ONE WOUNDED WARRIOR'S
HUNT of a LIFETIME
by
 SFC Ronnie Gullion
I met Jimmy "The Mullet" and his business partner Mikey
during a Wounded Warrior hunt at the Smart Ranch Exotics
in Texas.  They asked me to choose one of the well-deserving
heroes hunting with me for a bonus Asiatic water buffalo hunt.

You see, Mullet man and Mikey are representatives of The
Darkwoods Blind
TM and were at the Smart Ranch to shoot
promotional videos for their exceptional handicapped-
accessible ground blinds.  I did want the pressure of choosing
just one soldier to take part in this remarkable opportunity.  I simply did not want to be the one to decide who'd get to
experience the hunt of their lifetime and who would be disappointed.

I suggested that we leave it to luck or fate.  I told all of the more-than-willing hunters to put their military identification
cards into a hat and let Jimmy pull out the lucky one.  Although I'm a Wounded Warrior as well, I was somewhat
reluctant to place my ID into the hat because my hunting companions were also my heroes, and I wanted one of them
to win the hunt.  With some poking, prodding and an order from my former Command Sergeant Major David Allard, I
placed my ID into the hat as well.  Out of all the IDs in the hat, of course mine was drawn.  Although I desperately
wanted to participate in the hunt, I really wanted one of my guys to have the experience.  I thought about giving the
hunt to someone else, but that would have put me back into my original position of having to choose one person.

Jimmy and the others could see the guilt on my face and reassured me that they were glad that my name was chosen.  
Jimmy then suggested we go out and do a little scouting to get a glance at the animals I'd be hunting.  We all jumped
into some trucks and headed out in search of buffalo.


Excitement and Apprehension

I could not have been more intimidated or excited when I finally laid my eyes on the biggest, most intimidating animal I
have ever hunted.  I am just a mere country boy from Indiana who avidly hunts deer, turkey and an occasional enemy
to our country.  The size of that animal intimidated me more than looking into the eyes of our enemy.  I knew at first
glance how fortunate I was to be able to hunt this great being, and no longer felt guilty or willing to give up this
opportunity.

Once we arrived back to camp, I was bombarded with well wishes and of course ribbing from my friends.  When I was
offered the choice to hunt with a bow or a muzzleloader, it was a no-brainer for me to choose the bow.  I wanted to take
it to the highest level of difficulty so that I could experience the most intense rush.

I was offered an Alpine bow, and in my excitement, I forgot to mention that I shot left-handed.  I attempted to shoot
Jimmy's right-handed bow, but I did not feel comfortable despite hitting a decent group at 20 yards.  I knew I was about
to go after the most aggressive animal on this planet, and I wanted to get it right.

I then tried to shoot the bow left-handed, and thanks to the Alpine's anti-torque guard and the Hindsight peep-less sight
system, I felt comfortable and fired an arrow downrange.  Bulls-Eye!  I shot my second arrow right into my first arrow.  
I was stoked.  I moved out to 35 yards and practiced some more while growing accustomed to my new top-of-the-line
shooting instrument.

The next morning we headed to The Darkwoods Blind
TM that was strategically placed next to the watering hole.  But,
much to our dismay, a heavy rain the previous night created numerous mud holes throughout the Smart Ranch, which
prevented the buffalo from returning to the main watering hole.

We waited and then watched as they arrived in the general area in an intimidating fashion, but they didn't move close
enough to present me with a clean shot before I had to return to camp.  I tried again that evening, but it wasn't in the
cards.  The buffalo remained out of range though the blind was well hidden from their sight.


Change of Plans

I had one day left to pull off the hunt, so we went on another scouting adventure with the hopes that the buffalo would
head to the watering hole where the blind was located.  While scouting, we devised a simpler plan, or so we thought.

We hoped that we'd be able to ambush the giant animals along their travel route.  After locating the buffalo, we
discussed moving the light and versatile Darkwoods Blind
TM to another area, but it just didn't seem possible due to the
time constraints and the unpredictability of these creatures of random travel.  We decided to try a spot-and-stalk hunt
instead.

I felt nervous, excited, and scared and about 30 other emotions rolled into one, and I began to doubt my abilities and
health were up to the task.  I put all the apprehension aside and started my pursuit.  After hours of low crawling,
climbing trees out of fear, spooking the buffalo, and near misses, I finally got within 20 yards of these creatures of
mass destruction.  All of my doubts and fears disappeared as I pulled the bowstring back and placed the pin on the
ticker of one magnificent animal.


