The Buckhaven Learning Center located near Loudonville hosted the annual Wounded Warrior deer hunt Oct. 11 through 13. Twelve Wounded Warriors from Ohio and surrounding states were selected to participate in the hunt. Wounded Warriors is a national organization whose purpose is: To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured members.
The Buckhaven Learning Center, a nonprofit organization, carries out activities and programs to offer physically challenged individuals and children the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities. Every selected wounded warrior is supplied with all the necessary equipment to comfortably participate in the archery white-tailed deer hunt. Meals, room and hunting equipment are made possible by contributing vendors and funds raised at the annual fund raiser in February.
Ten Point Crossbows supplied each hunter with a crossbow and bolts for use during the hunt. Ten Point is one of the premier crossbow manufacturers and is located in Suffield. Dick Gardner, director of research and development for Ten Point, provided operation and safety instruction during the entire hunting period.
Brennan Rarick, Ashland County wildlife officer, attended the event and gave a hunting safety presentation. Permanent handicapped blinds have been constructed in prime areas of the hunting area. Every hunter had the opportunity to shoot at a deer during the four-day hunt, as 12 wounded warriors were able to harvest 21 deer.
Crystal Cockerelly, from Black Lick, was one of the warriors selected to participate in the hunt. She retired in September after 26 years of service in the U.S. Army. She was injured when her vehicle ran over a roadside bomb, suffering from shrapnel wounds, loss of hearing and a tom rotator cuff. “I put hunting on my bucket list when I retired,” said Cockerelly, a first-time hunter. She shot three deer during the hunt and described it as awesome, saying she was committed to saving for a crossbow. Her third deer was harvested Saturday evening. During the dinner awards celebration, Cockerelly won the Guides Choice Award and was presented a Ten Point Crossbow. Craig Obrecht, spokesmen for the Learning Center, said, “Needless to say, she was more than a little excited.” Gary McDonnell, of Canfield and also a first-time hunter, got two deer the first day. “The folks here are very generous with their time, energy and money,” he said. “I’m hooked. I got to start making friends with landowners.” McDonnell, U.S: Navy Chief Petty Officer, served in Afghanistan. Each wounded warrior was provided a personal guide. Volunteer guides were comprised of locals and some as far away as the state of Washington.
A fund-raising dinner for the 2013 hunt is scheduled for Feb. 23 at the Loudonville American Legion. Youth pheasant hunt – The Ashland County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will be holding its annual Youth Pheasant hunt Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21. The hunt is available for youths age 12 to 17. Pheasants Forever will supply both pointing and hunting dogs, along with freshly stocked pheasants for each youth. To reserve a time, call Aaron Becker at 419-606-0739.
Antlers and Anglers – The Antlers and Anglers Sportsman’s Showcase will be at the Ashland County Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21. The showcase is a program created by Armstrong to celebrate the great outdoors. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Ashland County Food Bank. The event, sponsored by Hedstrom, The Outdoor Channel and Donley Ford Lincoln, will feature:
- The Hawg trough, a 2,500-gallon aquarium.
- Kids Catfish Pond presented by the Ashland County Wildlife Conservation League and Rohr’s Lake.
- Archery range courtesy of Ashland Bowmen.
- Shooting Simulator courtesy of ODNR.
he first 100 children attending each day will receive a cane-fishing pole from Armstrong. Various vendors and outdoor-related seminars will be held each day. Admission to the event will be $2 or two canned goods or nonperishable food items.