Dear Mrs. Jennett,
Thank you for the awesome once in-in-a-lifetime opportunity of not only going to Canada but hunting a bear in Canada! I had an absolute blast! I have always loved hunting and the outdoors, but because I’m in a wheelchair, I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to hunt a bear. The first couple of days we saw some bears, but they were too little to shoot. It was really fascinating watching the cubs play because they were acting and playing exactly like human toddlers would. Each day, we saw bears, but they were either too small or too far away. Finally, on the sixth day, a decent-sized bear came up to our site. At first, he wouldn’t come close enough and would walk away. But he kept coming back. Each time, he would get a little bit closer to us. Then with only 9 minutes left to hunt, he came close enough for me to take a shot. My dad helped me set up and steady my nerves and I took the shot. It was a perfect shot – I had harvested my first bear! It was an experience that I will never forget. It was quite the adrenaline rush, and it took me at least 30 minutes to calm down. Darin and his son, at Bucket List Lodge, were amazing hosts and were incredibly kind and welcoming. Their cook, Jan, made some of the best food that I have ever eaten. Overall, it was the best hunting trip ever!
Benefit4Kids would like to thank Bucket List Lodge in Saskatchewan, Canada for helping us make Zachery's dream come true!
First of all I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity to go on this Alaskan hunting adventure. It didn't go quite as planned, but I had an amazing story to tell when I got back home
My mom and me left early in the morning to go to the airport. It was my first time being on an airplane it was exciting. When my dad and me got off the plane I could not wait to get started. First we to Jay’s and the owner gave me some really nice thing then he showed my dad and me around we saw some nice mounts they had on the wall. After went to Jay’s we went to this really nice loge called Edgetts Lodge that place was so nice I loved it. The lodge was really nice on the inside and it was big.
When were at Edgetts Lodge the first day I went fishing, on the second day we went for a walk around the land we saw some deer, and me and my dad walked right up on two porcupines and sat in a blind for a little while and dad saw a doe. Then my dad and me went to deer tracks ranch when we got there I meet some really nice people. They showed us around the land then we went hunting I saw a lot of deer. On the second we hunting in the morning I didn’t see any thing I could shoot. Then we went back to camp and eat some really good food then the land keeper Rich really nice guy let me shoot his pellet-gun and that was a lot of fun. After I shoot the gun the owner of the ranch took us to the eagles nest they let me drive and that’s how I got the nick name crash, nobody got hurt but the eagles nest its over looking a big swap it’s a deer blind and you can sleep in it to. So we got back to camp and got ready to go back out hunting. I was hoping that was going to my deer so when we got out there I was trying to get on some nice bucks but the coyotes kept scaring the deer away. So I stay and extra day to try get my buck but it was so hot the deer just weren’t moving so the last day there I shot a doe.
After my dad and I left Deer Tracks Ranch we went to a really cool place called Arrow Nation Ranch. As soon as we got there they were really excited to take us out on our first pheasant hunt. I couldn’t turn around fast enough to get on the pheasant’s but it was fun watching my dad shoot them. It was also fun watching the dog chip point the birds out because when he found the birds he would come to a stop and put his tail strait up and that’s how you know he got one. After we finished hunting we when back to camp we had some walleye that was some good eating. At the camp they had a slot machine and I played that a lot while we were there. The next day we were there we went out to try to get a black squirrel but we didn’t have any luck because there were to many leaves on the tree’s so we couldn’t really see them, so we went back to camp and grabbed our fishing pole’s went to a lake called bass lake we got to use this guy’s boat it was really nice. I caught a lot of fish out of every body we caught like fifty, but we only kept twenty-five blue gills. It started raining so we stopped fishing and went back camp we were going to eat the fish we all thought it would a good idea to put them in the pond that they have the camp. The next day we left arrow nation headed for home.
The second time I went to on Saturday for a long weekend Deer Tracks we had to leave the house earlier than the first time. It was fun time on the plane when we arrived at deer tracks at 10:30 and my dad and me were tired so we went to the lodge and took a nap for a couple hours. Then we eat dinner at three because we hunted in the evening so after we ate it was time to get ready after I got all dressed it was finely time to go get in our stand. When we got up in the stand the guide Bill got my dad and me all set up. Bill told me to look toads the swamp cause that where they’re laying at to keep cool till it starts to get dark. The first deer in the field was a doe then like five minuet’s later a ten point came in but he was to young to shoot he didn’t stay long. After the ten point left the deer gradually moved in but then the feeder went off and every deer was gone but they came back, so the Bill just for practice he had get sighted on one of the deer in the field. Then my dad said there’s buck coming throw the woods to the right of us he said he’s got white antlers then Bill said it’s eight pointer. The deer got to the field and Bill said where going to shoot him then Bill told me when he clears take him out, as I was getting sighted on him it took me like ten minuets cause I was shacking and my hart was beating so hard then Bill and my dad were telling me to calm down take and take a deep breath let half out and squeeze the trigger so I did and I killed it. I was excited I could wait to go see it but had to wait a few minuets to let finish dieing after they said lets go check it out I was out the door down the stairs the fastest and had been. When I got to it I was amazed I had never seen a deer that big it wailed 252 pounds. After I killed buck we hung out and goofed off for the last couple of days I got to squirrel hunt with this air pellet gun we got two red fox squirrels after that hung out and eat dinner with the guys before we headed for home then we went and got bags and ready to go back home. Tuesday morning we left at 6:30. I had the most amazing time ever at deer tacks and I want to thank Benefits For Kids. I cannot thank you enough.
