RODNEY — Veterans once again gathered for the fifth annual Heroes Tribute Hunt Saturday at the Elks Farm on Ohio 588 before taking a short trip to the McKeans Pheasant Farm for a day of hunting and fellowship.
“I am with the Appalachian Valley Chapter of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association),” said event organizer Robyn Slone. “We apply for a grant through (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife). We put on a hunt for 24 veterans. Some are disabled and some are not. We don’t discriminate. We just want to give back and remember what they’ve done for us.”
The event officially ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We run three fields and we have at least four hunts per field,” said Slone.
Four pheasants were released per hunter to potentially take home. Among some of the dogs present included German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers.
The Gallia Soil and Water District along with the Gallia Conservation Club were on hand to discuss exhibits and activities along with the National Archery in the Schools Program and the Passport to Fishing Program. Gallia Shooting Aces 4-H was present to help with trap shooting activities. The Gallipolis Elks Lodge lent the use of its facilities on the farm.
“We use trained dogs,” said co-coordinator John Kane. “Once your dog goes on point, we have an escort, then we bring up a hunter to get an opportunity to get a shot on the bird. Once the bird is shot the dog will retrieve it.”
Dogs reportedly are trained to point the bird out and a hunter is intended to prompt it to fly before the animal is taken. Hunters were encouraged to shoot only once the birds were in the air for the sake of safety. Reportedly, a variety of shotgun gauges were used in the hunts.
“We want to give them (veterans) a chance to get out here and experience an upland game hunt which some of the folks don’t normally get a chance to do that,” said Kane. “It gets them outdoors and we hope gets them some interest in continuing outdoor activities. We want people to continue supporting outdoor sporting causes and our veterans.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.