We were recently approached for assistance by a South Carolina farmer with hog problems. He’d heard we had a night vision setup and that we could potentially help him with hog control. It took us a while to get a hog on the ground and this blog is the lead up to accomplishing the goal.
Hunting Coyotes Leads to Hunting Hogs
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog here then you’ll know that we recently upgraded to a night vision setup to better hunt coyotes. One of the locations where we hunt coyotes is near a farm and recently the farmer told us that hogs were really giving him problems. They were rooting up his land so much that he’s also hired a guy to trap the hogs. Nobody on our team is a hog expert but we wanted to do our best to help and we were up for learning!
The trapper was regularly catching hogs in the pen and we figured we’d put out a game camera to get a feel for what was going on. In 3 days we had 600 pictures and there was a large pack of hogs that were coming in all throughout the night starting shortly after sundown. It was hard to tell exactly how many, but we guessed 10-15. We got a pattern for when they were coming and we threw out a little corn and planned a date to try out first hog hunt.
The First Hunt
Gavin and I were excited to try and get a hog. Neither of us had shot a hog before because we don’t have them around our hunting leases. It would be a first for us and that helped make it a good challenge. I guess I should also add here that our first hog hunt also occurred during the same time frame where we were having issues sighting in the thermal scope!
On our way to the farm we talked about waiting until the whole group got there so we could have better chances for multiple hogs and we could pick out the biggest one. They were coming out in groups, per the recon from the game camera. We had a plan and were ready to rock.
We arrived to the farm around 9 and got setup. We’d been there about 35 minutes when we started to see some heat signatures coming through the woods. At first it was one big hog, walking solo and I was whispering to Gavin “Shoot that big rascal!” but Gavin held off. I was all excited and Gavin was actually doing what we’d discussed on the way over there… and I was glad he did. Just a few minutes later the woods lit up. It was a sight to see. 12 hogs all came from the same direction and headed out to the corn. Having never seen a hog before I didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing I noticed was how quickly they moved around. I figured they’d be slow, sluggish, and hold still for long periods of time, but that was not the case. They can move pretty quickly. Once the whole group got out there Gavin picked one out and shot. The whole group scattered and he shot again. We went down and walked and looked for blood… nothing anywhere to be found. We’d missed. Another trip to the shooting range was to come.
More Trips to the Farm
After missing the hog we were again frustrated. We re-sighted the gun in and waited until the next weekend. All the while we’re putting out corn and the farmer is filling us in on when the hogs are back. On the next weekend that we could line things up we headed back. This time as we approached the field we saw the hogs entering the field from a different location. It was about to be the quickest hunt ever. Just when we started looking in the scope we heard coyotes howling very close to us. We stood there trying to figure out what to do. As we watched the hogs in the monocular the coyotes continued to howl and to our amazement the hogs turned around and exited the field. Looking back on it we think the hogs left to protect their young ones. They had 3 little hogs with them and leaving was probably the best bet for them with the coyotes howling like crazy on the edge of the field. After this happened we stayed there for a while and waited. We felt sure the hogs would return. They didn’t. So, we broke out the coyote call and stared calling coyotes. That’s the night I shot 2 coyotes on video as seen in this video.
Shooting the coyotes proved that the scope was indeed zero’d in and we had more confidence. The next weekend came around and we returned yet again. This time the hogs were there when we arrived! We got into position and it was Gavin’s turn on the gun again. He put the dot on the hog and let the hammer drop. We both could see in the monocular and scope that when he shot the hog he was aiming at jumped up in the air. We knew he’d hit it! We went down and found blood. We trailed blood for 2 hours through some very thick briars and ultimately the blood trail stopped and we never found the hog. Frustrating again, but we were inching closer.
Going From 223 to 300 Black Out
We reviewed the footage and it was evident that Gavin made a good shot. With this we discussed and researched and decided to make some changes. We worked with the team at Reel Determined Outdoors to change out the upper on the Anderson Rifles AR=15 from a 223 to a 300 black out. This is a unique capability of the AR that gives hunters flexibility. In this scenario, it allowed us to shoot a bigger bullet, one that most hog hunters use.
