Wounded Warriors hunt dove in Zuni
Published 10:06 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014
By Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer
It was a day to be remembered when seven “Wounded Warriors,” accompanied by about a dozen little league ball players, recently took to the woods to hunt dove on a farm near Zuni.
Paired up by the host of the event, Mike Luter, who also coaches the Windsor Longhorns Little League team, seven warriors — six men, one woman — and the boys, plus a few fathers, left the Zuni Hunt Club early to spend most of the day on Luter’s 102-acre farm. At the end of the day, the group gathered at the hunt club for dinner.
“I don’t think they came back with a lot of game,” Luter said with a chuckle. “I believe someone told me that five birds were killed.
“But from the looks on their faces, they had a good time,” he added.
Luter, who grew up in the Zuni community, said he has wanted to do something to honor the warriors for a long time.
“They have given so much for us, we should never miss an opportunity to do something for them,” he said
He said he happened to meet Bud DePlachett, East Coast coordinator for Freedom Hunters, an organization that provides hunting and fishing opportunities for Wounded Warriors, at a wildlife meeting and discovered this was a way he could help.
He and DePlanchett eventually organized the hunt for a Saturday in early September.
“Originally, eight warriors were scheduled to attend, but one couldn’t make it,” said DePlanchett. “The others, who drove in from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Lynchburg, Newport News, Gloucester and West Point couldn’t have been happier.
“Although they for the most part don’t like to talk about their experiences, just knowing that they can get out and do some of the things they used to do before service is great medicine,” DePlanchett said. “None of the ones here today have lost limbs, but at least four have Purple Hearts.”
As for the young ball players, Luter said he added them to the hunt because he wanted them to get to know the warriors and realize that freedom often comes through hardship.
“I also wanted them to know that there is something else out there besides the sport of baseball, like hunting and fishing,” Luter said.
DePlanchett urges people to get involved in the Freedom Hunters program.
“There are dozens of ways to help — in addition to donating money, sportsmen can sponsor fishing and hunting trips, provide land access, contribute air miles and share time shares,” he said.
Hunt clubs can be a great help.
“These sportsman know where the good hunting and fishing spots are,” DePlanchett said with a smile, “and an occasional hunting trip for the warriors would be wonderful.”
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-4431 or 365-4162, and would be happy to assist anyone in organizing a sports event for the warriors.
Luter plans to continue organizing hunts periodically.
“I think our group here, members and their wives, had as much fun as the hunters.
“I didn’t do all this alone,” Luter added, speaking of the meal. “A lot of people donated food and every single dessert was prepared by our hunters’ wives. And I would like to thank them.”