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Z1 : Tony Dukes
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Wounded Soldier Hunt
By Tony Dukes
Sep 8, 2005, 11:51

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30 minutes of watching the 5:00 news usually has me on the verge of throwing up due to the untold truths and endorsed erosion of our God given rights, perpetuated by selfishly motivated liberal elements.

 I had just got off the phone with  S. Sgt. Tony Covell of www.injuredsoldiers.net  and he had an antidote for my nausea. Sgt. Covell's organization is about taking returning soldiers that have been seriously wounded in the current conflict on a hunting or fishing trip for free. "Return them to the wild" is their motto.  With the help of Ted Nugent I had the pleasure of launching the first on any such an event on Ted's show while guiding Covell on his first Rio Grande turkey kill. The kill took place in the last 10 minutes of the hunt. You can read about this in the upcoming Oct. issue of TX Fish and Game magazine.

God bless Rich Walton at BHN, he was willing to wave the rules and allow a gun story on Bowhunting.net for the sake of bringing attention to this worthwhile cause. From the support and immediate response, I told Rich to hang on we would have a purple heart bowhunt, and here you go.

 "Yes" was what I heard from each call I made. It started with Gene Shands and Margaret Knupp of BOWTECH, making a custom bow for Covell for him and other soldiers to keep and use. Next Double Bull, begged for me to film it for their TV show on the Men's Channel. Mike Sohm of Magnus supplied them with the ever accurate, deadly Stinger Broadhead, Lenny Rezmer of Carbon Xpress arrows, Lumenock, Predator, all sent what was needed of their best products. Ed Friedman of NIKON went way overboard to accommodate all of the needs of these sons of liberty. Any our old pal, Joe Hajek, of La Vernia donated at cost, the taxidermy work. Perhaps the best of it all was the hunt, lodging, and food that Joey Ghost and Jerry Fletcher donated from the Ghost ranch in Utopia. TX.

 I got down a few days early and set up the Double Bull Matrix blinds with Joey Ghost and double checked gear and cameras. The next day I picked up Brett Austin of Double Bull to help with the filming, Brett and I would also take an animal, if time allotted, so as to have enough kills for the show.

 

Sgt. Covell was running late with medical appointments as he was still recovering from being badly burned when his tanker was hit by an IED, his driver killed. He also suffered from shrapnel wounds. The man was just starting to get somewhat normal movement. His hunting partner was Specialist David Taylor. Taylor was in both Desert Scorpion and Iraqi Freedom and had been had been unconscious for weeks for an explosion. Both of these men loved hunting but, if successful this would be there first bow kill. The Ghost Ranch was allowing them a sheep of choice, either Corsican, Texas Dall or a Black Hawaiian.

 We saw sheep this first morning. It was hot early in the Double Bull. "Not bad" said Taylor, " it was 160 my last day in Iraq." We tried to put a stalk on a couple of small herds but to no avail, the cool air and great food in the lodge seemed to remove any frustration.

 Joey Ghost had scouted the path a herd took everyday off the mountain so we set up just off the known route. We saw a herd milling around the mountain top. This was enough to get Specialist Taylor to breathing faster. It was over an hour when, just as Mr. Ghost had predicted the sheep were making their way by headed for water.

 I had forgotten the excitement of a first time bowhunter as Taylor started to draw when the sheep were 100 yds. Brett and I calmed him down and told him to wait, we would have time, needed footage and we would tell him when to shoot.

 The sheep crossed in front of us some less than 10 yards others at 50. We had to be sure as not to hit more than one of the tightly grouped sheep. Finally a large, pure Corsican sporting over two full curls stepped into the opening. Whoooosh! The arrow disappeared exactly low, tight and behind the shoulder, the ram ran 2O yards and fell over!

 No writer could describe the expression of David Taylor, his excitement, his appreciation, his happiness. What a wonderful gift this was to me to see this face with this expression. It was a gift as I thought of the expression that this American's face must have worn during combat. No need to go further, but I urge you to contemplate it.

 The recovery interview was priceless and inspiring, beside all of the thanks that Taylor had for sponsors, the quote that remains with me is. "You know Tony; you can't do this in France."

 Next day things mirrored the first as we attempted to get Sgt. Covell his ram. The morning heat confined the sheep to the shaded tree hill tops. Covell was stuck on getting one of the handsome, coal black, Hawaiians.

 

That afternoon the chance came, we set another ambush for another group of sheep. There was only one Hawaiian in the bunch and luck went our way. The black was the last sheep to stop while the others had grazed out of range.

 Keep in mind a month before, due to extensive injuries, scarring and pain, Covell could barely pull 20 lbs. Upon receiving the BOWTECH, setup special by Gene, he got a new sense of motivation. He told me once I saw the first arrow fly I knew I would stay with it until I could pull 45#'s. He did to the astonishment of all of his physical therapist!  What a testimony for the divinity of the mystical flight of the arrow. What a statement about BOWTECH as well.

 Without a grunt and waver Covell brought the BOWTECH back to full draw and whoooosh! Talk about mirrored days, another heart shot and a 20 yard recovery! Don't ever think the Army doesn't teach troops how to shoot.

 Two shots, two rams, great footage, it can't get better. You would have thought we had taken the #1 Grizzly from the celebration at the lodge that night. There was more food and laughter than you could imagine but the best part was a quiet ceremony. Specialist Taylor and Sgt. Covell presented us all with a coin from the Coalition to Support American heroes. Except for the quiet sound of tears hitting the floor and long hugs, the room was silent. A good kind of silence, the sound of peace.


The guys from Livehunt.com were there installing 24hr, game cameras on the ranch and up and donated a booth for INJURED SOLDIERS at the upcoming Ft. Worth TX TROPHY HUNTERS EXTRAVAGANZA. The ranch and all the sponsors pledge to continue their support as did I.

These men had left their blood on foreign soil so we can hunt and live in freedom. Please give back.  By doing so we can all "serve." Another magical blessing from this event as manufacturers who are competitors put this all aside to unite for our soldiers. How great would it be if we all did adding untold strength to our sport and country.

 This TV show will air on Double Bull Outdoors on Men's Ch. twice in Sept for 3 times each week starting Sept. 5 and Sept. 19th. Don't miss it!

 For more info contact:

 tonycovell@injuredsoldiers.net

dvargas@saluteheroes.org

or me at tdhunts@aol.com

 

 

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