The Logan Area Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (LAC) and Mingo Logan Coal Company (MLCC) recently teamed up to host their 3rd annual Nathan Baisden Memorial Hunt. The Wheelin’ Sportsman Outreach program started several years ago as an initiative to get handicapped and physically challenged hunters back into the woods and chasing game.
It didn’t matter whether it was turkey, deer, squirrels or a passing brace of mourning doves, as long as they were outside pursuing the passion of the outdoors. Through this project and many others like it, many hunters who may have thought they couldn’t get out in the field have found out that they can and they’re having a great experience doing it.
Three years ago the Logan Area Chapter stepped up to the plate and they haven’t looked back. This year the hunters were chosen from several sources and ranged in abilities and capabilities, but all were ready for a great time hunting. The Outdoor Dream Foundation, who helps to get critically ill youngsters into hunting, have brought hunters from as far away as Georgia for this special hunt.
Each and every day these hunters face hardships and battles that most people can only hope they never have to face. The LAC and the many volunteers from MLCC worked tirelessly to make sure that, at least for a short time, the hunters would just have to sit back and enjoy some time outdoors.
Thanks to many generous local sponsors, they were able to pull it off and each hunter spent a lot of time smiling and laughing and even bagged a few trophies to take home with them. They also took home plenty of memories of another great day spent in the hunting camp.
With the West Virginia hunting seasons in full swing the hunters had a wide range of game animals to choose from and several were lucky enough to harvest a variety of game. There were several deer and turkeys harvested. One hunter even got the chance to take his first mourning dove.
Hunting wasn’t all there was to do. The hunt featured a meet and greet on Friday evening and a huge bonfire on Friday and Saturday night. While not in the woods the hunters honed their skills with target practice, archery tackle and even a little skeet shooting.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the food. There was plenty of food to be had all weekend long. Frank Robinette, one of the organizers of the event, notes, “We can’t thank our sponsors enough. These guys provided the food and drinks for the weekend and came out to lend a huge hand. Great companies like the Coke Distributor in Logan, Bad Boys Barbeque and Genos Pizza covered most of the food. There were numerous other sponsors like Bilco Construction, Family Discount Pharmacy and the Thornhill Family. And a bunch of other sponsors pitched in to help make this hunt a success.”
They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it sometimes takes an army to put on a good hunt. Luckily, volunteers are easy to come by when the hunt is for such a deserving bunch of hunters as these Wheelin’ Sportsmen were.
Not only was every volunteer eager to see the hunters successful, they even put off their own time hunting to make sure the hunters had every opportunity to succeed. Battling diseases like cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, and even spinal trauma are enough to make any person weary, but when you can push those ailments to the back of a hunter’s mind and get them focused on a hunt, it is a rewarding endeavor every time.
The Nathan Baisden Memorial hunt is one of the great events the LAC hosts each year and the organizers have already started making plans for next year’s hunt. If you get the opportunity, don’t wait until next year to help someone go hunting that might not otherwise get the chance. You might have to give up your day of hunting, but it might be their ONLY day of hunting this year.
Get out there and help them enjoy it while they still can. It is a long season and there are opportunities every day, but the ones we share with others are always the fondest memories.