Sweet Success

I released the Tru-Fire release and placed that victory arrow in the kill zone of the biggest buffalo in the bunch.  I
feared that I didn't get a good hit on the prey, but as it ran away, I could see the blood spewing from its side.  The
buffalo ran so far I didn't think it was going to go down, but then it stopped, staggered like a drunk on New Year's Eve
and fell on its side.  

All the fear, excitement, pressure and pride finally escaped me in the form of a bellowing  YAHOOOOOO !

Jimmy, and David Leuba, the owner of Smart Ranch Exotics, were right there to witness the most intense moment of
my hunting endeavors and were as blown away as me.  I felt so much pride and joy that all I could do was giggle,
giggle and giggle some more.  Words can not explain the emotion that I felt that day, but tears of joy and overwhelming
pride accompanying my giggles sure got the point across.

After examining the downed trophy we realized that this animal was extraordinarily big and quite possible the World
Record Asiatic Water Buffalo taken by a bow.  At this point in time we are awaiting for the official scoring by SCI to
confirm our suspicions.  Bottom line, I don't care if it even scores, but if it does, I am proud that I did it with an Alpine
Bow, Victory Arrow, Muzzy Broadhead, Hindsight System at the Smart Ranch in the presence of my heroes
David Allard, Marc Roen, Adam Peacock, Todd Shaw, David Jacks and Nathan Halsey.

I would be remised if I di not recognize the gentlemen who made this hunt possible, David Leuba of The Smart Ranch
and Jimmy and Mikey from Darkwoods Blind
TM.

If you would like to take a wounded American Hero on an expedition, please contact
Friends of American Heroes  -  Hunting with Heroes  -  Paralyzed Veterans of America
or go to:   HOWW40FT at CAMOSPACE.com

This is a rewarding experience for all involved and a great way to show your appreciation for the sacrifices of the brave
soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have volunteered to protect the freedoms that most take for granted.  Getting
outdoors is a valuable part of our healing process, not only for those who have hunted and feel they cannot do so
anymore, but for a first-time participant in an outdoor event.  It has been with great honor that I have served my country
and it has been an unequalled honor to aid these great men and women in their healing process in the great outdoors.
The army has a word most don't understand and that word is " HOORAH "! It means many different things at many
different times, but to the Wounded Warriors of Fort Campbell, KY. it is an acronym that means Healing Outside Of A
Hospital.
The Bowman Lodge was built from the ground up
with disabled vets in mind.
For Vets, by Vets.
CLICK LOGO
DELIVERY OF THE FIRST FOUR BLINDS
THE DOUBLE FF DELUXE HANDICAP BLINDS
WAS THE CHOICE OF THE BOWMAN LODGE.
THE DARKWOODSTM   DOUBLE FX DELUXE BLIND
MOBILE  -  PORTABLE  -  WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE  -  5' x 7'
DELIVERY FOR THE FIRST  DARKWOODS DOUBLE FX HANDICAP MOBILE HUNTING BLIND
THE WOUNDED WARRIORS  "HUNTING BLIND"  PROJECT
U.S. ARMY  -  FORT SILL  -  OKLAHOMA
We wish to THANK the Donors
MILITARY ORDER of the PURPLE HEARTS
NWTF  -  EAGLE MOUNTAIN SHORTHAIRS
Lawrence & Rose Butkiewicz
SPORTSMEN SERVICES FISH & WILDLIFE
FORT SILL  -  LAWTON OKLAHOMA
Lawrence is a 100% Disabled veteran.  After three back surgeries, lost
lung, lost kidney and a recent bout of cancer.... he still took a Bird.

Rose is a Military wife and Senior citizen, accompanies her husband on
most of his hunts.  She's also a pretty good shot !
Lawrence    15.55 lb. TOM with a  8" Beard  and  3/4" SPURS
Rose          15.98 lb. TOM with a  7" Beard  and  3/4" SPURS
Earlier this season both Lawrence and Rose Harvested a doe each,
from the same Darkwoods Blind on the same day.

This could be the FIRST HUSBAND & WIFE TEAM to harvest birds
From the same Blind........ On the same day !!!
Bruce Dwyer & Mark Conklin
TO BOTH of YOU
A SPECIAL THANK YOU FOR ALL THE
HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION TO
MAKE THIS PROJECT HAPPEN.