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December Newsletter

It’s Not Too Late to Make Your 2018 Tax-Deductible Donation to Outdoor Buddies!

Year-end is almost here and many of us are considering making tax-deductible donations to our favorite charitable organizations. Please consider making a donation to Outdoor Buddies to help offset expenses for our programs. Your contribution will help allow us to continue and expand services to those in need of assistance in order to enjoy the great Colorado outdoors.

A good way to make a tax-deductible donation to Outdoor Buddies is through the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation’s (WMVCF) annual Spirit Campaign. That way, the Foundation will match a portion of your donation.

Make a Donation to Outdoor Buddies via the WMVCF Spirit Campaign

The Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation conducts its annual Community Spirit Matching campaign to benefit local nonprofit organizations each November through the end of the year.

The Foundation will contribute matching funds, when donations are received by December 31st.

The maximum amount that will be matched is $1,000 per family and/or business. Donations may also be made directly to the Community Foundation Spirit Campaign to increase the matching funds and further stretch the community’s charitable dollars.

Donors wishing to take advantage of matching funds for donations made to Outdoor Buddies must use the donor form provided by the Foundation. Make checks payable to the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation (or WMV Community Foundation).

Donations to Outdoor Buddies are tax-deductible.

To make a donation to Outdoor Buddies by check through the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation please print Page 8 of this newsletter and use the donor form. You can also make your Outdoor Buddies donation using a credit card via the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation website at: https://www.wmvcf.org/donations/

Thank you for considering making a donation to Outdoor Buddies.


Stetson’s Pronghorn Hunt

By Nick & Mike Filler with photos by Kristin Morin

Friday, October 5th, 2018 was a classic Colorado “Bluebird” day; clear skies, almost hot (72 degrees), and full of anticipation about an upcoming hunt.  We picked up Stetson Bardfield from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where he trains as a para-Olympian.  It’s important to note that Stenson is an air-rifle marksman, so knows a great deal about the mechanics of making precise and accurate shots.  As we headed north on I-25 toward Meadow Springs Ranch in northern Colorado, we discussed hunting and the incredible opportunity afforded to hunters with disabilities by the Outdoor Buddies program.  Upon arrival at the campsite, we signed-in and visited with other guides, hunters and Outdoor Buddies staff-members.

Saturday, October 6th reminded us that we live in Colorado.  The temperature was hovering around freezing; there was fog and the mist was threatening to start sticking to everything.  After a welcome, a safety briefing and general directions concerning the ranch, approximately 20 vehicles departed the campground.  All hunters were going after the shifty pronghorn.  Although many of the hunters had doe tags, Stetson was fortunate enough to have a buck tag in his pocket.

The first few hours of hunting were frustrating due to the number of hunters/vehicles and the very limited visibility.  Around 11 am, we spotted a small herd and put the stalk on them.  The short version of the story is after several failed attempts to cut them off, we watched helplessly, as they did the pronghorn shuffle under a fence.  Of course, the fence was the hunting boundary.

We decided to head back to camp for a quick lunch, an update on how other hunters had faired, and an afternoon strategy that would hopefully increase our chances of getting a pronghorn in Stetson’s crosshairs.

Again, several failed attempts to get ahead of small herds yielded nothing.  The highlight to that point was Nick Filler carrying Stetson to the crest of a hill – hoping to intercept a nice buck.  However, the herd outsmarted us and it was off to the next challenge.

Around 3:30 pm, we crossed a very narrow “bridge” which consisted of a corrugated pipe just barely wider than our vehicle.  We’re not sure if holding one’s breath makes the vehicle any narrower, but we stayed on the road and didn’t have to call a fellow hunter to tow us out of the mud.  Less than a mile later, we spotted a lone buck standing on the ridgeline of a hill.  Visibility was good; the initial range was about 375 yards, and the buck was definitely a “shooter”.  The problem: he was on the ridgeline, so there was no way to make a safe or ethical shot.  After several minutes of watching him and expecting him to disappear over the hill, the pronghorn gods smiled upon us and he started walking downhill.  Halleluiah!

