Converging in the rural farming area of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, seven service members, representing all branches of the military, came out to hunt turkeys with Big Rack Trophy Club.
In the chilly April morning, birds were briefly sighted and the elusive noise of gobbling heard … or was that the sound of turkeys mocking us?
Freedom Alliance welcomed to the hunt regular attendee Matt, a disabled Air Force veteran; our old friend and former Walter Reed liaison Rudy; Spencer and Jesse, who came with Rudy from Fort Bragg’s Warrior Transition Unit; John, another frequent Freedom Alliance participant, who lost his left leg below the knee in an explosion in Iraq; and Mark, an injured Corpsman, and his friend Matt from Camp Lejeune.
The fellows diligently donned their camouflage and masked their faces, since turkeys are notorious for their keen eyesight, making them able to detect a blinking eye from 100 yards away. Sure enough, when Air Force Matt hunted a favorite spot with Big Rack Club owner Greg, a turkey wandered out from the woods but quickly spotted the hunters and ran out of sight.
Other than that, there was little action over the course of the morning. But then, while picking up lunch at a local fill-up station/market, an older gentleman customer mentioned to the troops that he had turkeys on his property. Mark offered to thin the turkey population for him, and he and Marine Matt followed him home and each took a beautiful bird.
Meanwhile, the rest of the soldiers hunted the track of land Freedom Alliance leased through the hunt club. Although no turkeys were harmed during the making of this event, the guests were eager to return to Roanoke Rapids for deer season.
Many service members are avid hunters, but most don’t have the means to join a club; this means they rely on public land that is heavily hunted. Some of the men in this particular group live within a couple hours’ drive of the Freedom Alliance hunting grounds, and we encourage them to come use this donated land that is designated solely for military.
To celebrate the turkeys’ cunning, we discussed future hunts and outdoor activities over a sizzling steak dinner at Texas Steakhouse.
Spencer summed up the overall feelings for us: “I just love being outdoors—whether I get a shot at something or not. It’s so therapeutic, and I will jump at any opportunity to hunt.” Jesse seemed to see the bright side of his combat injury too when he said that despite having been “blown up … I get to do stuff like this!”