The next weekend we went back and stayed out there for 3 hours and never saw a hog, but did hear a bunch of coyotes and I missed a coyote! This time we knew the scope was dialed in, I’d just made a bad shot.
Interested in our setup?
We shoot an Anderson Arms AR-15 with RF-85 technology. (You never have to oil the gun). On top of the gun we have a Pulsar Thermal Scope + video recorder. Any Anderson gun and any Pulsar Thermal Scope will be great setup for you too!
We upgraded! Since the blog entry we've upgraded to the Anderson Arms AM-10 308 ( a bigger bullet). You can read about the new setup here.
The Hunt We Finally Got It Done
You may be reading and wondering “How many weekends is it going to take for things to line up for these guys?” … and that’s exactly what we were wondering too. Our luck would be changing soon though.
The farmer reached out to us about mid-week and said “The hogs are back big time”. He’d seen more and more evidence of the hogs rooting and they had wiped out all the corn that we had out. (Side note: trying to keep a pack of hogs fed with corn gets expensive quickly!) So we planned our hunt.
Again this time the hogs were out in the field as soon as we got to the field. Gavin and I quietly got into position. The whole time we could hear the hogs grunting and snorting down near the pen. From the look of the monocular it seemed like one hog was actually trapped in the pen, but we’d later see that it wasn’t.
It was Gavin’s “redemption hog” turn on the gun. I’ve got him trained not to be shooting anything until I’ve got video rolling too 😉 Anyways, we were in position, gun was sighted in very nicely, video was rolling and I gave Gavin the greenlight. We were whispering to each other about which one he was going to shoot. I was watching in the monocular while Gavin was in the scope. Gavin asked me if I was ready and I said yes… then there was a long pause. Gavin giggled… he said “I didn’t take the safety off!” Yes it sounds crazy, but we were so worked up and ready to get it done that our hearts were beating and we were both breathing heavy! Then he said “Aight, I’m shooting the big one” and moments later the first shot rang out. As they ran off Gavin continued to unload on the big boy, which we’d also discussed on the way to the farm. At the shot there was no sign of hitting the hog. It did not jump, flinch, or move awkwardly. With the 223 we tried for head shots, but with the 300 black out we put it on the shoulder. Gavin and I talked as we tried to calm down. He said he felt he made a good shot.
Minutes later we went down to the area where the hogs were. No blood. What! He made a good shoot, the gun was sighted in, we’d upgraded to a bigger bullet… why did it not work out! We were already making plans to go back, yet again, to the shooting range. We decided to walk over in the direction where the hogs ran. There was no blood anywhere to be found. We scanned in the thermal looking for heat signatures in the field and didn’t see anything. The only thing we saw were a few wet spots that looked like slobber or something in the dirt, but it definitely wasn’t blood. We were growing frustrated as you can imagine.
This farm is in an area with lots of hills. As you can see in the video the hogs were just behind a small hill when we shot. As we talked and walked the edge of the field you could just tell there was a vibe of frustration, an energy of we-didn’t-get-it-done-yet-again going on. Then Gavin said “What is that?” And I said “What?” He pulled out the thermal scope and said “That’s the freaking hog right there!” and I looked and man it was huge laying right there on the edge of the field. What happened was the hog did not bleed at all and ran about 60 yards around a corner and laid down on the edge of the woods just behind a hill of dirt. This is why we could not see it in the thermal. Instantly we got all excited and the vibe changed from one of dejection and frustration to one of celebration and excitement! We’d finally accomplished the goal and got a hog on the ground. And yes the 300 blackout really put it on the hog. We high-fived and drug the hog out to take some pics. When we grabbed the hog to drag it and take pics we had to re-grip the legs because it was so big. I’ve drug a lot of deer in my life and this thing was heavier than any deer I’ve ever drug. I’m guessing it went around 220 lbs. It was a healthy female hog and yes it stunk!
After multiple attempts at getting a hog we finally succeeded and it felt good to get in the end zone for once! We finally had proof to the farmer that we could help him out. We’ve finally got things dialed in and set up and guess what… the farmer has already let us know that the hogs are back again so we will be heading back out sooner than later.
Do you have problems with hogs or know a farmer who does?
We are now ready to help! Just reach out to us here on the website via the Contact Us form or contact Gavin Jackson at 843.517.9920.
