Bowhunting.com Submit your photo

It Just Keeps Getting Better

by Daniel James Hendricks 28. January 2012 04:41
Daniel James Hendricks

It has become an United Foundation For Disabled Archers (UFFDA) tradition for the participants of each hunt to walk around at the end of the year’s event scratching their heads mumbling to themselves about how they didn’t think it could get any better than this year. But sure enough, the next year comes and that hunt miraculously turns out to be by far the best one yet! Well rest assured that after reading and hearing reports from the 2011 Camp Wilderness and Camp Tesomas events that fine tradition has once again been carried on. This year’s events were the best ever for both the Minnesota and Wisconsin crews. And to both  teams I tip my hat and offer a hearty congratulations for all of the hard work, excellent spirit and stellar results.

The Camp Wilderness hunt celebrated its 17th consecutive year by hosting 32 hunters over a beautiful weekend that culminated Saturday with the biggest and most successful banquet we have ever had. The facility was packed to the seams with hunters, UFFDA staff, landowners, kids and a lot of folks that just came to camp for the evening to see what all of the excitement was about. By night’s end, the great food, hearty laughter, the emotional highs and excellent deals garnered on the auctions brought the 2011 hunt to a jubilant close. The next morning as the tired, but very content UFFDA campers headed home, each bore a peaceful and satisfied smile upon their face. This hunt had definitely been the best yet!

Matt Klein with dad, Mark & local guide, Blake Johnson

The deer harvest was pretty much normal, but then again, the whitetail body count has never been what our annual conclave is about. On Thursday, the first night of the hunt, Matt Klein scored a double by taking two does. Terry Schwartz nailed a four point buck to put him out in front for the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award and our veteran beautiful Lady Huntress, Terrie Schrank took nice doe. Friday’s hunt produced three more does. Stan (The Killer) Koich took one, Board Member, Tim Sartwell took another and the third was taken by Karl Anderson. 

On Saturday, Leon Holmin shot a spike buck and our newest and rookie beautiful Lady Huntress, Dawn Peterson took a fine doe. Another first year hunter, Tom Voight took a seven point buck, which handily won him the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award. Besides the beautiful hunting knife donated by Delaney’s, Tom’s big buck won the number one slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness hunt so we will be seeing more of him for sure. Tom’s buck brought our total reported harvest to ten for this year’s event.  A warm congratulation goes out to all of the UFFDA hunters and their guides for a job well done, whether you took a deer or not.

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

For the duration of the hunt, the weather was beautiful, there was only one minor injury (a finger smashed in a kitchen) and seemingly everyone had a wonderful time. The food this year, as with every year, was plentiful, delicious and nourishing. Were it not for the talented and dedicated kitchen staff, the hungry participants of the hunt would not be nearly as happy as they always are. Over the delightful UFFDA cuisine, companionship is always heightened to its apex making the hours spent in the homey Camp Wilderness mess hall a very special place where some of the fondest UFFDA memories are created. We sincerely thank all of the food preparers and handlers for their smiling faces and the hearty results of their labors that are seemingly designed to keep the entire crew fat and sassy. 

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch

To everyone who was at this year’s hunt, it was also a very special occasion in that it allowed us all to share in Greg Waite’s last UFFDA hunt. It was obvious that Greg knew that his time with us all was near it end. He dove into the activity and lapped up every second of the action driving himself to complete exhaustion each day. We will all remember Greg’s presence there and will cherish the last time that he shared himself with his UFFDA Family. Two other long-time UFFDA members who are doing their best to fend off the viciousness and cruelty of cancer were also in attendance. Delmer Bentz and Karl Denly both showed up in spite of failing health and much pain to deal with. Having these three very special men at Camp Wilderness was both inspiring and at the same time, very sad. We all hate to see loved ones suffer so much, but how deeply we are moved by their courage and their overwhelming need to be with the people that they have grown to love as they shared a common joy of doing for others. Bless them all!

The “One-Shot” target shoot for all qualified UFFDA hunters was held again this year as the contestants vied for the Kalk Traveling Trophy. In 2010 possession of the prestigious award was won by Mike Schurch who was a first time attendee at this annual UFFDA gathering. Well guess what? This year the Kalk trophy was won by Ben Rouw of Becker, MN who was also a first time hunt attendee. Go figure! Congratulations, Ben and welcome to the family. Ben also won the number two slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness Hunt so we will be seeing him again next year.

Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

The participation in the Camp Wilderness Hunt by the local citizens continues to grow with new faces, new properties and new volunteers showing up at camp each year. We are so grateful for that hometown participation from the folks around the Park Rapids area as it enriches the event tremendously. We at UFFDA know that volunteerism is not at the top of everyone’s priority list of things to do, but when these special volunteers step forward from the surrounding community, you know that you are definitely partaking of the cream. The fine folks that have joined our mission from the Park Rapids area drive home that point with tremendous force every year. Thank you, one and all for blessing our efforts with your presence, sharing your land and just plain rolling up your sleeves and helping us make it all happen.

And to the benevolent donors both large and small that fund our undertaking, thank you for your continued support of the UFFDA Mission. Through your generosity, you give life to one of the most selfless efforts by a group of bowhunters who wish only to share the joys of hunting by recruiting and hosting bowhunting events for physically challenged people. Every year we accommodate new disabled members that enter the woods as bowhunters for the first time, learning the joys of pursuing wild things in a proud tradition that since the dawn of time has given the hunter his purpose. 

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

Through your support, disabled hunters are provided with a cost-free outing that is as good as it gets. They are fed, tutored and catered to by dedicated volunteers who give up much of their personal time and resources, just for the radiance that can only be captured by unselfishly serving others. More specifically in the case of UFFDA, our entire family is so privileged to be able to watch new hunters experience for the very first time the thrill of taking a big game animal with a string and a stick; and then listening as the successful hunter shares the unforgettable excitement of an experience that is so unique that it can never be equaled again.

And that, dear friends, is the bottom line of what we do and why we do it. Once you have seen a hunter proudly roll into the Camp’s mess hall in a wheelchair prepared to share his or her tale of triumph about taking their first deer with a bow, you just know that this is the very heart of UFFDA, the organ that gives it its life. So to every supporter of the passion, whether you are on the front lines guiding the hunters, feeding them, providing the land for them to hunt, supporting the banquets or just donating from afar, you are an intricate part of a very noble endeavor to serve the disabled hunter, while nurturing our hunting heritage and the overall image of the modern hunter. Thank you for doing your part and doing it so well.

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

As the United Foundation For Disabled Archers begins to prepare of its 18th season of service, we hope that you will continue to man your stations and also continue to support our worthy mission. Whatever your role, you are very important to the completion of the UFFDA Mission and its continued success. Thank you for the past year and now onward to the creation of new adventures that are destined to make us all winners for the right reasons.

Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

 

What The Heck Is Going On?

by Daniel James Hendricks 5. January 2012 12:06
Daniel James Hendricks

It has become an UFFDA tradition for the participants of each hunt to walk around at the end of the year’s event scratching their heads mumbling to themselves about how they didn’t think it could get any better than this year. But sure enough, the next year comes and that hunt miraculously turns out to be by far the best one yet! Well rest assured that after reading and hearing reports from the 2011 Camp Wilderness and Camp Tesomas events that fine tradition has once again been carried on. This year’s events were the best ever for both the Minnesota and Wisconsin crews. And to both  teams I tip my hat and offer a hearty congratulations for all of the hard work, excellent spirit and stellar results.

The Camp Wilderness hunt celebrated its 17th consecutive year by hosting 32 hunters over a beautiful weekend that culminated Saturday with the biggest and most successful banquet we have ever had. The facility was packed to the seams with hunters, UFFDA staff, landowners, kids and a lot of folks that just came to camp for the evening to see what all of the excitement was about. By night’s end, the great food, hearty laughter, the emotional highs and excellent deals garnered on the auctions brought the 2011 hunt to a jubilant close. The next morning as the tired, but very content UFFDA campers headed home, each bore a peaceful and satisfied smile upon their face. This hunt had definitely been the best yet!

 Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

The deer harvest was pretty much normal, but then again, the whitetail body count has never been what our annual conclave is about. On Thursday, the first night of the hunt, Matt Klein scored a double by taking two does. Terry Schwartz nailed a four point buck to put him out in front for the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award and our veteran beautiful Lady Huntress, Terrie Schrank took nice doe. Friday’s hunt produced three more does. Stan (The Killer) Koich took one, Board Member, Tim Sartwell took another and the third was taken by Karl Anderson. 

