By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)January 24, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot held its annual Wounded Warrior Hunt Jan. 18-20. This is the seventh time the installation has held the event.
Hunters come from throughout the Southeast to participate.
This year, 24 deer were harvested during the hunt, the largest being a nine-point buck.
Mike Long, who was injured in Afghanistan while serving with the Army, has participated in the hunt four of those seven years.
He first learned about it through the Wounded Warrior Project at Fort Benning and tries to make it each year.
Throughout that time, the biggest deer he has killed was an eight-point buck, which he has mounted and hanging in his home.
This year, he was hoping for something bigger to add to his trophies.
"I'm looking forward to shooting that big buck," he said during dinner Friday night before the hunt.
The event kicked off Jan. 18 with dinner at the home of Chris Williams, chief of the depot's Turbine Drive Train Division.
Williams, his wife Sherry and several employees and their spouses from the Directorate of Production fed the hunters and their guides and ensured a pleasant start to the weekend's hunt.
While the hunt may be the focus of the weekend for each of the participants, most of them return year after year for the fellowship.
Derek Fowler, a retired Marine who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and a depot employee, has participated in the hunt every year.
"I know a lot of these guys," he said of his fellow hunters. "It's good to see them again.
For the same reason, many of the guides volunteer every year, most teaming up with the same hunter.
Roy Bearden has served as a guide every year. Four of the years have been with Tom Taylor, who he was teamed with again this year.
"It's my way of thanking them for what they've done for our country," said Bearden, adding that he loves to hunt and loves to help others be able to hunt.
Taylor, a Marine who served in Vietnam, had to back out of the hunt last year because he was ill, but he was determined to come this year.
"It's a great hunt," he said. "It's great the depot has this."