Wishing for whitetails

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2008

NATCHEZ — Jim Bob Allgood wants you to know how you can change your life.

The host of the “Redneck Adventures” television show wants you to help him make a difference in an underprivileged or disabled child’s life by volunteering to take him or her hunting Nov. 15.

The Miss-Lou chapter of Outdoors Without Limits, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving disabled children opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, is partnering with “Redneck Adventures” for the inaugural youth whitetail hunting weekend.

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The event is looking for adults 21 and up who are licensed hunters in Mississippi to accompany a child, and they are also asking hunters who have camps or lots of land to allow it to be used that Saturday.

“We take it for granted going up and working at the hunting camp and enjoying the outdoors,” Allgood said. “A lot of these folks can’t do that. They may be in a wheelchair, they may be an amputee, they may be from a broken home and don’t have a father or a mother figure that can take them hunting or fishing outdoors.”

So far, eight children have signed up for the event, but Allgood is looking for more kids and more volunteers.

Some clubs and businesses have already offered their services.

“As these clubs step forward for a deer hunt, later on we’re going to be asking them to step forward for a squirrel outing,” he said. “There’s a ton of area to offer around here. We just need those folks to step forward that have those areas for a life-changing experience.”

Allgood got into the organization after meeting Kirk Thomas, the nonprofit’s founder. Thomas is in a wheelchair after a tree fell on him during a hunt, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Thomas continued to hunt and fish, and his programs have helped more than 10,000 disabled.

A whitetail hunt was hosted in Fayetteville, Tenn., last weekend, and 300 children — both disabled and well — harvested 80 deer.

Allgood hopes the Miss-Lou event can one day reach that size.

“In the future, as we grow and get more volunteers, yes, we’re going to invite more kids,” he said. “We’d love to involve Boy Scouts or youth groups.”

Last year Allgood experimented with the whitetail hunt bringing Austin Dungan, the son of one of his friends, out to Rifle Point to hunt.

Dungan, who has had three reconstructive heart surgeries and had his left leg amputated at 7 months old, shot a 5-point buck by himself and was then presented with a prosthetic leg by Ampucare of Natchez.

Allgood wants to recreate that moment in many more kids this year and in years to come.

“We may take a group from the Natchez Children’s Home and we may be out at the golf course hitting some golf balls. So it’s not just hunting and fishing related,” he said. “It’s basically taking those that need a little bit of assistance to go outdoors and enjoy what Mother Nature and the man upstairs intended for us to take advantage of. That’s what Outdoors Without Limits is all about.”

The kids who kill a deer or have an interesting story, and their volunteers, will be featured on “Redneck Adventures.”

There will be a meet-and-greet the night before the hunt and a special treat for the children Saturday night.

They will get to ride in the St. Jude’s trail ride at Sandy Creek Farms that afternoon and will be recognized during the event.

To nominate a child for the event, or to volunteer, contact Allgood by e-mail at jimbob@redneckadventures.com or call 601-597-6658.