Miss-Lou Kids Outdoors takes aim at special needs
Published 12:01 am Sunday, November 30, 2014
ATCHEZ — Allen Pettis is no stranger to the outdoors. But not everyone has been as lucky, and now, he is wanting to bring that joy to a special group.
Pettis founded Miss-Lou Kids Outdoors, a group that takes special needs youth and adults on hunts and provides them with an outdoor experience to remember.
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“Some other groups in Natchez had been doing things with them, one or two hunts a year, and kind of got away from it,” Pettis said. “I called some buddies of mine that have special needs kids and we put this group together.”
Now, the group is thriving, taking special needs children and adults on multiple hunts a year.
“We had our first hunt last November and it went well,” Pettis said. “We had 23 people and killed seven deer. We’ve had two hunts this year. On Nov. 9 we had a special needs hunt in Woodville and on Nov. 15 we had another hunt and killed seven deer.”
Pettis said he knew having the group be a success would be a challenge, but his background of working with children and those with special needs would help.
“I’ve been taking my boss’ son Chandler hunting for about seven years,” he said. “I’ve always done something with kids. I’ve been around special needs kids and have a lot of friends with special needs kids. Special needs kids, mentally, are challenged, but are just like you and me. You don’t treat them any differently, you treat them like a person.”
Pettis said his favorite part of the experience is seeing the excitement of people when they are able to take down an animal.
“Some of them have never been in the outdoors and this gives them an opportunity to go out there and do things,” he said.
Pettis said he wouldn’t mind seeing the group grow, but one of his biggest obstacles, is finding enough places to take a group hunting.
“If it grows that would be fine with me, but if it stays at a small level it is easier to take care of,” he said. “The problem with getting too big is you have to find places to send the kids to hunt and you’re limited to land owners and clubs that you can talk to that will let you send two or three kids to each place.”
Pettis said without local landowners and businesses, this project wouldn’t be possible.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “We also have some businesses that give us food and drinks. Some of the hunting places in town help us with donations and things like that. If it weren’t for them, we couldn’t do what we do.”
For Pettis, his goal is just to provide a good time for the hunters, regardless of whether or not a deer or duck is killed or fish are caught.
“We do everything for the kids,” he said.
If interested in signing a child up for a hunt, parents are asked to contact Pettis.