Over the years, a partnership between Shadows on the Wolf Clintonville Chapter and United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) has taken over 150 children with disabilities or life-threatening illnesses on an exciting experience with their dedicated mentors calling in their first turkey.
Before sunrise, with three inches of freshly fallen snow and 17 mph winds, ten excited USSA children and parents from Wisconsin joined their mentors in hunting blinds on private properties in Shawano and Waupaca counties. The young hunters were enthusiastic about their first chance to bag an elusive gobbler despite the challenging weather conditions.
First up was Palin, 9, with the assistance of her mentor David Strebe, who bagged a nice jake, 14 lbs. 2 oz. and 3″ beard, then Kade, 15, with his mentor Brian Ewald bagged a nice tom, 16lbs. and 3 1/2″ beard.
In the afternoon, Austin, 14, with his mentor Sawyer Strebe, bagged a nice tom, 20 lbs. 13.5 oz with a 9.5″ beard and 7/8 spurs, then Olivia, 12, and her mentor Tony Schwegel got a nice tom, 21lbs. with a 10″ beard and 1 1/4″ spurs. David, 10, with his mentors Ashley Lehman and Tom Lehman, tipped the scales at a whopping 24 lbs. 13 oz. with a 10-1/8″ beard and 3/4″ spurs.
Wyatt, 9, and mentor Greg Shermo, next in line, got a nice tom, 16 lbs. with a 4″ beard. Finally, Johnathan, 10, and his mentor Rory Clark bagged a nice tom, 13.2 lbs. with 2 3/4″, 3 5/8″, and 2 3/4″ beards and 1/8″ spurs.
The director, Mike Tuss, reflected, “Adversity will bring out true character in individuals. At the end of the day, 7 out of 10 hunters were lucky enough to harvest a bird. The real success was learning how to hunt and spending time in the woods with Family, Mentors, and Nature. Everyone comes out of this weekend as a different person that’s positive.”
Many thanks to Shadows on the Wolf and their coordinators, Mike Tuss, Dave Strebe, and Tom Mijal, for their hard work and dedication in this memorable hunt. Also, their excellent support staff for their usual stellar job and delicious home-cooked meals.
Shout out to the mentors and gracious landowners who helped make these rewarding hunts possible and Steve Reis and Full Draw 365 for donating the fantastic facility to house the families and mentors. Congratulations to all the kids for participating in their first turkey hunt! God bless!
If you want to get involved or know of a deserving youth or veteran who would like a wish granted, don’t hesitate to contact United Special Sportsman Alliance.