This all started with someone Tyler nor myself knew very well, but he thought that this would be something that might be a great experience for Tyler. We cannot thank Chuck Lafoon enough for thinking of Tyler. Chuck had chatted with Joe Moehlman online at the Virginia Deer Hunter’s chat site, and then the ball got rolling. Joe contacted me and asked if Tyler would like to take a dream vacation in the great outdoors. I told him sure and put him in contact with Tyler. This turned out to be the best vacation I had ever had. Tyler and I had a great experience that we will not soon forget.
Tyler and I set out for a trip I will not soon forget. This was the first time Tyler or I had ever been on an airplane. We had no idea what to expect, but it was a wonderful ride. We landed in Detroit, Michigan and we were almost there! We had just a short plane ride to Flint, Michigan. When we arrived, a wonderful man named Al Baggett met us. We soon became good friends. From then on, we received the utmost hospitality from everyone.
We stopped at Gander Mountain to pick up hunting and fishing licenses. Al then pointed us in the right direction and we were off on our adventure. We headed for Jay’s Sporting Good Store in Claire, Michigan. Upon arriving at Jay’s, we met Jeff, who was the store manager. Jeff gave us a tour of the sporting goods store and we were able to admire some nice mounts. Before leaving the Jays, Jeff presented Tyler with some very nice gifts that I know Tyler will be able to put to good use.
After leaving Jays, we headed out to Edgett’s Lodge, a small piece of heaven a short distance from Cadillac, Michigan. We spent three wonderful days resting and taking in the local scenery. We took a nature walk and saw things we had never seen before, like two porcupine and black squirrels. We relaxed and had a peaceful time in a log cabin in the middle of the woods. The cabin was so nice it was hard to believe we were in a place like this.
Friday morning finally arrived, the day we had been waiting for. We had four days of hunting and fishing in front of us. We were now on our way to Deer Tracks Ranch where Tyler was going to go deer hunting. We arrived there around twelve noon and met a couple of the guides who work there. We also met back up with Al Baggett. We took time for Tyler to sight a gun and he did a great job. Bill, one of the guides, deserves a great big thank you for being able to get Tyler to relax and make good shots on the target range. We then had a late lunch, early dinner so that Tyler could start hunting that evening.
We set out for our evening of hunting and Tyler’s guide Dave and John the camera operator joined us. That’s right; John was filming the whole experience. Eastman Sports Show, seen on the Outdoor Network, was filming Tyler’s hunt to be possibly televised sometime next season. That is so cool!
We were still getting comfortable in the blind when Tyler saw the first deer of the night. A small doe had walked out into the field and then it was on. Deer after deer filed into the field from all sides, even right beside the blind. We really had to be still and quiet. As the evening wore on, we had a couple of nice deer come into the field. A nice buck had come into range, but there were so many deer in the field, Tyler could not get a clear shot. We waited until dark and returned to the lodge we were staying. This particular lodge was also a very nice place to stay. There were mounts of elk, moose, bear, and even mountain lion. We were so tired; it wasn’t long before we were ready for bed.
We got up around five in the morning to start our day. We met up with our guides and had a light snack so that we could get right into the hunting. However, there wasn’t enough room for me to fit into the blind with Tyler and his guide. (Did I mention the camera operator John with Eastman Sport Show?). Al and I took a seat in a loft over looking a small field where we saw some nice deer, hoping to hear a shot from Tyler’s gun.
Al and I had a long talk and I told him Tyler’s story, the compact version, about some of the struggles that Tyler had met head on, as well as, his accomplishments. Tyler suffers from cerebral palsy. Tyler has been through several surgeries. His last was when he was eleven and the doctors had to break both of his legs to straighten them. They also had to operate on his flat foot. All went well and within six months, he was riding a bike, which was the one thing he really wanted to do! Tyler also plays coach-pitch baseball. To see him accomplish things that most children take for granted is simply amazing. He is now 16 years old and in high school. Where have the years gone?