Another South Carolina Farmer With Nuisance Hog Problems
We’ve recently been in communications with another local farmer who’s crop were being demolished by hogs. On this specific farmer’s land, the hogs showing up and rooting his crop fields was a new occurrence. Frustrated and not exactly sure of how to solve this problem the farmer asked us how quickly we could help him out. Within a day we had game cameras set up and were getting recon on the hog’s pattern on this specific property.
Big & J Hog Products Help the Hunt
In this setup the area where the hogs were showing up was narrow in nature. The field makes kind of a point where the hogs have easy access and had been rooting. This meant we most likely wouldn’t get multiple shots and would need to get the hogs to the middle of this area of the field.
To coax the hogs into the middle of the field we used something that would be memorable for them, Big & J’s new Hog attractant products. We spread both Hogs-Hamer-It and Pigs-Dig-It on top of corn in the middle of this point in the field. And it didn’t take long before we had them coming in and loving what Big & J’s products had to offer!
Only One Hog Came Through
Due to the amount of damage we’d been seeing on this property we anticipated seeing several hogs, but on this hunt, it didn’t play out that way. The wind was not in our favor and was blowing pretty strong. We sat for a while and shot the breeze. Early in the night we had a deer that kept walking through the field and right around midnight we had a solo hog come in and go straight to the Big & J hog attractant marinated corn pile!
For us it’s rare to see a solo hog like this unless it was a really big male. So we waited thinking that more would eventually come out. And we waited and waited and waited. It seemed like forever, but it was probably around 10 minutes or so. Evidently the hog was there by itself. We decided to go ahead and pull the trigger because we didn’t want that one to get out of there before we could get a shot off and nothing else seemed to be showing up.
As you can see on the video below, the Anderson Arms 308 with Pulsar Trail XP50 made quick work of this hog. The hog flopped on the spot and our tracking job was easy! We loaded her up, took some pics, and took her to the processor.
Another nuisance South Carolina hog headed to the freezer.
Do You Have Hog Problems?
If you have hog problems we’re happy to help. Learn more about how we are helping land owners and farmers with their hog problems on the SC Hog Removal page.
Have you ever heard about Carolina Adventure World? If you haven?t, then you?re missing out?especially if you?re into ATV?s, dirt bikes, or any type of off-roading. I had previously heard of how awesome Carolina Adventure World was from some of my friends, but had never actually been to the facility. I was finally able to check it out and the place truly is awesome! After visiting the site, I now understand why my friends raved so much about it.
Carolina Adventure World is located in Winnsboro, SC so no matter where you may be in the state, it?s not a bad drive. I headed down from Rock Hill and it was a really easy drive straight down 77. It only took me about 45 minutes to get there. You take one turn off the exit and 2 miles later the next turn is into the huge gates out in front of the park. When I saw the front gate, I could easily tell that the park was a nice size operation. You know how an entrance kind of signals the scale of the development that you?re entering...it was the same way with this facility. The entrance had a big gate and 2 huge signs that can easily be seen from the road. If you?re on the right road, you don?t have to worry about missing the place because there?s no way you could ride by it with the entrance.
As we descended down the hill Jim took me to the storage and maintenance buildings where we picked up our ride for the day. While we were back there I saw a huge building where they keep a lot of their rental ATV?s, dirt bikes, helmets, shin guards, boots, and other gear. In case you?re interested, Carolina Adventure World rents Yamaha Rhino Side by Sides, Yamaha Grizzly ATVs and Honda Dirt Bikes. The building where they store their rides was a nice and clean facility.
Just next door the guys were working on a 4-wheeler that had something wrong with it. Jim mentioned to me that Carolina Adventure World offers assistance with repairs to any visitors that happen to have a problem with their ATV while they?re at the park and that CAW can also stow ATV?s should visitors desire to leave them there for a while. So, if you?d like, you can store your machines at CAW between visits and they can have it cleaned, gassed, and ready to ride and waiting on you! CAW has staff on hand that can also provide any repairs or service needed before you return to the park.
