September 23: Zach Ware & Cody Green

September 24th - 26th, 2008

Story as Told by Eric Grover:

Bill Rands opened his arms again and welcomed Catch-A-Dream and the SHOT Program (Safe Hunters of Tomorrow) to host this annual hunt for two youth with life-threatening illnesses. Zach and Cody were in for a Dream Hunt -- a three-day, full-blown all-out fair-chase hunt for one black bear and two whitetail each. These tags were donated through the DNR by Conservation Warden Jeremy Peery.

The first day started with training for the boys and some time at the range sighting in their weapons. The first night out, I filmed Zach. We set up an Ameristep blind overlooking a beautiful Biologic foodplot with hopes to fill a whitetail tag. With several deer on the foodplot, Zach patiently waited for a nice buck. As the deer lifted their heads and spooked off, just moments later a nice black bear fed into the foodplot. Zach made a great, quartering-away shot and put his first black bear on the ground. With excitement in the camp, we made plans for the second day. I switched off to film Cody and we rounded up all the local bear hunters and their dogs to put a chase on for another black bear. It was a rough morning for the dogs, treeing several small black bear and with another day to hunt, Cody decided to pass. That evening I set up with Cody again. This time we revisited the spot where Michaela last year had taken a beautiful black bear. It was a beautiful night with several deer on the large foodplot. Just 20 minutes before closing time, Cody makes a great shot on a nice 8 point buck. After the whitetail goes down, I swing back to do cut-aways with Cody and in just a few minutes several more deer move back into the field. A mature, 4-year-old doe decides to check out Cody's buck. With another tag to fill, Cody makes another great shot and we now have two deer laying within 15 yards of each other and Cody's two whitetail tags are now filled. That same night, Zach was out looking to fill his first whitetail tag, and made a nice shot on a nice buck. So by the end of day two, these two boys had filled four of the six tags.

Last day to hunt: We team up with the bear hunters and dogs to try to find a black bear for Cody. After about three hours, the dogs were running hard, they had treed a bear and it was time to get Cody in position. This bear was at least 40 feet up the tree, and if you have ever chased bears with hounds, you will know just how exciting it can be. Cody was able to get positioned to make an excellent shot that sent this bear to the ground. I was amazed to watch so much generous help by these volunteers and Cody's face said it all with a large smile. Cody had filled all three of his tags. That afternoon, we gathered together at Bill's beautiful log cabin and had a wonderful pig roast and made plans for a last night out with Zach. We set up over a large biologic foodplot and waited patiently for the whitetail to feed from the woods. With three mature doe on the field, Zach again showed his patience waiting for the perfect quartering-away shot. With just minutes left of hunting time, Zach makes the shot and fills the last of the six tags. I was humbled with all of the support and help from so many people. Hats off to Bill Rands, Rick Nash, Jeremy Peery, Tom Pate, and Tony Benik for hosting this hunt. These two boys for three days forgot about their life-threatening illnesses and truly had a dream hunt. Thanks to all the support and help and thanks for involving me and Drury Outdoors to take part in this annual hunt. I can't wait until next year!