Outdoor Life With Tess Maune: Wounded Veterans Of Oklahoma Dove Hunt Brings Healing, Fellowship To Oklahoma Heroes

Friday, September 23rd 2022, 11:03 am

An Oklahoma non-profit is using the outdoors to give back to some of our American heroes who sacrificed so much fighting to protect our freedoms.

The Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma hosted its sixth annual dove hunt on Friday month near Billings in north-central Oklahoma.

The first-morning hunt kicked off over a fresh-cut cornfield with fall-like temperatures and a stunning sky.

“Beautiful red sunrise, light winds, very serene, tranquil,” said Marine Corps veteran Doug Meier. “It's a lot of fun. I wouldn't miss this for anything.” 

It’s an extended weekend that veterans count on each September. 

“It's always a good time hanging out with veterans. We all come cut from the same cloth,” said Army veteran Luke Hundley. “Good spirits, good people [who] know how to work hard, play hard.”

This year’s dove hunt was one of WVO's biggest events yet with about 75 veterans coming together from all over the state and across generations.

“They know just where the range is. They've got range finders built in their wings,” joked Joe Allen, who is a retired Tulsa Fire Investigator and a Marine Corps Veteran. 

“I had the big pleasure of going down and visiting Fidel Castro when they had the embargo down there. which means many, many years ago,” Allen said.

Allen just turned 79, but age isn't a factor with this crew.

“Everyone here's got something in common, some of us gots two or three things in common,” Allen said. 

There's a special bond they all share and an understanding, said WVO Director JD Dennis, that not all wounds are visible.

“We see addiction, relationship issues, divorce, a lot of that. We try to get them counseling, PTSD treatments, whatever they need,” said Dennis.

The veterans spent three days hunting, healing, growing and just having a good time together in the outdoors. 

“I don't care if I kill a bird or not, just being out here with guys that's been through the same kind of stuff I've been through… you don't get that in everyday life,” said Army Veteran Rusty Williams.

It's an outreach for some of our bravest Oklahoma heroes that goes far beyond the dove fields.

“They can call us 24/7. We're not gonna leave you behind. No man left behind and we'll always have your six,” said Dennis.

After the hunts, all the dove meat was used to make a feast for the veterans.

Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma also hosts waterfowl and deer hunts, it’s all free, except for lodging.


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