After talking with the guys at the shop for a minute we got our ride for the day, a really neat vehicle called a ?Razor?. We then headed back to the main entrance and to the Welcome Center. We stopped at the Welcome Center to check it out and it is first class. It was very clean and had anything you could possibly want if you were looking to ride, eat, or even shop for clothes! The Welcome Center serves multiple purposes to Carolina Adventure World visitors. The Welcome Center is where you get started at the park. You purchase your passes there, find information about the trails, buy anything from food, to coke, to wenches, goggles, vinyl stickers, t-shirts, to hats, and on and on. They also have large bathrooms in the back and a big kitchen. The Welcome Center has an open-aired wraparound porch feel too it where rocking chairs and ATV?s that can be rented are located.
Beside the Welcome Center is a shower room where you can go and get washed up after riding if you?d like. We weren?t riding too fast or for too long and I still got pretty muddy and was tempted to go in there, but didn?t! The wash room is definitely a good resource to have on location, but its primary use is for visitors who come to stay the whole weekend. Carolina Adventure World is RV & Camper friendly and encourages families and/or groups to come up and stay for multiple days. The park is structured so that RV?s and Campers both can have access and they provide electricity, water, and an on-site dumping station for those wishing to come and call the park home for a few days. I was pretty impressed with that. And if you don?t own an RV?Carolina Adventure World has RV Campers for rent that sleep up to eight people. If you?re interested in that, be sure to call early to make reservations as they book the RV?s early for weekends.
Across from the Welcome center is a huge parking lot where visitors park and unload their ATV?s and dirt-bikes. If you?re like me and are not good at driving a trailer you don?t have to worry because the parking lot is plenty big enough and makes it?s easy to make wide turns. The Welcome Center is also just up the hill from the main mud bog.
The mud bog is just past the Welcome Center to the left and appears to be the location of where a lot of fun takes place. Though, Jim mentioned to me that most ATVs that get in the mud bog are equipped with snorkels and gear ready to be submerged beneath the water. The mud bog has a small section of bleachers beside it and is oval-shaped with an island of land in the middle of it. The island has some lights on it so I assume you can ride through the mud at night there as well. Beside that mud bog is another mud bog on a lower level that is similar except it doesn?t have an island of land in the middle. The first mud bog leads to the next mud bog in a stair-step-like manner with regards to the lay of the land. Beside the mud bogs is the much needed wash-off area. It?s kind of like a car-wash, but for ATV?s. The area has pressurized water hoses that can give you the necessary PSI to get the mud off.
After passing all this we continued down to the dirt-drag-strip which was really neat as well. The strip is fit with the digital clock that shows accurate times and the starting line had starter lights too. We pulled right up to the track and gave it a whirl. Jim noted that the track was a little muddy due to all the recent rain, but that normally it?s pretty solid and you can get a better grip which gives more speed and better times. It?s very similar to a regular drag-strip, but is just on dirt and is smaller and shorter. I believe Jim said the track is around 300 feet long.
A mother and daughter riding through the park
After we checked that out we went riding a little further around the facility and started riding on the trails. Not too long after we were down a trail some huge bull dozers, backhoes and large machinery came into vision. Jim informed me that Carolina Adventure World crushes rock on site to help with the maintenance of the trails. They pack the rock on the trails where erosion occurs and sometimes use it to elevate trails when necessary. I was impressed with the level of commitment to the on-going maintenance of the facility.
Along the way of the miles and miles of trails we crossed a nice wooden bridge that ran over Big Wateree Creek which is like a small river. We also saw many mud holes that were primed and ready to be ridden through, and we scaled a lot of steep hills and slopes. You may think that SC is all flat, but I?m here to tell you that this place has some major hills and rugged terrain. You can literally find any kind of riding trail that you can imagine there. We rode all the way to the back and ended up at a really swampy looking pond. It was nice looking and when we rode up to it about 7 wood ducks flew off. I imagine that the duck hunters would love to have been in this swampy area.
After riding on a few of the trails and service roads some more, we headed back up to the front of the facility. By this time I had a good bit of mud on me and had taken 151 pictures and 52 videos and both cameras had mud on them as well. I was worried if the footage would make it out alive, but everything came out just fine.
Other bits of information that may be interesting to you is that Carolina Adventure World holds several competitions and events throughout the year. From mud bogging competitions, to events for hunters, and even organizational retreats and dinners, CAW is in the mix in a lot of ways.
