CIRCLEVILLE — In October, area disabled veterans are set to gather for their annual bow hunt in honor of Dan Fout, who passed away in March 2016.
The hunt was originally known as the Pickaway County Disabled Veterans Hunt and was established in 2010. After Fout’s death, the name was changed to the Dan Fout Memorial Disabled Veterans Hunt in honor of his memory and legacy.
The mission of the annual hunt is to provide the opportunity for disabled American veterans to hunt whitetail deer using archery equipment, according to its website.
The Dan Fout Memorial Disabled Veterans Hunt is scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27 at the Gabriel Farm, south of Circleville, and Nov.9 at Deercreek State Park, near Mt. Sterling. This is the 10th year for the hunt.
Bill Frost, the event organizer, said they have come a long way in those 10 years.
“It doesn’t seem like it and it’s going fast,” Frost said. “We’ve had a lot of improvement and a lot of success. That first year when we started I was hoping for 15 and we got 10 and 24 volunteers. We harvested one deer. We’ve increased it from a one day hunt to three days, and we’ve added the Gabriel Farm, the Mullins Farm and the Dave Dunn Farm while still doing Deercreek.”
On Oct. 26, registration starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch, a shooting contest and then hunters go out until dark. On Sunday, Oct. 27, hunters will start at 2 p.m. and hunt until dark, followed by a meal and a program to celebrate the weekend.
On Nov. 9, it’s an all-day hunt at Deercreek State Park beginning at around 6 a.m. with a break for lunch and continued hunting until it gets dark.
Frost said they’re looking for people interested in becoming either a volunteer or a disabled veteran who is looking to hunt. The most hunters they’ve had at one time is 32.
“Both volunteers and hunters just need to download or get an application and send it to me,” he continued. “We’ve got the website and we’ve gotten applications from Florida, Maine, and Texas that have applied. It’s pretty popular.”
Frost said the event is a reunion every year for the hunters.
“I think some of them look forward to seeing the other guys as much or more as they do hunting,” Frost added.
Frost said he can handle about 40 hunters but he doesn’t like to turn anyone away if he has enough volunteers on hand to help. Hunters can apply for just one day if they so choose.
“So far it’s been some guys only wanting to do the first day or just wanting to do Deercreek,” he commented. “If someone’s not chosen it’s because I have to keep it at a manageable number and that’s for safety. We can’t afford to have someone hurt.”
Frost acknowledged that the volunteers who agree to help him are vital and he’s always looking for more.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Frost stated. “The people behind the scenes as well as those helping me onsite are wonderful. It’s a lot of fun and we all have a great time.”
Frost said thanks to the donations he’s received over the years, he can provide everything a hunter needs, except for their hunting license, which they have to get on their own.
“I can take care of anything,” he said. “I ask my volunteers if they’ve got a bow, trailer or four wheeler. I supply the bow, bolts, the blind. All they need is their hunting license and we’ll provide everything else.”
Frost said no matter what the veteran’s disability is, they can come out and enjoy the hunt.
“Even if they’re a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, we can take care of them,” Frost added. “We’ve had two quadriplegics that we’ve gotten them out there. We can pretty much handle everything. Every year has been a learning experience.”