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Owl national ‘ultimate deer hunt’ coming to Troy

The success of last year’s local Outdoors Without Limits (OWL) event at Swindall’s RV Park in Troy and the enthusiasm of the participants and volunteers were all the encouragement and motivation Mike Swindall and his son, Todd, needed to embark on an even greater “adventure.”

Outdoors Without Limits is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and opportunities. Its goal is to educate those with disabilities about the possibilities of outdoor related opportunities while providing them with the opportunity to participate.

Todd Swindall first heard about OWL a couple of years ago at an outdoor show. The more he learned about the organization the more interested he became.

“Todd talked to me about OWL and we were asked to organize a chapter here in Pike County,” Swindall said. “We realized how much it means to people with disabilities to have opportunities to experience the outdoors. I can go hunting whenever I want to, or fishing. These people can’t. We wanted to have a part in providing these outdoor opportunities for them.”

In the fall of 2007, the Swindalls organized an OWL’s chapter in Troy and the chapter hosted a deer hunt for local people with disabilities. Twelve hunters participated along with a large number of volunteers.

“It just did your heart good to see these people enjoying something that they don’t have the opportunity to do often, if at all,” Swindall said. “I saw, first hand, what a program like this means. It does change lives.”

The commitment of OWL Troy Chapter 35 has been expanded to include those outside the area who want to be a part of outdoor experiences but are limited by the lack of opportunities.

So, Jan. 15-18, OWL Troy Chapter 35, private landowners and local volunteers will host OWL National “Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt” in Pike County.

Already 86 hunters with disabilities have registered for “the hunt.” Fifty of those will be in wheelchairs and 10 others in power chairs.

“We have hunters registered from eight states,” Swindall said. “We’ll have around 100 hunters but the number of people participating will be nearly 500. We have people who are interested in organizing chapters coming from as far away as Oklahoma. They want to see out these outdoor events work.”

Thirty-four local landowners have volunteered their woodlands for the hunt but more hunting land is needed as the number of hunters continues to grow.

“We need more land to hunt and volunteers of all kinds,” Swindall said. “Each hunter will be paired with at least one guide to form a hunting team. So hunting guides are necessary. We also need volunteers to dress the deer. We need cooks to help with the food preparation. We need volunteers to chop wood, to build fires, to sweep and take out garbage. We just need a lot of volunteers.”

Swindall said Chapter 35 is committed to making the “Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt” in Pike County a great adventure and a great time for the hunters, their family members and friends and the public.

On Thursday night everyone will be invited to an event kickoff dinner. A welcome party dinner and dance featuring “Flat Creek” will be on Friday night and an appreciation dinner on Saturday night.

“We’ll have eight meals served on site and we are offering a meal ticket to the public for $30 that includes all meals and the Sunday breakfast,” Swindall said. “We also have tickets for the individual dinners and meals.”

Swindall said the public is invited to be a part of this special event as visitors or as volunteers.

“We really need volunteers and we also need corporate and individual sponsors,” Swindall said. “Putting on an event like this is very expensive but, when you see what it means to these hunters, the cost is not too great.”

Swindall said donations of money or food items are much appreciated.

To volunteer, make a donation or for more information, call Swindall at 566-8353 or 566-5061 and 484-2444.