This is where the Olympic Athlete went to work.  Sitting in the right-rear seat of the vehicle (with the proper authorization), and using a swimming pool noodle/gun rest on the partially opened window, Stetson setup for the 345-yard shot.  Breathing control, a delicate yet firm grip and a light touch on the trigger are all things that are second-nature to Stetson.  Finally, when everything was stable, he gently squeezed.  The 7mm Mag roared as the 168-grain bullet flew straight and true and the pronghorn went down.

Hoots and high-fives quickly followed!

Stetson poses with his handsome pronghorn buck.
Stetson poses with his handsome pronghorn buck.

The hunt was over and it was time for photos and animal recovery.

The team photo; (standing) Mike Filler, (front row, left to right) Kristin Morin, Nick Filler, and Stetson Bardfield.
The team photo; (standing) Mike Filler, (front row, left to right) Kristin Morin, Nick Filler, and Stetson Bardfield.

Upon returning to camp, we saw that other hunters had been successful as well.

Nick made quick work of taking the buck apart and getting the meat in a cooler.

That evening lent itself to hunting stories, maybe a few lies, and an appreciation for the camaraderie that we had all enjoyed.

Thanks to Outdoor Buddies, the City of Fort Collins and all of the volunteers who made this a great hunting experience.


Outdoor Buddies Youth Outreach Pronghorn Hunts Continuing in Northern Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has created a variety of programs that focus on the recruitment and retention of youth hunters in Colorado. The Youth Outreach Hunting License Program is a part of an overall outreach strategy to aid sponsoring partnership organizations in their efforts to develop and sustain youth programs at the local community level. For the purposes of this program, a sponsoring organization must be a sportsman’s group, conservation group or youth mentoring organization. The organization must have a minimum of 10 members, have an elected or appointed Executive Officer, have regularly scheduled meetings, have a youth mentoring program, and support the use of hunting, trapping, and fishing as the primary methods of effecting necessary wildlife harvests.

Outdoor Buddies is recognized as a sponsoring organization and is conducting 25 youth outreach pronghorn hunts this year.

Following are two stories from these hunts.

Alexis Crow Story

This was my first antelope hunt ever and it was with Outdoor Buddies. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

My sister, Alyssa, and I were really lucky to have the opportunity to hunt with Larry Sanford and Nick Filler over Thanksgiving break and having us as the only hunters out that day.

We got to the property around 6:30am after getting lost a couple of times.

Four of us, Alyssa, Nick, my dad Justin Crow, and me, piled into my dad’s truck while Larry went further down into the property. While we were driving around, my dad and Nick kept talking about goats in the front seat, I had no idea what the goats were and I thought they were talking about farm goats. It turns out goats is a nickname for antelope.

We went on multiple stalks and I took a couple shots but missed both.

Then it was my sister’s turn to shoot, we went on a couple stalks and then she got one on her second stalk. Now it was on!

We went on countless stalks and I kept shooting and missing. I’m normally an awesome shot and dead on at 200 yards but something with my gun was off.

So after I shot at Larry’s antelope target a couple times the gun was shooting low, which made me feel better because I felt bad for using most of their day.

We went on one more stalk around 2pm and I decided just to use my sister’s gun because we knew it worked.

After walking for a little bit Nick spotted a huge group of antelope. Nick and I army crawled up a hill to get within 50 yards of them and they got spooked by me clicking my safety off.

They circled back around a couple of times and I was able to pick a doe out and heart shot it and it ran maybe 50 yards and she dropped.

Alexis poses with her pronghorn doe.
Alexis poses with her pronghorn doe.

The day overall was an overwhelming success full of laughs and great memories.

Thank you Outdoor Buddies and especially Nick and Larry!

 

Alyssa Crow Story

It was the day before Thanksgiving when my dad, sister, and I drove up to Carr, Colorado for a doe antelope hunt with Outdoor Buddies. We were there hunting with Larry Sanford and Nick Filler.

