Legends Ranch was founded in 1998 and is located within Newaygo County, Michigan. The ranch spans over 2,100 acres and is quite diverse, with a wide variety of landscapes, including hardwoods, pine forests, grasslands, swamps, marshes, open fields, and a few lakes and streams, an ideal habitat for whitetail deer to prosper.
Connor, who is twelve years old, was ecstatic when his father, Seamus, told him he was going on a whitetail hunt at Legends Ranch. Connor said, “I was excited about getting the chance to shoot a buck!” The morning after their flight arrived in Grand Rapids, they were picked up at the hotel and driven about ninety miles north to the ranch. They were warmly greeted and given a tour of the first-class lodge and The Wildlife Center, which features over 2,500 animal mounts worldwide. Afterward, they went to the gun range with their guide, Cory Ford. Connor was shooting well at 100 yards, and they felt confident he could take the trophy buck of their dreams if given the opportunity.
Early the following morning, they drove to the Strip Field, an elevated hunting blind. Corey and Seamus carried Connor up the stairs and got him into a chair. As the morning progressed, many deer were spotted, including a large buck that emerged into view. Connor was thrilled and could barely contain his excitement as he peered through the binoculars. However, the deer eventually moved on, and Corey suggested returning to camp and trying a different blind later that day.
Upon their return to the lodge, they had a delicious lunch and went fishing. Connor said, “I caught four fish, and I think they were bass!” Then, they returned to the lodge to prepare for the afternoon hunt.
Towards evening, they drove to the Square Pond elevated blind in a five-acre mowed field and settled in. While they waited, it was evident that Connor was feeling enthusiastic. When the first deer appeared, he exclaimed loudly, “Deer!” but then settled down to focus on the hunt and not scare off the deer in his excitement. He added, “Then I waited, and waited, and waited.”
Over time, more deer began to emerge from the grassy area at different elevations and roam across the open expanse of grassland. They used binoculars to track movements and spotted a magnificent buck on the left side of the blind. They waited patiently as the buck slowly moved to the front of them and into field range. Then Connor’s dad and guide set up his rifle on the sandbag. After waiting a few minutes for a clear shot, Corey noticed Connor’s fatigue and struggled to hold the gun, so he decided to use his tripod.
Corey asked his dad to move to the other side of the blind while he quietly set up the tripod. He positioned himself behind the young man and placed the 6.5 Grendel on the tripod. Connor said, “Corey helped me aim the gun on the deer. My hands were shaking, and another deer was in the way, so I had to wait a while for it to move.” Then, while Connor was looking at the deer through the scope, Corey whispered, “Follow the front leg to the middle of his chest cavity and slowly squeeze the trigger.” Conner made a perfect shot; the deer only went ten yards and dropped.
Connor said, “I was jumping up and down in the blind because I was so excited. Then I high-fived my dad and Corey.” He wasted no time counting the points on his 12-point buck, which scored an impressive 166″.
Seamus said, “The best part of this experience was the smile on Connor’s face when he got his buck. We returned to the Square Pond the following evening, and he got a doe too!”
Connor said joyfully, “The best part of my hunt was getting two deer during the sunsets!”
Corey expressed, “Everyone of our kids hunts at the ranch is special to me. I love being able to help the kids achieve their dreams. A special moment for me during this hunt was being able to help Connor through the struggle of not being able to hold the gun. It showed Connor that there are always alternative ways to approach a situation and achieve the desired outcome. I believe it taught him never to give up.”
Tony Grimard of The Wildlife Center at Legends Ranch believes these hunts allow young people facing challenges to experience the same joys as other hunters. By minimizing the barriers these young people and their families face, dreams are achieved, relationships are formed, and lives are forever changed.
We want to thank Legends Ranch, Robert Sergi, Corey Ford, Tony Grimard, and USSA donors for making Connor’s once-in-a-lifetime hunt possible. Congratulations on his trophy buck and the unforgettable memories shared with his dad and guide. God bless!
If you are interested in getting involved or know of a deserving child or veteran who would like a wish granted, don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or (800) 518-8019.