and working out lots of logistical challenges. But I can assure you that every single one of them wouldn't change a thing. The fact that they had never done anything like this before didn't intimidate them.
If you or your club has been inspired by this event, you may want to consider hosting a hunt like this. Give it some thought. If not, then perhaps you might consider taking a kid hunting for the first time. There's no doubt about it, all the individuals involved in an activity like this will tell you they have been changed for the better.
Editor's note: Thanks to Greg Humphreys and Deltic Timber Corp., for granting Buckmasters permission to republish "Going Above and Beyond." This article originally appeared in Deltic Timber Corp.'s spring 2009 Wildlife Journal newsletter. Visit www.deltic.com for more information.
Not A Buckmasters member? Join Now!
Buckmasters | GunHuntermag.com | Rackmag.com | BADF.org | YoungBucksOutdoors.com