First thing that morning, we started to see some wildlife roaming the area. We saw a bunch of mule deer walking around the moment we drove off in the truck.

After seeing a couple of antelope herds from far off, we decided to look in a different area of the ranch.

We glassed an open valley where we saw a lone doe. She was pretty far off, so we decided to wait for her to walk our way. After about 20 or so minutes, we finally saw her pop up over a hill. Unfortunately she was still too far to shoot, but ended up giving us a good laugh. She had absolutely had no idea of where she was going. All she was doing was walking back and forth, and getting distracted by every single bush she saw. After the doe walked away we went back in the truck and looked in another spot.

After about five minutes of driving, we saw three antelope not too far from the road. We kept driving forward so they couldn’t see us or suspect anything suspicious. We turned into a spot and started walking out. Hardly two minutes later, we saw the three does walking up a hill.

We ducked down and waited for them to go over the hill before we got closer. Once we got to the top, we began to army crawl and tried our best to avoid the cacti.

From there they were perfectly at 200 yards away for me to shoot. I patiently waited for one to stand alone, but every time they stopped they were all bunched together. By the time I had a clear shot they were at 230 yards away.

When I shot the doe dropped right in her tracks!

We walked closer and saw that she was still moving, so I went ahead and put another one in her. We went up to her and saw where my bullets went through. The first, a little above her shoulder, and the second was a perfect lung shot.

Alyssa poses with her pronghorn doe.
Alyssa poses with her pronghorn doe.

I was overjoyed, and happy that I was able to experience a super exciting hunt.

I would like to thank the Outdoor Buddies program for giving my sister and me this amazing opportunity.


 

Fall Pronghorn Buck Hunt at Monaghan Ranch

By Neal Meier

 

My pronghorn buck hunt was a very unique opportunity that was the culmination of a ton of planning and preparation by my friend and Outdoor Buddies board member, Nick Filler. It began almost two years ago when we started planning my first pronghorn hunt with the group at Meadow Springs Ranch. Nick suggested that we put in for a preference point in Wyoming since he knew their program had been undergoing a change over the last few years and it had become tougher to draw without preference points. So, without having ever hunted pronghorn, I signed up for my point and proceed to draw for the Meadow Springs hunt. That year, I spent the night before the big hunt rocking back and forth in my van before getting up with the Meadow Springs group, only to get out there and miss twice on two different doe antelope. I realized that shooting at pronghorn was a bit trickier than hitting an elk. Fast forward to this year, an opportunity to hunt the largely untouched Monaghan Ranch just south of Laramie, Wyoming, presented itself and this time, it was an opportunity to hunt a buck. I was excited but only cautiously optimistic, given what I’d heard about the difficulty of the draw. As luck would have it, I hit pay dirt and on the morning of Friday, September 28th, I was going hunting.

I promised a unique story and as most people with disabilities will understand, unique does not always have a good connotation. Things started well enough. I woke up in my own bed, something I haven’t been able to do for any of the rest of my big game hunts. I poured my coffee and grabbed my gear and lunch and set off out the front door. As I reached back to close the door, I noticed my travel mug was a bit wet below the lid. I thought it a bit strange but as I shut the door, I started to grasp the situation. The simple twist of my body in my wheelchair had bumped the cup in my lap and I splashed a bit of hot coffee on my shirt. Frustrated, but slightly amused, I attempted to tighten the lid. Once satisfied, I made my way to my open van door. As I reached the top of my ramp and spun around, I ran over a toy my kids had kindly left on the floor of the van and my recently secured lid on my coffee came completely loose, soaking my shirt and lap with scalding hot coffee. As I reacted, I kicked my lunchbox off my footrest and scattered my lunch and water bottles down my ramp and out onto the street. At this point, I was having an out of body experience and could only take solace in the fact that my doorbell camera surely had to capture this ridiculous scene for the ages. I dried myself as best I could and salvaged my lunch. I finished my adult tantrum and set off to pick up Nick at his house. Luckily for me, these antelope would not notice that I smelled like I’d just finished a ten hour shift at Starbucks.