Jim noted that Carolina Adventure World holds several Championship Mud Bog Races throughout the year. See www.ChampionshipMudRacing.com for more info on that. Along with hosting the championship races CAW has held the Brian Fisher Weekend Event several times, has rides where they?re open until midnight, bon fires, and even a poker run.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone interested in 4-wheelers, ATV?s, dirt bikes, mud bogging, or off-roading. The scale of the operation is huge, there are tons of trails (2,500 acres to be exact), safety measures have been taken, they have on-site repairs and rentals, and everything you need is at the Welcome Center. If you?re into the outdoors and off-roading, then you won?t regret giving Carolina Adventure World a chance. While we were there we saw people from multiple states and some were there with their families enjoying the park. If you do go out and see the facility and ride, let me know what you think about it. I?m not aware of anything else like it in the area. Much like True Timber Camo, this place is a hidden gem right here in our own back yard.
Below is a video I made of the day at Carolina Adventure World
For more information you can stay tuned to CarolinaAdventureWorld.com for details of upcoming events. Should you want to be ?in the loop? all the time, CAW also sends out an E-Newsletter with details of upcoming events that you can register to receive. Still planned for the rest of this year is a Big Labor Day Weekend Ride, another Poker Run, the famous Red Neck Nationals and the year?s final Championship Mud Racings Event to determine the CMR?s End of Year $18,000 payouts! I didn?t know you could make that much money slinging mud! Maybe that can be my second career :)
We are excited to announce that Carolina Adventure World is partnering with WeHuntSC.com to sponsor all 5 competitions this hunting season. Carolina Adventure World is an outdoor park located in Winnsboro, SC and is a must see facility for ATV, dirt-bike, and camping enthusiasts. See the Carolina Adventure World review blog entry for more details about the facility.
With regards to the contests, Carolina Adventure World is giving away 2 free day passes + a free Carolina Adventure World hat for each competition winner. After visiting the park, I can tell you that this is part of the prize package that you will definitely appreciate. A BIG thanks to Carolina Adventure World for partnering with us this year on the competitions.
And the competition prize packages just keep getting better?
Here's the video again
WeHuntSC.com noticed considerable growth in site traffic this past week with the welcoming of several rabbit hunters from all over South Carolina. If you are into hunting rabbits and you?re in South Carolina, then you need to get in the loop with the rabbit hunters on our site. These guys are from all different corners of the state and are very passionate about rabbit hunting and the dogs they use to hunt them!
I don?t know much about rabbit hunting, but I?m learning slowly over time. Though, I can tell you from going hunting with Hoot and watching the message board that rabbit hunting is just as much about the dogs as it is about rabbits. I would venture to say that you won?t find many rabbit hunters who aren?t also dog lovers. Now it makes sense to me why Hoot didn?t even carry a gun when he took us rabbit hunting last winter.
It seems that the dogs must be trained year round and I will say that these ?bunn brothers? talk about the breed of dogs and where they descend from like they just researched someone?s family tree and wrote a report on their heritage. They know this stuff inside and out. If you?re not on the inside of the rabbit hunting world then the language they speak when it comes to blood lines can be a little hard to follow. I find it neat and interesting that these guys know all this information about their dog?s lineage and pedigree and discuss it so frequently. I guess it is necessary though if you want to have the best dogs trailing some rabbits!
We?re happy to have all the new site members aboard and welcome any others that may wish to join in on the fun!
Recently I was made aware of some pretty impressive achievements that a South Carolina youngster made that deserve some recognition. Lancaster?s Blake Hodge recently traveled to Houston Texas to compete in the World Duck and Goose Calling Championships. Blake competed in both solo and team competitions at both the youth and adult levels. Winning awards in multiple categories, Blake proved to be competitive on numerous levels.
Blake is just 14 years old and has only been duck and goose calling competitively for 3 years. He?s gotten pretty good with it too! You may be a skeptic, but just wait until you see the video below and it will surely make you a believer. Also, it?s important to note that while Blake won in both the adult and youth competitions.
Blake?s winnings consisted of:
I was able to catch up with Blake this past weekend and do a quick interview with him. We were able to get him to do some calling for us a well. The boy?s got talent and I have to say that I wouldn?t mind having him in a blind with me cause he sure can call better than I can at this point!
