It's Not About the Hunt - It's About Saving Lives

WBP Staff Writer Helen Phillips

December 1, 2023

“I don’t care if I harvest a deer or not, it’s about being at peace in nature.” Charles W.  has made this statement many times. He could easily go out in his backyard and get peace in nature, but as much as it is about being in the outdoors, it’s a more powerful thing to be in nature working through challenges, talking about solutions, resources, and support with other combat wounded veterans. Very quietly of course!

A warrior deer hunt with the Warrior Bonfire Program is not a rowdy drunk-fest with the competition of who can get the biggest buck! It’s hunting, but with conversations strategically spaced throughout the event to talk a little about the past, to heal those wounds, but more importantly to talk about the present and the future. We share coping skills to manage things like anxiety surrounding the reality that we can’t control our environment as we did during a deployment, or anger due to societies’ systems that don’t take into account that we have a more complicated set of issues than a civilian, or even simple organizational tips to help find the keys when our short term memory loss is more challenging after a night of no sleep due to nightmares. Our hunts are about improving and saving lives!

A successful hunt for most groups is the picture with all the harvested deer lined up or the one showing off the big rack. For us at Warrior Bonfire that picture looks far more different. It’s group photo with lots of smiles or even the ones showing the big hugs!