We drove two hours through weather that seemed to be better suited to London, fog so thick that at times, we had to slow down in case something came flying at us in the dark. As we approached the Monaghan Ranch, we crossed out of the fog and gloom into the sunshine. It was meant to be. We drove up the dirt road to meet our host and guide, Garry Woodman. Garry had us pull around to the side of the house to unload out of my van and back into Garry’s truck, a four-door Chevy. Nick and I have hunted a few times now and the process of getting me out of my power chair into the truck was seamless and easy.

I prefer to hunt on the driver side and that was not an issue with that second row of seats. Once in the truck, I put on my blaze orange and checked our gear. It was shortly after 9 am and we were ready.

Garry knew the property well and had us lined up on a buck within the first hour. He suggested that this first opportunity should be purely practice so go ahead and get set up and see how it was going to work getting into shooting position. After putting the sights on the buck for about a minute, I was feeling good. Hunting out of the back of vehicle is not as easy as I would have imagined when I first started. I have a neuromuscular condition called Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and it causes “proximal weakening” which in layman’s terms is weakening of all the muscles that make you sit up straight and hold limbs outward and away from the body. Over the last couple years and through the help of Outdoor Buddies, I’ve gotten pretty good at working with Nick and others to get into the right position for shooting, but it was not easy at first. Communication is not something that comes naturally to me as a middle-aged man but this time, things were really clicking into place nicely so Garry drove on and suggested that we do it again until we find a special buck. We repeated that process three more times and just before noon as I had my sights on the fourth and final buck of the day, Both Garry and Nick agreed that this was it and that I should pull the trigger. At just over 215 yards, I sent a 7mm shot right into the front shoulder and out the base of the neck of a beautiful buck. He dropped immediately to the ground and as Nick kept him in the binoculars, he shook a few times and then stopped. He was hunched down, seemingly ready to jump up and take off running. Nick suggested we take a moment, reload and watch him. After a few minutes, Nick volunteered to walk out to verify the kill. I held my breath for a few beats and then relaxed when Nick excitedly yelled, “Nice shooting Neal!” The shot was effective and gory. The exit wound left a big wound at the base of the neck and allowed the animal to bleed out quickly. After my past two experiences at Meadow Springs, I was relieved and then incredibly grateful.

We loaded the animal into the back of the truck and brought it back to the ranch headquarters for the obligatory photos. Only then did I realize my final goof. I had left my van door open with the ramp deployed in the blowing, dusty Wyoming wind.

Nick and Neal pose with Neal's beautiful pronghorn buck.
Nick and Neal pose with Neal’s beautiful pronghorn buck.

What’s that about bad things and the number three? Well, I wasn’t the least bit bothered this time because I had too much gratitude for the chance to spend day hunting with friends, new and old.


 

Special Deer Archery Hunts at Whitney Lake in Texas

By Steve Medberry

We were very excited to arrive in Whitney, Texas for the 2018 Outdoor Buddies special archery hunt.  The United States Army Corps of Engineers representatives at Lake Whitney were gracious enough to invite our group to help cull the deer population in their parks—benefiting the environment and providing archery hunting opportunities for disabled hunters at the same time. We hunted three days from December 6th through December 8th.

Despite some heavy rain, the trip was a great success and sixteen animals were successfully harvested from the parks by our group of hunters.  All our disabled participants were able to harvest at least one whitetail deer, and a good time was had by all.

It is exciting and rare to get such an opportunity to hunt with a group using archery equipment, especially when mobility problems present unique challenges for each hunter.  There may be similar opportunities for archery hunting in Texas in coming years, building on the pilot program we started this year.

We extend a big thank you to Ranger Jarod Briscoe and all the folks at Lake Whitney for hosting Outdoor Buddies!

 


 

License Lessons

By Terry Gleason

Villard Ranch near Craig Colorado has offered two hunts this season on their ranch for disabled Outdoor Buddies members. I began hunting on the Villard Ranch 25 years ago and have gotten to know all the Villard family.