Congratulations to Blake on his winnings and for representing South Carolina very well at the championships!
For Mississippi native Kirk Thomas, one date is etched in his mind forever -<st1:date w:st="on" month="11" day="27" year="1992">November 27, 1992. After a morning deer hunt, as he was heading back to his truck, a falling tree struck him and sent the 6-foot 5 inch, 321 pound former college football player hurling through the air. When Thomas landed he was laying face up on the ground with a crushed back and a multitude of internal injuries. After an operation, hospital stay and rehabilitation, at the age of 33, Thomas was facing life as a T-12 paraplegic requiring the use of a wheelchair the rest of his life.
Thomas didn’t stay down long. He worked his tail off rehabbing and working extra every day to get his strength back. He had to learn how to do everything without the use of his massive legs. “I had a family to take care of and to do this it meant I had to get my butt back to work selling heavy equipment. I never felt sorry for myself, I didn’t have time too. Besides there was no way I was going to let my disability rob me of life. Quite frankly, I never quit working. After I was moved to re-hab after my surgeries and hospital stay, I would call customers at night from my hospital bed in an effort to keep income coming in. After 58 days I left the hospital totally focused on being all I could be. I learned how to climb in my truck so I could start driving and get back to work. The way I saw it was simple, I was still alive, I still had the same responsibilities, I had a life to live and it was up to me to accept the responsibility to make the most of it. Since my accident I’ve had a total of 26 surgeries, was kept alive on a ventilator for 9 days, fought off and beat a blood bacteria infection that was suppose to be fatal and I have was close to death 2 more times. I chose to see and meet everyone of these challenges as an opportunity and most importantly as a blessing”, said Thomas
In 1996, a renewed approach to life, combined with his love of the outdoors, led Thomas to create Wheelin’ Sportsmen of America, an organization that hosted disabled people at fishing and hunting events by pairing able-bodied volunteers to assist them. The efforts of Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Thomas began to be recognized nationwide. It wasn’t long before he began speaking all across the country in an effort to promote Wheelin’ Sportsmen and recreational opportunities for disabled people. His actions caught the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF’) attention and in late 2000, Wheelin’ Sportsmen became an official outreach program of the Federation. “The merger between Wheelin’ Sportsmen and the Federation was an awesome opportunity for both organizations” Thomas said.
“I have always thought that God had a plan for us all but for me… he presented me with the opportunity, desire and passion to help people and give back to others. This became my desire and mission that I live it every day. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing people who never thought they could get outside and participate in an activity receive the opportunity to do so. When my accident happened, I was one of the blessed one’s; I had friends and family that made sure I got the opportunity to continue my love of the outdoors. After my accident I was asked to become a member of the AL Independent Living Council which I did. When I was around other disabled individuals it didn’t take long to find out the many barriers that disabled people faced when it came to doing anything mush less than participating in outdoor activities. I’ve always looked at what I do as a way to give back for all the support I received. I’ve dedicated my life to helping disabled people as a way to say thanks for the support I received. This is a part of me and it’s in my soul. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s why I sit in this chair everyday. It’s hard for some people to understand but, I have always seen my disability as a blessing and a gift from God. I wouldn’t change my disability or what I’ve gone through over the years for anything” said Thomas.
While at the NWTF, Thomas led the programs efforts serving as its National Coordinator /Founder of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program. Thomas grew Wheelin’ Sportsmen from a grassroots program to a national network of activity, bringing outdoor events to thousands of disabled people across the country. He quickly became known as a well-respected leader in the outdoor world, winning numerous awards and honors for his work on behalf of people with disabilities. Thomas has testified before Congress concerning outdoor assessable recreation for disabled individuals. He has chaired numerous hearings to open up new opportunities for disabled sportsmen. A powerful motivational speaker, Thomas is asked to speak all over the country sharing his story of determination, triumph and success.
Thomas’s life changed again July 2nd. 2008 when Thomas made the decision to tender his resignation as the Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF leader. Thomas said, “Making the decision to leave the Wheelin’ program was very hard. But the decision came clear and easy to me when my heart told me it was time. Wheelin’ sportsmen had been my life for a very long time. It was a vision and a dream, I witness its growth, and saw it help a lot of folks over the years. The Wheelin program will always be special to me but another new and powerful dream was leading me in a new and different direction.”