Tyler came back from his morning hunt to tell Al and me that he and his guide had seen some very nice deer, but they had not had any luck yet. During the time between hunts, the owner, Dave Tuxbury, took us on a tour of the ranch. Dave even let Tyler drive the golf cart. Tyler was having a blast! We road around looking at some of the amazing sights. Along the way, Dave asked Tyler if he knew where the brakes of the golf cart were. Tyler replied, “Sure, the big one on the left.” I was wondering what all this was about, and I was soon to find out.
We came up to the swamp and Dave had built a long bridge to the other side. As we started across, Tyler must have been nervous because he drove straight off the side! No one was hurt thankfully. John, the camera operator, helped Tyler and I and had us on our way in a jiff with no harm, no foul, just a good laugh! We finally reached our destination across the swamp and came upon an incredible house. A log cabin you could hunt out of as well as spend the night overlooking the swamp.
Also during our time between hunts, Tyler was able to get in some target practice. I also want to thank Rich, the caretaker of the ranch, who spent a lot of time with Tyler taking him for rides on the four-wheeler.
When we headed back out for the evening hunt, I set with Al in the blind that Tyler and I had set in during the first evening hunt. We saw some nice deer, heard some shots and hoped that the shots were from Tyler, but they were not. Tyler told me later that he had made a very hard decision during the hunt. Just before dark, he was lined up on a nice buck, but decided it was too dark to shoot. Boy was I proud that he made a good decision. I told him that was all part of hunting. There is always another day to try again.
We started out for the morning hunt and Bill was going to be our guide. We reached our stand in a log cabin blind before daylight. It was not long before we had some deer coming into the field. In the meantime, Tyler was becoming overheated. He had been a bit chilled the previous morning so had put on a couple extra shirts. So, he removed a shirt and took a nap. We sat there hoping for a nice buck, but none showed up. According to the guide, there had been some nice bucks the previous day, but we were not so lucky. Hunting goes that way, though.
Once Tyler got up from his nap, he opted to take a shot at a real nice doe that was still in the field. The guide helped him get his gun out the window so he could take a shot. It took him a few minutes to get straight, but when he did squeeze the trigger, the doe went straight to the ground. What a great shot he made. Again, he made me a very proud!
We came down out of the blind and went over to the deer. It was finished. Tyler was so happy, and I was so proud. Al came out and shared in the moment as well. We took a few minutes to take some photos and then took the deer back to camp. All, taking pictures with Tyler and the deer, had a great time. We stayed around long enough to eat another wonderful meal prepared by the camp cook.
We took off after breakfast to our final stop, Arrow National Hunt and Golf Club in Clare, Michigan. We met some very nice men who had given up much of their vacation time to host Tyler. We wasted no time and soon were on our way pheasant hunting. (I had really been looking forward to this part of the trip myself when I could get my gun out of the case and have some fun too.). Everyone tried to make it work for Tyler, but it was very difficult for him to keep his balance while turning on the birds. However, he did enjoy watching a black lab, named Chip, hunt and dad take out four of five birds. Chip even had one that he caught.
During our time pheasant hunting, Al received a call and had to leave for a family emergency. We said our goodbyes and were sad to see him go, but we understood. We stopped for the day as it had become too hot for the dog to hunt. We returned to the lodge were the cook, Mike, cleaned the pheasant we had killed and prepared them for dinner. The pheasant were excellent! We also enjoyed some walleye fish, a first for both Tyler and me.
We rose early the next morning to a wonderful breakfast and headed out for some light squirrel hunting. Unfortunately, we did not have any luck. Tyler and I had never seen black squirrels. We thought we would “give it a try”, but it proved to be a better day for the squirrels, thanks to all the leaves on the trees. After trying our hand at some squirrel hunting, we decided it was time to do a little fishing so, we loaded up the rangers four-wheel cart. I rode with Zane in the ranger and Tyler went with Chuck to the store fro bait. We arrived at Bass Lake where a friend of Chuck and Zane’s met us to let use his boat for the afternoon. We had such a great time catching blue gill. I had not caught fish like that since I was a little boy Tyler’s age. We could have kept fishing, but a shower came through so we decided it was time to go. We returned to the lodge for dinner and were served some wonderful “vinie burgers” which are burgers made from deer meat. They were great! Tyler almost finished off two, but I had to help with a bite or two!
The next morning we were on our way back home. We had such a great time; we hated to see this dream trip end! Thanks to so many good people…it’s hard to name them all, but I’ll try.
Dave, Jenn, Bill, Dave, Rich and the rest of the deer trackers
Everyone at Arrow National Hunt and Golf Club—Chuck, Zane, Brian,
Mike, Terry and Mike
This was the best hunting experience for Tyler! We cannot thank you enough!
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