On Nov. 11, nearly two dozen veterans from the local area participated in a free Veteran’s Day Pheasant Hunt to honor their service to the country.
The Fulton County Sportsmen Club and the Fulton County Chapter of Pheasants Forever sponsored the event. A grant from the Ohio Division of Wildlife paid for the 75 male pheasants used in the hunt. Ammunition, orange hunter caps, guides, and bird dogs were provided to the 22 veterans who participated in the event. The veterans brought only a valid hunting license and their own shotgun to the hunt. No fee was charged to the veterans.
According to the FCSC president, Greg Ruger, this was the first time the hunt has taken place. “We thought a pheasant hunt would be a unique way to thank our local vets for their service to America.” Whether or not this becomes an annual event has not been determined yet, but the veterans who attended were appreciative of the efforts of the FCSC members and the Pheasants Forever chapter.
The day began at 7:30 a.m. with a hearty breakfast served at the Sportsmen Clubhouse where the veterans met and were divided into smaller groups. By 9 a.m., the groups were positioned in various fields around Fulton County to begin the hunt.
Jack Gilsdorf, an Army veteran of 13 years, harvested the first bird of the day. Gilsdorf served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and he was excited to be part of the hunt. “This is the first pheasant I have shot since I was 12 years old,” he said. According to Gilsdorf, everyone in his four man group got at least one bird. Ruger said a few dozen birds were taken during the three hour hunt.
By noon, the veterans returned to the Sportsmen Clubhouse for a chance to swap stories about the hunt, and they received a warm lunch of chili with pies for dessert.
“This was really a group effort to salute the veterans in the area,” Ruger commented after the hunt. The landowners Kevin and Roland Demaline, Chris Grime, Kenny Frey and Mark Dopp allowed the pheasants to be placed on their property before the hunters walked their fields to flush the birds.
“I want to thank the landowners, the members of the Fulton County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, and everyone in the Sportsmen Club who helped make this hunt possible. Most of all, I want to thank all veterans for their service to our country,” said Ruger.