Craig The people living in Northwest Colorado are fortunate to have the hunting opportunities they do so close to home, and this year, as in many past, the excellent hunting was paid forward by community members to others who are unable to experience the same thrills on their own.
Trapper Mining Inc. has partnered with Outdoor Buddies Inc. for years, bringing mobility-impaired and disabled fans of the outdoors on hunting trips in the Craig area. In 2013, Trapper employees took three outdoorsmen on cow elk hunts in Game Management Unit 13 south of Craig. They all returned with an elk in tow.
Outdoor Buddies is a nonprofit corporation that began as a therapeutic program for hospital patients with spinal cord injuries but has expanded to assist a wider-ranging group of disabled people from across the country since its creation in 1984.
Outdoor Buddies Executive Director Dwaine Robey said the charity has members in 39 states and guided more than 130 one-on-one hunts this year.
Robey has been to Craig before and hunted male elk in October, but this year, they decided it would be better to hunt in the late season for cows, when there would be more opportunity.
“The last few years, it seems like the migration patterns have changed and we’re not seeing the numbers of elk they did in previous years,” Robey said. “So we switched the late-season cow hunting, and while we were out there, we saw cow elk all over. So getting one was no problem at all.”
Along with Robey, Trapper employees Rob Sovine, Shawn and Cutter Polly, Jim and Jesse Hill and Tony Gilroy went hunting. They assisted Jack Fischer, of Colorado Springs, a wheelchair-bound 90-year-old veteran of World War II; Butch Martin, of Fishers, Ind., bound to a wheelchair as a result of an industrial accident; and Ernest Teter Jr., from Westminster, who is legally blind.
Robey has been taking Fischer on hunts for the past six years, twice in Craig. He said the Outdoor Buddies hunts are a highlight for the veteran every year.
“Every year, he says, ‘Partner, this is going to be my last year’” because of his age, Robey said. “He basically lives to get in the outdoors even though he’s wheelchair bound and homebound. He can’t get out any other way" than through Outdoor Buddies.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.