Army veteran David served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Besides his service, David enjoys spending time in the great outdoors and has a particular fondness for the sport of hunting. Enjoy, in his own words, the story of his West Virginia bear hunt.
“Hunting is the only hobby that has been with me as long as my memory spans, at least from when I had enough strength to raise a gun and shoot. No matter what is going on in life, getting out in the wild and forgetting everything else on my plate while focusing on the chase of the animal in season is simply the best way to relax and enjoy life. So, I signed up in hopes of being granted a hunt but, in reality, did not expect that I would get a call at all but certainly didn’t expect it would happen this season as it was getting late in the year. But, when I did, my excitement level could barely be contained in the handful of days I had leading up to the hunt.
So I drove in from Tennessee to the area where I would be hunting in West Virginia, and on that drive alone, I got to witness some awesome beautiful scenery before I even started hunting. It’s always exciting to hunt new locations, and I had a good feeling about this hunt.
I got into the hotel the evening before the hunt, and my guide, Mr. Kish Justice, had sent me a few messages adding to the excitement, telling me how good of a spot he had for me to hunt the following morning. Kish told me when to be ready to roll out and made sure I was good to go before reminding me that I likely wouldn’t sleep due to the excitement. I brushed that comment off as I was exhausted from the ride in, but at about 3:30 am the morning of the hunt, I gave up on getting more sleep and started slowly getting things ready to head out. Kish was right, for after laying down to sleep around 6 pm the night before the hunt, I woke up at least once an hour, looking at the clock, thinking it was time to get up. I was excited and couldn’t wait to get going.
Now I had never hunted with dogs and was excited to see them work, and I had never seen a live bear in person on a hunt, so highly excited about that as well. We met the team of guys that would help locate the bear that day. They all seemed to be great people and started through the mountains at first light. The dogs got on bears trail within the first hour, I believe it was, and Kish got us headed in that direction. Hearing the dogs work for that short period was pretty awesome in itself, and then the teamwork of everyone there to get me up the mountain and in place to make a safe shot on the bear was inspiring and awesome, to say the least. With a lone, nice size bear treed by the dogs, Kish and the crew helped me locate an ideal tree to brace myself on off the side of the mountain. With a clear view of my first bear, once given the ok to shoot, I rested my sights right between the eyes and squeezed the trigger. My first bear was down, and everyone congratulated me, and to say that I was excited was an understatement. That bear harvest resulted from incredible teamwork by great people, and I will forever be grateful.
Thank you very much, Miss Brigid, Mr. Kish, and all involved in this opportunity through the United Special Sportsman Alliance; to state it mildly, it was a great experience.”
Thank you, David, for sharing your incredible story, and heartfelt thanks to Kish Justice, the bear hunters, and the West Virginia DNR, who assisted in making his hunt possible. Congratulations to David on his trophy bear and the beautiful memories he shared with his newfound friends. Thank you for your service. God bless!
If you are interested in getting involved or know of a deserving youth or veteran, don’t hesitate to contact United Special Sportsman Alliance.