No more deer season, today is the last day and we (John and I) didn’t go out, mainly due to the fact that we hunted straight for 4 days/nights. We didn’t see any deer but we did see a buck, while Kellie, myself and John were coming in for the evening, we saw the buck by the food plot about 25 yards from where we were. I’m pretty sure I saw antlers and this was a very special event for the McDaniel brothers to be together for a rifle season hunt (this is where it all began). I thoroughly enjoyed myself. John and I went out with the dogs (Grizzly and Diamond) to do some grouse hunting on the back 40. John recognized how enthusiastic I was about his 20 gauge and so he let me use it and I was incredibly honored. What an amazing piece! On this fine outing John and I both rousted several grouse and with no excuses, we both missed a few – then five minutes later we jumped a couple more. I think I have discovered a new love! The greatest moment of our first of many grouse hunts was, not just the entire event but just as I was enjoying this moment, out of the snow pops out a rabbit and without any hesitation I took the shot. The first thing I heard, “did you get him?” I responded with a definite “yep”. Diamond is only 8 months and this was her first time out, she was pretty clueless, so John told Grizzly to “fetch up” which he did. Needless to say we had rabbit for dinner! John made this trip special as he always does. He makes some pretty awesome dishes and topped himself with the rabbit stew! I am without a doubt very proud to be a part of John’s events/excursion. I can tell that he is working hard to get things right. I hope to see him again soon, as well as do some more fishing and hunting. The wounded warriors of our country should be very grateful to have such a phenomenal man, my brother, to be able to look after them. This cause is mighty, this cause is noble and this cause is the way. (P.S thanks for everything John, hope to see you in this summer).
Had a great time up in the sticks with John and Tim, seen a ton of deer while I was here. I cannot even begin to tell anyone the calming affect of this visit. I was able to fish, hunt for birds, as well as deer. We all cooked together and as more people hunted, there were a variety of foods to eat. Whoever can come up here, will quickly realize how relaxing this experience can be.
-S. Bennett, Purple Heart Recipient
This evening I was hunting in Foggy Bottom, as I was sitting there I saw a rooster pheasant about 60 yards away from me drinking from a puddle of water. Shortly after that, I saw a large timber wolf, he was very dark and kept his nose low to the ground. He moved very fast and this was the first time I have ever seen this type of a dominant creature in the wild. This was one of the many wonderful experiences here at camp Hackett.
-T. Holmgren, Purple Heart Recipient
What a trip!! 68 bass were caught between us, with even more that got away. I even caught the 3 largest bass I have EVER caught before. What a trip!!! It is people such as yourself who give us veterans a good name. Your dedication to the WWIA is amazing. To start something like this is not only remarkable, but inspiring as well. It shows what kind of soldier you are, and what you care about. I have met many people who talk a good game about helping others but very few who actively follow through. Thank you for the great experience you have left for me to remember for a long time. But THANK YOU again and even so for not only being here for us but caring enough to help at all. I have always been a great judge of character and I know that every soldier that crosses your path will the better for it!! Keep up the GREAT TIMES.
-S. Litzler, Purple Heart Recipient
This is my last evening here at camp Hackett. I arrived here on the 21st of October and have had an absolute blast this entire week. The beginning of the week was very productive with a consistent amount of deer to hunt. And now at the end of the week, things have slowed down, perhaps due to the return of the wolves which put a chill in me, this evening, with their howling. Earlier today we put some skirting on the bottom of the rig and have gotten done many little projects around the camp. I just want to thank Kellie and John for all this, I am much honored to be here and part of such an awesome cause. Keep up the good work. Your friend,
-J. Whipkey, Purple Heart Recipient
First time I saw John in many years and hunted on his beautiful land. I went into the woods, October 25, with John’s dog Grizzly and this land was unbelievably beautiful. This was the first time in my life I had the opportunity to hunt Ruffed Grouse, and I shot one near the beaver pond. After I shot him, he folded into the pond and was honored to watch Grizzly retrieve the bird. I bow hunted from “The Ranger Stand” and spent most of the weekend hunting from the “Foggy Bottom” food plot. Saturday night, October 27, 2007, I experienced a lifetime sight! I had been waiting for some time and it was about 17:15 when I happened to look over at the food plot and saw the largest Deer I have ever seen in my life. He had a thick body and plenty of horn; he traveled from left to right than stopped. The massive buck then executed a right face and walked right towards me, without any notice, they stopped briefly at the food plot and then continued to come towards me. The buck had a very thick rack but not a wide one and appeared to be an older deer. He was walking hard like he owned the place; came by the stand at 20 yards then back into the woods behind me about 40 yards. I was shaking and put my arrow up for my bow and it was hard to keep still. I then watched the deer scrap hard against the ground with his rack. He then moved towards a tree, not far from me, I could barely believe he was this close! I was able to sense all these feelings, I could hear him and see him so close up. This was an incredible and unforgettable experience and I am forever grateful to John for his friendship and allowing me to share this experience. Thank you my friend and keep your nose in the wind, your eyes across the sky line!
-A. Kandarian, WWIA Board Member
This was my first hunt that I was the lead associate. I feel that the hunt went very well. Every one of the guys had a great time. I had an unbelievable hunt!!! The experience and new friends I made on my trip will be long lasting. I am so happy that the hunt went as well as it did. It means so much to me to help other wounded Purple Heart awardees. Thank you, John, for having the confidence in me to be able to take the lead on this hunt. The hunt met the standard that every soldier enjoyed the hunt and would like to do it again Once again, John, thank you for giving me the lead on this hunt. I am looking forward to trying to get another soldier hunt together. Thanks again for another great hunt!!!
-E. Walsh, Purple Heart Recipient
My sincere thanks to John McDaniel and the entire organization for a Class A hunt – the hospitality and kindness from all was an absolute honor. This was my first interaction with any Wounded Warrior experience – I was injured 15 years ago and am so appreciative of the opportunity to be able to hang out with and share stories and camaraderie with fellow patriots. I did get a nice hog on this, my very first hog hunt! Again thank you to WWIA for everything provided and the opportunity to meet the other Wounded Warriors.
-C. Doggett, Purple Heart Recipient
I just want to start by saying thank you so much for everything all of you do for all of us. You guys are responsible for all of us being able to do what we do every day. I can’t wait to stew all year about next year’s fly design and hopefully they’ll mean as much to you as you guys coming out means to me. All of you guys need to come back and see us again soon. Can’t wait until next year! Safe travels.
-C. Willen, Pro Staff
I would first like to thank Mr. John McDaniel and the WWIA for allowing me to be part of such a wonderful event, not to mention a “brotherhood.” After 22 years serving this great country I have been honored to meet fellow Wounded Warriors & build not just new friendships, but an extended family that is built on honor, courage, and heroes!! The time spent in the stands with you, Don and Steve filming our hog hunt made it even more fun, not to mention allowing that one special hero bragging rights for the trip. Thank you, WWIA, for bringing me back to where I needed to be in my life; continuing to learn and grow as I heal. This has truly been an awesome healing experience!! Thank you. God Bless.
-S. A. Adams, Purple Heart Recipient