Thomas began focusing his efforts toward his new dream “Outdoors Without Limits” (OWL)” in 2008. Thomas serve’s as its Executive Director/Founder. “I am extremely excited about the future of OWL. We’re making a tremendous difference in the lives of a lot of folks, disabled, non-disabled, volunteers and our partners. Developing OWL has put breath back in me. It take’s a tremendous amount of hard work, but somehow it gets done” said Thomas.
The organizations design is unique but simple. It’s all about building community based chapters. “Chapters have the opportunity to focus their attention and efforts on providing disabled individuals opportunities within their own communities. We’re totally inclusive and we encourage everyone to get involved disabled or non-disabled. We take pride in allowing membership to be an elective. We don’t want the dollar to interfere with participation. While raising revenue is extremely important and needed you can’t allow it to negate participation especially when it comes to disabled participants who have never had the opportunity to try it. OWL has one simple and direct mission which is to provide opportunity. If we put the dollar in front of this opportunity we not only fail our mission but we fail the people we’re trying to serve. It doesn’t matter what kind of disability a person has or doesn’t have and age doesn’t play a factor. We have an assortment of programs and events our chapters can host according to their needs, abilities or logistics. We also host National Ultimate Adventure events. Most of these are co-hosted by a community chapter. Our Ultimate Adventure program is experiencing some outstanding growth. Simply put, we’re not all about hunting and fishing; we’re about getting folks outside so we can get the sun on their backs. There is an abundance of way’s to accomplish this. The only way I know how to run OWL is like a big ole happy and giving family. If someone comes to an OWL event and leaves without feeling like a family member or a part of the team, then we failed them and the OWL organization. Simply put, I see OWL as a life changing and saving organization for everyone who becomes involved. We take pride in proving this, said Thomas.
Thomas surrounds himself with a lot of great volunteers, a lot of which have worked with him since his early days with Wheelin’ Sportsmen. Some of these individuals have years of experience coordinating events and acting as advocates for people with disabilities. “OWL is a volunteer dependant organization and there’s no questioning the fact that our volunteer’s have always and will continue to play a key role in our successes. There would not be an OWL organization without them. I couldn’t be any prouder to have the help we receive. I know a lot of these people, and I know where their hearts are. They get the job done. As a matter of fact, when it comes right down to it, I receive a lot of the credit but these are the individuals that should receive it, not me. Volunteers are my hero’s and there the rubber that hit’s the road. OWL is successful because of their efforts. OWL volunteers are life changers and savers”, said Thomas.
OWL is guided by an eleven person National Board of Directors, and a five member Executive Advisory Board for specific needs. “These are respected individuals from either the conservation or business world; they take an active leadership role in the organization. I am more than pleased with our National Board and Advisory Board members. There willingness to step up to lead and lend a hand to help is priceless,” said Thomas.
OWL also has an Advisory Council that consists of disabled and non-disabled members. “These individuals play a key role in our direction and success. They are either volunteer leaders or participates that are heavily involved with OWL. We need and appreciate receiving their feedback and help. I have always said, to improve you have know what you need to improve on. The Council members do a super job in helping to improve and develop OWL. All in all, as an organization, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. We’re going to stay the course, continue our mission and do everything we can do to change as many lives as we can”, said Thomas.
Kirk Thomas can be reached at 706.788.9878 or by cell at803.480.0167. His email address is email@example.com. For additional information on the Outdoors Without Limits program visit their website at www.OutdoorsWithoutLimits.net.
About Outdoors Without Limits (OWL): OWL is a 501c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and opportunity for people with disabilities. Its goal is to educate those with disabilities about the possibilities of outdoor recreational activities while providing them the necessary education, opportunity and assistance to participate.
OWL was designed to increase awareness, resources and opportunities that directly impact people and the communities where they live. The program strives to challenge stereotypes about disabilities and promote awareness of “ability” in a positive outdoor environment.
To get involved, participate or change the stereotype of what defines “ability” in your community go to www.outdoorswithoutlimits.net for more information.