SCI Georgia hosted the first hunt honoring 12 wounded veterans in December 2014. The weekend event, timed to coincide with the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the peak of the rut, began with a dinner at the VFW lodge and continued through the weekend with the American Legion providing cooks for a traditional catfish fry and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary acting as chefs for the Saturday lunch.
The veterans were sent to hunting clubs via a random drawing. Blinds were built at ground level to accommodate the veteran’s needs and to increase their chances of taking a deer or wild hog. The hunting clubs also provided lodging and meals for the participants. Many of the hunting club members gave up their own hunting time to make sure the veterans had a successful hunt and a memorable experience. For veteran Martin Fox, it was a hunt of a lifetime when he took a trophy buck at Watts Plantation. Michael Watts had been watching the buck grow and when he and Martin were in the field, Michael told him to take the shot. The buck was dubbed “The Warrior” and may be the biggest deer taken in the county and the 7th biggest in the state. Martin’s luck held as he was the proud winner of a new rifle in the prize drawings. By the end of the weekend the veterans had taken two hogs, three does and four bucks.
The closing event was held on Sunday night and was emceed by Louis Cole, President of the Georgia chapter and son of organizers Raymond and Eunice Cole. Also in attendance were Bryan Carraway, President of the SCI Mississippi chapter, Laird Hamberlin, SCI Vice President and Dick Caillouet, of the National Wounded Veterans Outreach Program. Each of the veterans thanked their hosts for providing an experience they would always remember. Plans are already underway for next year’s hunt.