On Saturday, Leon Holmin shot a spike buck and our newest and rookie beautiful Lady Huntress, Dawn Peterson took a fine doe. Another first year hunter, Tom Voight took a seven point buck, which handily won him the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award. Besides the beautiful hunting knife donated by Delaney’s, Tom’s big buck won the number one slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness hunt so we will be seeing more of him for sure. Tom’s buck brought our total reported harvest to ten for this year’s event.  A warm congratulation goes out to all of the UFFDA hunters and their guides for a job well done, whether you took a deer or not.

Matt Klein with dad, Mark & local guide, Blake Johnson

For the duration of the hunt, the weather was beautiful, there was only one minor injury (a finger smashed in a kitchen) and seemingly everyone had a wonderful time. The food this year, as with every year, was plentiful, delicious and nourishing. Were it not for the talented and dedicated kitchen staff, the hungry participants of the hunt would not be nearly as happy as they always are. Over the delightful UFFDA cuisine, companionship is always heightened to its apex making the hours spent in the homey Camp Wilderness mess hall a very special place where some of the fondest UFFDA memories are created. We sincerely thank all of the food preparers and handlers for their smiling faces and the hearty results of their labors that are seemingly designed to keep the entire crew fat and sassy. 

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

To everyone who was at this year’s hunt, it was also a very special occasion in that it allowed us all to share in Greg Waite’s last UFFDA hunt. It was obvious that Greg knew that his time with us all was near it end. He dove into the activity and lapped up every second of the action driving himself to complete exhaustion each day. We will all remember Greg’s presence there and will cherish the last time that he shared himself with his UFFDA Family. Two other long-time UFFDA members who are doing their best to fend off the viciousness and cruelty of cancer were also in attendance. Delmer Bentz and Karl Denly both showed up in spite of failing health and much pain to deal with. Having these three very special men at Camp Wilderness was both inspiring and at the same time, very sad. We all hate to see loved ones suffer so much, but how deeply we are moved by their courage and their overwhelming need to be with the people that they have grown to love as they shared a common joy of doing for others. Bless them all!

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

The “One-Shot” target shoot for all qualified UFFDA hunters was held again this year as the contestants vied for the Kalk Traveling Trophy. In 2010 possession of the prestigious award was won by Mike Schurch who was a first time attendee at this annual UFFDA gathering. Well guess what? This year the Kalk trophy was won by Ben Rouw of Becker, MN who was also a first time hunt attendee. Go figure! Congratulations, Ben and welcome to the family. Ben also won the number two slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness Hunt so we will be seeing him again next year. The participation in the Camp Wilderness Hunt by the local citizens continues to grow with new faces, new properties and new volunteers showing up at camp each year. We are so grateful for that hometown participation from the folks around the Park Rapids area as it enriches the event tremendously. We at UFFDA know that volunteerism is not at the top of everyone’s priority list of things to do, but when these special volunteers step forward from the surrounding community, you know that you are definitely partaking of the cream. The fine folks that have joined our mission from the Park Rapids area drive home that point with tremendous force every year. Thank you, one and all for blessing our efforts with your presence, sharing your land and just plain rolling up your sleeves and helping us make it all happen.

 

And to the benevolent donors both large and small that fund our undertaking, thank you for your continued support of the UFFDA Mission. Through your generosity, you give life to one of the most selfless efforts by a group of bowhunters who wish only to share the joys of hunting by recruiting and hosting bowhunting events for physically challenged people. Every year we accommodate new disabled members that enter the woods as bowhunters for the first time, learning the joys of pursuing wild things in a proud tradition that since the dawn of time has given the hunter his purpose.   

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch


Through your support, disabled hunters are provided with a cost-free outing that is as good as it gets. They are fed, tutored and catered to by dedicated volunteers who give up much of their personal time and resources, just for the radiance that can only be captured by unselfishly serving others. More specifically in the case of UFFDA, our entire family is so privileged to be able to watch new hunters experience for the very first time the thrill of taking a big game animal with a string and a stick; and then listening as the successful hunter shares the unforgettable excitement of an experience that is so unique that it can never be equaled again.

