Students Jacob Stanislawczyk (WV) and Curtis Williams (KS) were all smiles harvesting "management bucks" at the recent Dream Hunt sponsored by Hunter's Handbook and hosted by the Hixon Land & Cattle Ranch near Cotulla, TX, November 7-10th. Williams, who didn't get his buck until the last hunt afternoon, took his first deer and was elated with the result -- a nice eight-pointer. "That was awesome!" an excited Williams said as he returned from the hunt.
Instructors Richard Rowell (WS) and Robert Clemans (CO) were equally successful. "This is way more than I expected," summarized Clemans at the end of the hunt. "What a place!"
Leaha Wirth, Focus Group, Inc., who coordinates the annual hunt, managed the event with assistance from IHEA-USA executive director, Steve Hall. Last year, Hall contacted his friend George "Timo" Hixon who agreed to play host to this year's hunt. Timo's parents, Karen and Tim, who also were at the ranch during the hunt, are former Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners (6 year terms) and considered among Texas's top conservation leaders for their many efforts over the years. Ranch Manager Mike Hehman led a group of experienced hunting guides trained to help hunters harvest the right deer within the ranch management plan -- termed "Managed Land Deer Permits" in Texas. Based on annual harvest objectives, the students and instuctors assist the landowner in reaching their goals to enhance the wildlife habitat on the ranch -- "The bottom line!" according to Hehman. "When I got here, there were way too many deer," he continued, "but, we are getting the numbers back in line to improve the habitat in this harsh South Texas brush country. These hunters help us meet our objectives, so we are thankful that (you) all are here!"
Hunter's Handbook provides an entry form in it's annual publication distributed to over 600,000 students and hunters throughout North America and in other countries. Among thousands of entries, three lucky hunters, their parents and an additional two instructors are selected to go on the all-expense-paid dream hunt. Wirth hustles to ensure that each participant goes away with not only memories --but also with hunting gear sponsored by the partner industries below. "Without support of outdoor and sporting arm industries like Federal and Cabela's, conservation organizations such as the Safari Club International Foundation and, of course, landowners like the Hixons, this event would not be possible," said Wirth. "All contribute greatly to the heritage of hunting for future generations! We'd like to THANK them all for their help --they certainly stepped up this year to provide a GREAT hunt!"
She added, " I also want to point out, too, that at the last minute, a student and his dad selected from North Carolina were unable to make it to the 2014 hunt due to a death in the family. We wish him and his family well and extend our condolences!"
Hunter Education Student Dream Hunt Participant Curtis Williams (KS) with his first deer - a South Texas whitetail!
A SPECIAL THANKS to SPONSORS!
Federal Ammunition, SCI Sables, Under Armour, Wiley X, Cabela's, Hi VIZ, Sun Optics, Buck Knives, Pro Ears, Grov Tec, Otis
Thanks, too, to Hunter's Handbook, IHEA-USA and Careco TV!