They are a great bunch of folks dedicated to the land and preserving the outdoor experience.

Albert Villard, ranch manager and one of the 4 siblings, who own the ranch, joined me last year for dinner with 4 disabled hunters that were on a hunt at Trapper Mine. Based on that encounter, Albert said they would like to support Outdoor Buddies in providing hunting opportunities.

Larry Sanford was selected to accompany me on a cow elk hunt in early December. Upon arriving in Craig, we had some time so we drove to the area we expected to hunt the next morning. Glassing that area revealed a large herd of elk and our excitement mounted.

Returning to Craig, we met Albert Villard and his family for dinner and were introduced to Miles Fedinec, friend of the Villard family and the owner of World of Hunting Adventure.

Miles is from the Craig area and his in-depth knowledge of elk hunting gave us a lot of optimism for a successful cow elk hunt.

The next morning Miles met us early at the Quality Inn. He asked to see Larry’s elk license and both Miles and I were stunned to learn that the license did not include a Game Management Unit (GMU) that most of the ranch was located on! The GMUs surrounding the ranch were open for hunting.

Why this particular GMU was closed for the December season was a mystery to all of us (and still is)! Needless to say we were not happy campers.

Miles did have some land where he had access but no elk were found.

Upon returning to Craig, we went to the local Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) office to see if there was a way to exchange Larry’s license for one in an open area. Although the CPW folks tried their best, no other license option was found.

This experience taught us some valuable lessons in terms of carefully checking open and closed GMUs despite what you think you know!

If you find that your license is not for the correct area you can exchange it, but only before the season starts!

Larry and I enjoyed each other’s company and had a chance to talk a lot about Outdoor Buddies and plans for the future. We also met some great folks and valuable contacts.

As Larry often reminds many of us, the mission of Outdoor Buddies’ is to offer memorable outdoor experiences. Harvesting an animal is always a plus, but not the only reason for the hunt.

Larry told me “I had a wonderful time getting to know you, the Villards and Miles and would not have changed the memories we had on this adventure for anything“.

Hopefully there will be opportunities to hunt again next season. This time having learned our lesson, we will have the right license!!

 


 

Make Plans to Attend the 2019 Outdoor Buddies Banquet

The 2018 Outdoor Buddies sold out! So now is the time to think about attending the 2019 Outdoor Buddies Fundraiser Banquet. The 2019 banquet celebrates thirty-five years of community service by Outdoor Buddies.

The banquet will be held at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center in Aurora on Saturday, April 6th.

The Conference center is located at 13200 East 14th Place in Aurora.

Banquet tickets are available now and can be purchased from the Outdoor Buddies website

at: www.outdoorbuddies.org.

Banquet tickets purchased will be held at “will call” and will be available upon arrival at the banquet.

All funds raised at the annual event go towards helping Outdoor Buddies continue its programs to improve the quality of life for youth and persons with disabilities.

Attending the annual fundraiser banquet is a great way to show your support and it is always a lot of fun! Your participation at the banquet can help to make a big change to someone’s life.

Please plan to attend and pass on the invitation to others who would like to contribute towards this good cause.

 


 

Outdoor Buddies Raffles

By Terry Gleason

An important part of the Outdoor Buddies annual fundraising effort is the raffle ticket sales leading up to the annual banquet. Again this year we are offering an outstanding selection of raffle prizes.

We must have a successful raffle season to allow us to continue and hopefully expand Outdoor Buddies programs for handi buddies and our youth.

We request that members of the Outdoor Buddies family be generous in purchasing raffle tickets thru the mail or by contacting a member of the Outdoor Buddies Board of Directors listed in this newsletter.

To purchase your raffle tickets through the mail, send your request and check to:

Outdoor Buddies
%Terry Gleason, Secretary
7710 South Lakeview Street
Littleton, CO 80120
Or contact Terry by phone at 303-868-2579.

