Hunting fun for everyone: Outdoor Extravaganza offers something for every outdoors loverPublished 11:53pm Saturday, February 16, 2013
NATCHEZ — It had been years since Texas-native Robert Collins had been in the woods hunting wild hogs.
The 24-year military veteran was wounded by a grenade blast in Iraq in 2005 and had not had the opportunity to hunt hogs since his head injury.
But for the 14th year in a row, Redneck Adventures, with help from Hunters for the Hungry and other local outdoor programs, gave wounded veterans like Collins a chance to get out and do what they love, and Collins took advantage of the opportunity.
He killed the biggest hog of the weekend. It weighed in at 342 pounds, but he said it was just the experience of getting back in the woods that made the trip special.
“It was a lot of fun,” Collins said. “I went out with some good folks, and it felt good just to chase down some hogs.”
But Collins was not the only person enjoying the weekend festivities that included a variety of hunting experiences, wild game cook-off and banquets.
Special needs hunter Maggie Burns enjoyed the experience of a rabbit hunt Saturday morning, but she preferred to be more of a spectator than pull the trigger.
“It’s fun to watch the dogs and hang out,” Burns said.
Former Cathedral School student and military veteran Braxton Fondren spent some time with Burns, as well as his 5-year-old son Tristan, on the rabbit hunt.
Fondren said it was great to participate in his son’s first rabbit hunt.
“He was excited this morning,” Braxton said. “He actually woke me up this morning.”
Tristan said he had fun playing in the woods while hunting rabbit, but he had his mind set on other prizes Saturday night.
“I want to get that little .22 (rifle) tonight (in the auction),” he said.
Braxton said Tristan is in the process of becoming a hunter like his father, and he is excited about easing him into the hunting family.
Redneck Adventures host Jim Bob Allgood said this year’s event topped the previous 13.
“This weekend has been the best hunting weekend in our history as an all-around outdoors extravaganza for special needs, soldiers and wounded soldiers, as well as from an outdoors point of view for Miss-Lou tours,” Allgood said.
“We’ve had so many people come to the table to help us.”
Allgood said he was especially happy that local bass clubs got involved this year including the La. Pigstickers club.
The event featured approximately 300 people, and all the hog meat killed Saturday went to a good cause.
“We have made an impact in one very important part of the community by partnering with Hunters for the Hungry,” Allgood said. “We have more than 1,000 pounds of hog meat that will be processed by Natchez Deer Market and end up at the Natchez Stewpot.”
Saturday night, banquet guests had the opportunity to view a seven-minute preview of a TV show produced by Mark LaFrancis that will highlight stories of veterans and their families.
“We hope it will let people see these soldiers share their feelings about their country, their patriotism and their service to America and Americans,” LaFrancis said.
The event culminated with the video, but Allgood said he is already hard at work planning next year’s event and hoping to make it bigger and better.