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

 

And that, dear friends, is the bottom line of what we do and why we do it. Once you have seen a hunter proudly roll into the Camp’s mess hall in a wheelchair prepared to share his or her tale of triumph about taking their first deer with a bow, you just know that this is the very heart of UFFDA, the organ that gives it its life. So to every supporter of the passion, whether you are on the front lines guiding the hunters, feeding them, providing the land for them to hunt, supporting the banquets or just donating from afar, you are an intricate part of a very noble endeavor to serve the disabled hunter, while nurturing our hunting heritage and the overall image of the modern hunter. Thank you for doing your part and doing it so well. 

 

As the United Foundation For Disabled Archers begins to prepare of its 18th season of service, we hope that you will continue to man your stations and also continue to support our worthy mission. Whatever your role, you are very important to the completion of the UFFDA Mission and its continued success. Thank you for the past year and now onward to the creation of new adventures that are destined to make us all winners for the right reasons.

 

 

 Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

 

Coulee Critter on the Diamond K

by Daniel James Hendricks 24. December 2011 04:07
Daniel James Hendricks

Since 2003, Kim and Cindy Kafka, owners of the Diamond K Ranch in Havre, MT have generously donated an Elk Hunt on their ranch to be auctioned off at the Annual UFFDA Banquet in an effort to support its mission.  The 2011 hunt was purchased by UFFDA Charter Member and longtime friend, John Swanson of Sauk Rapids, MN.  John lost his right leg during Desert Shield in 1990.  He has been a hunter since the very first UFFDA hunt back in 1995 and has served on the board of directors; he is also the current Range Master at the UFFDA Camp Wilderness Hunt in Park Rapids, MN.

Havre, MT is located in Central Montana about 40 miles south of the Canadian Border.

The third element of the Diamond K Adventure was the ranch’s Elk keeper, Skip Owens.  Skip has been the guide on each and every UFFDA hunt at the Diamond K since 2003, and like the Kafka’s, not only has he served us well, but he has become a very dear friend.  This year, instead of staying in a hotel, Skip and his mother, Berta invited us to stay in their home where we were treated like visiting royalty, helping to make it the best trip yet.  As with each and every UFFDA hunt, one thinks it can’t get any better; then the next one comes along and amazingly, the bar is raised.

Bringing the Kafka’s, Owens and Swanson together was my assigned job and suffice it to say, I love my work.  Taking photographs and the literal documentation of the hunt, as well as serving as the court jester were my responsibilities and I dived into my chores with gusto.  

Although the hunt was rigorous, John Swanson reveled in the experience. 

The 15-hour trip out to Havre was marred by bad roads for part of the journey, but even the slick byways were unable to squelch the excitement that had us as giddy as a couple of lads bound for their very first “big-hunt”.  John had never taken an elk; but had dreamed about a trip to the Diamond K hunt since the very first year it had been offered to the UFFDA membership. 

On the first day of the hunt, we awoke to partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures for early December.  A fresh dusting of snow had fallen over night adding to the 3-inch base, freshening up the surface and making it easy to identify fresh tracks.  The elk was in a 2600 acre pasture that we were able glass from Skip’s front porch.  We tried to locate the bull, but were only able to see a few of the 40 to 50 head of the buffalo that populate the pasture. 

The pristine beauty of the mountain slope was made even more so by the layer of white frosting of freshly fallen snow.

The first order of business was to sight in the crossbow to make sure that it was still on the mark.  John had asked to borrow my Scorpyd 165, not only because he admires the bow for its performance, but also because it is equipped with the HHA Optimizer Speed Dial, which allows the archer to launch an arrow accurately from zero to 80 yards with a simple turn of the dial.  He realized that in order to take the bull with a crossbow, he had to be prepared to take a longer shot than what he was used to.  The Scorpyd and the Optimizer Speed Dial would make that shot possible, if it had to be made.

We loaded up and headed for the bull’s stomping grounds, each filled with excitement over the onset of the chase.  The first objective was to find the bull and that task proved to be no easy chore.  As we began our search, John discovered that what appeared to be a smooth, but steep slope from a mile away was instead was a complicated system of hidden coulees that spread out over the mountain side like the veins of the circulatory system in the human body.  The natural gashes in the landscape ran deep and were shrouded in thick underbrush providing all the natural cover that any wild thing needs to hide and survive. 

John’s special prosthesis enabled him to negotiate the treacherous terrain like a pro.

