Posted on

UFFDA Hunt 2019

UFFDA Hunt 2019 UFFDA Hunt 2019

An Outdoorsman’s Journal

Hello friends, Though it may not be the largest volunteer organization that I know of, UFFDA, United Foundation For Disabled Archers, may be the coolest. With chapters in Wisconsin and Minnesota, UFFDA takes men and women with disabilities on archery hunts.

In the years 2004, 2005, and 2015 I helped at the Camp Tesomas Hunt, which is a Boy Scout camp that covers 1,200 acres just north of Rhinelander. In those years, what I did for this three-day hunt was help a hunter get to a blind, sit with him and, at the end of each hunt, take him back to the cafeteria/commons area where the 25 hunters and at least 30 guides and kitchen helpers hang out.

This week’s column will be choppy because there is ton to write about.

Thursday, Oct. 17 High 71, Low 45

I pulled into Temosas today about noon and it was like seeing an old friend that I had not seen in years. I mean that with the guides, hunters and Camp Tesomas itself.

Tom Nicholson was a year younger than me in school. He is the second vice president of UFFDA and an incredible, get-it-done guy. I also went to school with Tom’s wife Cheryl. She runs the kitchen, which is a huge task.

I met Jim Watson back in 2004. For the last 19 years, Jim has been guiding Jeff Hvam. Jim is from the Portage area, is a retired Alliant Energy employee and, overall, is just a great guy.

The first thing every hunter must do before they are allowed to start hunting is make sure their crossbow is sighted in. Folks, I must admit, until this hunt I had completely forgotten how a crossbow works.

Next, hunt coordinator Tim Nicholson, who is the son of Tom and Cheryl, told us where we would be hunting which, on this huge property, can be hard to find. About all I have to say about Tim is he is excellent at his job and a very good guy just like fellow volunteers Logan Leonard, Bart Mueller and dozens of other very good people.

Next, and here is where it gets touchy for a while, I would be guiding Jeffery Hvam for the next three days.

Jeff has been hunting with Jim Watson for 19 years. Jim has some health issues that do not allow him to physically lift a man that is 6 feet, 4 inches tall out of a wheelchair and put him into a truck and vice versa.

At first my new friend did not want to hunt with me. By the end of the weekend we were good buddies and I had immense respect for people with physical impediments and their caregivers.

Just to give you an idea of some of the health issues or causes with our hunters and good friends, here are a few: motorcycle and car accident, stroke, tree stand fall and, in Jeff Hvam’s case, uncontrolled seizures due to epilepsy. While in the blind, Jeff had five seizures over five hunts but, because I was forewarned, it was not a big deal.

On our first hunt 25 hunters harvested three antlerless deer and the mood in camp was excellent.

Friday, Oct. 18

This is deer camp for these hunters. This morning, two more deer fell victim to their crossbows on a beautiful morning in the Northwoods. A bear was spotted by one hunter, one hunters’ crossbow did not fire at a buck because he forgot to take if off safety and two of the lady hunters in our camp stayed out from dark to dark.

Volunteers Bob and Steve Bakken are here to help as they cut up every deer that is brought into camp.

Todd Dykstra is a guide and helped Jerome Murphy roast a hog, which was our dinner tonight. Oh yeah, with my natural charm I am starting to get Jeffery to think I am an ok guy!

The following day was our last full day of hunting and not a whitetail was harvested, which gave us a total of six.

There is so much to be said about UFFDA and the experiences of every person at a hunt like this, but this is what’s most important. Folks there are not as many volunteers out there as there used to be.

This experience should be documented on TV. It is incredible. No one asked me to do this but, go to uffdaclub. com and figure out how you can help. Even a $20 membership, or help in the kitchen or possibly the super cool job of being a guide or just figuring out how you could help someone go on a turkey hunt next spring.

Everything is free to the hunters and the awesome feeling you get for your help is worth the price of admission.