In 2018 several Outdoor Buddies members, many from out of Colorado, contacted Terry and he was able to take their credit card info over the phone and get them tickets. Let’s keep that going in 2019 and make this the best year ever for raffle sales! Remember Outdoor Buddies is an all-volunteer organization. We have no paid staff and very low expenses. All funds raised go directly to helping us complete our mission as we have for thirty-five years.

A description on the raffles currently offered by Outdoor Buddies is shown on the following page.


 

The 15th Annual Community Spirit Campaign Is Underway

The Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation is proud to sponsor the annual Community Spirit Campaign, a matching gift project to benefit local nonprofit organizations beginning each November. The Foundation contributes matching funds, augmented by donations from other foundations and individuals. Donations are used to match private contributions made to valley and county nonprofits when received by December 31 of each year.

How can I donate?

Donors wishing to take advantage of matching funds for their favorite local organizations must use the donor form shown below. Make checks out to the Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation (or WMVCF), and please note the nonprofit organization and the amount you wish to go to that organization on the donor form. The maximum amount that will be matched is $1,000 per family and/or business. You are welcome to spread your donation to more than one nonprofit, or just one — it’s your call.

Donor Form - Please Print
Donor Form – Please Print

 

Upcoming Events Calendar

Shown below are currently scheduled events. Other activities will be scheduled as appropriate.

Date Event/Location Description Contacts
January 8 Outdoor Buddies Board of Directors meeting at the Thornton Cabela’s. Board meeting starting at 6:30 PM. Non-board members are welcome; please RSVP in advance. Dwaine Robey

(303) 877-8584 [email protected]

January 10-13 International Sportsmen’s Expo at the Colorado Convention Center. Outdoor Buddies will staff a booth at the Expo. Dwaine Robey

(303) 877-8584 [email protected]

February 2 Outdoor Buddies Ice Fishing Outing at Tarryall Reservoir. Outdoor Buddies volunteers will coordinate ice fishing activities from 9am to 3pm. A free lunch will be provided. Jim Piper

(303) 514-8944

[email protected]

 

March 30 Outdoor Buddies Pheasant Hunt at Drake Land Farms near Goodrich, Colorado. All day event starting at 9:00 AM. Lunch will be served. Shooting is reserved for disabled members, except for “back-up” shooters. Nick Filler

(719) 359-3641

[email protected]

 

April 6 Outdoor Buddies 2019 Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Conference Center located at 13200 East 14th Place in Aurora. Mark your calendar.

Annual fundraiser banquet at the Hyatt Regency Aurora-Denver Conference Center.

Tickets available from the Outdoor Buddies website.

Nick Filler

(719) 359-3641

[email protected]

 

April 27 Spring Hunter Sight- Rich Cori Memorial sight-in at Green Mill Sportsman’s Club

2490 County Rd 3, Erie.

Big bore and pistol ranges are reserved starting at 8:00 AM. Bill Gowdy

(303) 489-9411

[email protected]

 

June 9

Sunday

Outdoor Buddies Family Day at Swift Ponds. Everyone is welcome! There will be free admittance, free food, and lots of fishing, shooting, games and demonstrations. Larry Sanford

(970) 218-5356

[email protected]

July 27 Spring Hunter Sight- Rich Cori Memorial sight-in at Green Mill Sportsman’s Club

2490 County Rd 3, Erie.

Big bore and pistol ranges are reserved starting at 8:00 AM. Bill Gowdy

(303) 489-9411

[email protected]

 

August 3 Outdoor Buddies Sporting Clays Event at Colorado Clays Shooting Park near Brighton, Colorado. All day fundraiser event at Colorado Clays LLC

13600 Lanewood Street

Brighton, Colorado.

Larry Sanford

(970) 218-5356

[email protected]

or

Nick Filler

(719) 359-3641

[email protected]

August 24-25 Outdoor Buddies Family Outing at Tarryall Reservoir. Outdoor Buddies volunteers will coordinate a variety of activities for members and their families and friends. Overnight camping is encouraged. More information will be provided as the event date nears. Jim Piper

(303) 514-8944

[email protected]

 

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