Twenty children from around Louisiana were given the opportunity last weekend to experience Concordia Parish’s natural beauty.
Volunteers from Dream Hunt of the Miss-Lou Chapter hosted an event geared toward introducing disadvantaged children to deer hunting, according to Austin Lipsey, chapter spokesman. Johnathan Willard brought the Dream Hunt chapter to the Miss-Lou area.
“This is something I was raised doing, and I have raised my kids to learn how to do it,” Lipsey said. “To be able show another child who probably wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to do so, to be able to introduce him to the woods, hopefully instill that love into them is hard to put into words.”
Children, who are from all walks of life, are selected through an application process. Many have lost a father, have a disability or an illness and none have gone deer hunting.
Children arrive at Rifle Point, the setup headquarters, on Friday evening. Volunteers meet and greet the group and start developing bonds by playing games and “just hanging out,” Lipsey said.
On Saturday morning, the youth were taken to Giles Island, Deer Point and Lake St. John. Those who did not have a chance to kill a deer that morning were taken back that evening.
In between hunts volunteers continued to mingle, cook and play games with the children.
“We’re very fortunate in our area that we have several landowners who are willing to offer their property,” Lipsey said. “There are several good hunting properties within 30 minutes of Rifle Point. This is something that is near and dear to me. We take our area for granted. We are probably in one of the best hunting areas in Louisiana.”
Lipsey called the hunt exciting for both the children and the volunteers.
“When these children have the opportunity to see a deer and shoot a deer it looks like they are in Disney World,” Lipsey said. “That excitement that is on their face, you just can’t put a price on it.”
Rhett, Lipsey’s son, went on the hunt with his father. But, before the hunt, he went fishing with Lipsey’s child. When it came time to hunt, Rhett served as the camera man.
“When it came time for the hunt, I wasn’t going to tell him no,” he said. “He insisted he was going to be the camera man, and he was loading up with us.”
Lipsey credits Concordia Parish residents for the hunt’s success.
“This is a community-wide event,” he said. “Without everybody putting in the time and the effort and volunteering their property, this wouldn’t be possible. I just want to thank everybody that had something to do with it and took the time. We have the best community around, and I am just glad to be apart of it.”
To keep the Dream Hunt going, organizers host a skeet shoot on Honey Brake in Catahoula Parish the weekend before dove season. For more information on the deer hunt or skeet shoot, check out Dream Hunt of the Miss-Lou’s Facebook page.
“We are going to do this every year, year in and year out,” he said.