Wounded Warrior’s Son Bags First Deer, November 7, 2011
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Witnessing a young man taking his first deer is always a heart-warming experience and this was especially true when that young man is the 13-year-old son of an Iraq veteran in the Wounded Warrior program. Sgt. Billy Deen, who is totally disabled, and his son Hunter arrived full of hopeful expectations after having read my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound.
“I told Hunter that we were going to learn some things on this trip, and it certainly turned out that way,” Billy Deen remarked after they both had been introduced to the CVA Electra .50-caliber rifle that Hunter was to use on the last day of Georgia’s muzzleloader season. This unusual rifle is the most advanced muzzleloader ever built and features electrical ignition, requires no primers, and is easy, although somewhat different, to operate.
Even though only 13, Hunter is large for his age and was able to handle the gun with an adult-level charge of 100 grains of Triple Seven Magnum pellets and PowerBelt’s new AeroLite 300-grain bullets. After father and son watched the buck slowly approach the blind from 200 and turn broadside 40-yards from the blind, Hunter became increasingly focused on the deer. He forgot that he had to turn the electric-fired gun on and wait for it to charge up before he could shoot.
“It seemed it took forever for that light to start flashing,” Hunter said. After that, he aimed at the deer and pulled trigger and the gun would not fire. The safety was still on. Coached by his father, he pushed the safety forward, re-aimed and nailed the deer with a shot through the shoulder. The deer ran about 40 yards and died at the edge of the field.
I arrived almost immediately, and we all walked up to the deer while I recorded Hunter’s excited remarks. For those moments he lost his characteristic microphone shyness, and this historic father-son experience was captured on radio. This included the traditional bloodying of Hunter’s face by his father and their jointly dragging the deer across the field.
The pair hunted the same food plot the following day, but no deer appeared. Nonetheless, both were more than pleased that Hunter had killed his first deer. The remainder of the day and the next morning were spent packaging the deer for the freezer and making a custom low salt, low pepper deer sausage. This was also recorded for the radio show, and highlighted the “Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound” aspect of deer hunting.
Because of the Electra’s unusual nature, I also go through the gun’s disassembly and cleaning on the show. Although the gun is no longer sold by CVA, the rifle is currently available for less than $200 through Sportsman’s Guide. Before purchasing the gun, make sure that it is legal for your state’s muzzleloading season. For more information about the gun, listen to my previous program, “Muzzleloading Marvels,” where you will hear an interview with Dudley McGarity, the president of BPI, the company that owns the CVA and PowerBelt brands.
If you are interested in the Electra go to www.sportsmansguide.com. In Nov., 2011, the guns were priced ranging from the stainless steel scoped gun at $209.97 – Club Price 179.97 to $188.97 – Club Price $161.97. This is the last remaining stock. Once these are sold, there will be no more of them; although CVA continues to offer support, accessories and repairs.
The pair left Sunday morning with frozen deer meat in their cooler and a cleaned and caped deer head ready for their taxidermist. Although dad was uncertain if he was going to have the head mounted, mom had no such doubts and told them over the telephone to, “Mount that deer.” As a precaution, I had skinned the head for mounting and these extra cleaning steps are described in the program.
During and following the Deens’ hunt I had been hunting with Cabela’s Buffalo .44-caliber
percussion revolver. This gun had taken five squirrels, but my one chance out of a dozen hunts for killing a close-range doe failed when the ball was deflected by an unseen twig.
To more fully consider the range of hunting possibilities offered to returning veterans, I also interviewed Chris Chaffin, who is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund. This organization arranges for both the specialized equipment and outdoor opportunities needed for paralyzed veterans to hunt deer, hogs and other game. For more information on the PVA and their hunting programs go to their website at: www.pva.org and www.pvaheritagefund.org.
The PVA has recently launched a new way for people to donate money to finance these hunts. Using a mobile phone, text “HERO” to number 25383. A $10 donation will be added to your next telephone bill. You may also contact Chaffin directly to offer hunts or for making larger donations by calling his office at (321) 729-0280 or his mobile phone at (321) 508-5500.
The Wounded Warrior program (AW2) is administered by the U.S. Army. This program offers a range of services to the nation’s most severely disabled veterans. Participants in the program must be recent veterans and have 30% disability in certain categories, which may be physical and/or mental injuries. For more information call toll-free to: (877) 393-9058 or send an E-mail inquiring about the program to: AW2@conus.army.mil. There is also a website at: http://wtc.army.mil/AW2/index.html.
New products introduced during this show include PowerBelt’s .50-caliber 300 grain AeroLite bullets for standard charges (80-100 grains of black powder equivalent) This bullet features a longer profile for less bullet drop and more retained energy at longer ranges. This new bullet significantly extends the range capabilities of .50-caliber muzzleloaders. Although this deer shot at 40-yards was certainly no test of long-range killing power, it made a .50-caliber hole where it hit the shoulder and blew a 2-inch hole through the shoulder bone sending bullet and bone fragments through both lungs for a very quick kill.
McKenzie’s Scent Fan Duffle is a bag with a fan designed to draw scents through hunting clothes. This may be used at home before a hunt to pre-scent clothes using natural pine or other scents (like the persimmon I use) from the hunting area. It may also be used to help dry clothes and re-scent them using a vehicle plug-in on trips to and from the hunting area. For information on this product go to: www.mckscent.com or E-mail McKenzie Outdoors at firstname.lastname@example.org.