Finding the bull proved difficult, but a steady search of the coulees with three sets of eyes eventually located the animal bedded down in thick brush halfway up a draw.  We analyzed the situation and then Skip carefully laid out his plan of attack.  The objective would be to sneak down an adjoining coulee to where it emptied into the ravine that held our bull.  John would have to make about a 40-yard shot to take his trophy if the stalk worked as planned, but of course, it didn’t.  As soon as human heads came into view, the bull jumped up and bounded out of the coulee stopping on the top of the rise to peer back and scoff, erasing John’s chance for a shot.  The bull paused long enough for me to nail it half a dozen times with my camera and then disappeared, making a clean escape.  Round one went to the bull.

Our quarry was far too smart to let us get close after the first stalk.

From that point on, the bull was on the constant move successfully keeping itself far away from the danger that it had correctly recognized us to be.  No matter what we tried, the elk out maneuvered our attempts to close the gap, rendering our efforts fruitless.  It was Skip that first detected a pattern in the animal’s flight pattern and his knowledge of the mountainside gave birth to a new brainstorm.  He took us to a ravine that was dotted by the fresh tracks made earlier by our quarry.  He pointed to the thick cover of pucker brush and tall prairie grass that covered one slope and told us to find a good spot there and wait.  It was on the alee side of the coulee so we were protected from the frigid wind chill and had to deal only with snow packed ground on which we rested our cold-sensitive butts. 

Ambush was our only recourse and Skip found a perfect spot for John to set up.

Skip moved away to begin to dog the bull hoping that the plan he had hatched would successfully provide John with what he believed would be a 30 yard shot.  John set the Speed Dial at 30 yards and we nestled deeply into the shelter of the underbrush to wait.  Positioned myself above John, I dialed my Sony camera to the video mode hoping to catch the all the action live if Skip’s scheme went as planned.  John was the first to detect the approach of the elk as he picked out the bull’s ankles popping as it neared our ambush.   Instead of following the trail along the ridge it angled down to the bottom of the coulee, moving directly towards the hunter.  At ten yards, I heard the subtle bark of the Scorpyd as it launched its projectile into the unsuspecting creature.  Taken totally by surprise, the big bull spun in a blink and bounded up to the top of the coulee.  It stopped and turned, staring back at the bottom of the ravine in a vain attempt to determine what had just happened.  After a short pause, the confused bull turned to flee taking only ten steps before gracefully somersaulting into death.  It was over!

After the shot, John was all smiles.  The elk never had a clue that John was there until it was too late.

Skip had watched the bull come back out of the coulee thinking we had been busted and that the elk had made good its escape.  Then, through his field glasses, he saw the blood escaping from both sides of the animal before it crashed to the ground.  Rushing to the coulee, he triumphantly joined us for the celebration we had all been working towards.  After many photos had been taken of the successful team, the real work began.  The animal was field dressed and then slowly, but surely drug by very small gains into the back of the pickup.  Thank goodness the huge expired beast came equipped with a pair of really big handles!  We hauled our trophy back to the ranch, where big machinery helped to complete the final processes of skinning and quartering the elk.  Once that was done, it was off to the locker where the bull was to be cut and wrapped.  From there, it was home for supper and a jubilant celebration that brought a fitting end to what had been a very special hunt. 

Guide, Skip Owens and John with his trophy of a lifetime.

The next day was spent tying up the loose ends and spending some quality time with our hosts.  On Sunday morning, John and I stopped at the ranch and collected the meat and the head then headed for home warmed by all of the good things that had taken place over the last four days. A hearty thank-you goes out to Kim and Cindy for their continued, generous support of the UFFDA Mission and their warm and wonderful hospitality.  We truly thank Skip and Berta for opening their home to us and treating us like part of their family.  And to Skip, a very special and heartfelt acknowledgement for his extraordinary service and all the hard work he put forth to make this hunt such a great success.  We love you all. 

Left to right: John Swanson, Kim Kafka, Skip Owens and Cindy Kafka.

Until next year, my Diamond K friends, fare the well!




About the Authors

The Bowhunting.com staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

» Click here to learn more about the Bowhunting.com Staff.

Editorial Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by Hunting Network LLC bloggers and by those members providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Hunting Network LLC. Hunting Network LLC is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by bloggers or forum participants. Hunting Network LLC is not responsible for any offense caused inadvertently through interpretation of grammar, punctuation or language.


Sitemap