The Special Youth Challenge Ministries annual deer hunt was held this past weekend in Northwest Iowa. I was able to participate in this year's hunt as a hunting guide for one of the youth hunters. It was an AWESOME weekend and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!
I flew out of Dallas on Friday morning bound for Omaha, then made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Webb, Iowa. When I arrived Friday afternoon, several of the youth hunters had already shown up and were taking some target practice with the specialized equipment they would be using during the hunt. Each of the hunters was equipped with a shotgun that was outfitted with a scope, camera, view screen, and push-button trigger mechanisms.
The banquet was held on Friday evening. After a delicious smoked pork meal, all of the hunters were introduced and brought on stage, and a Christian speaker from the Mathews Archery company (who was also a ventriloquist) gave his personal testimony and preached the Gospel.
Saturday morning the hunt began, and I was hunting with fellow guide Mike Hanson and youth hunter Cory Gates from Michigan.
We ended up not seeing any deer Saturday morning, and Saturday evening was very slow as well with only two does coming in really late, just past legal shooting hours. Sunday morning proved to be a little better as we had four does come in to the food plot we were hunting. I helped Cory get the gun lined up to make a shot, and we hit one of the does.
After waiting for about 45 minutes we began the tracking job. We followed a good blood trail for about 75 or 80 yards and then we bumped the deer - it ran off ahead of us and up a ridge. It appeared to be moving pretty slow, so we decided to back out for a few hours to let the deer expire. We went and had lunch then came back with some other guides to help us look for it. Five of us spent the better part of the afternoon looking for the deer and we only found about three more drops of blood. Unfortunately we never found the deer. I hate that we weren't able to locate it, but sometimes that happens.
There were a total of 20 youth hunters participating in the event and 11 deer were harvested. Here are a few pictures I took of some of the hunters with their deer they brought in.
Overall, the weekend was a wonderful experience. I was amazed at the outpouring of love, time, money, land, and other various resources that all of the volunteers contributed to make the event such a success. It is my understanding that several people prayed to receive Christ as their personal Savior through this event, and that is what it is all about. It was an incredible event to be a part of and I look forward to participating in future SYC events!