Hunting Antelope with Veterans Each Year
Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Chad Parsons of Laramie, Wyoming, served in the U.S. Army from 1992-1996, was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and had his first deployment to Bosnia.
“I saw quite a few of my friends die and watched many of my friends become injured for life,” Chad said. “I was one of the lucky ones who came home in one piece.”
Chad understands what our military personnel goes through when they leave their homes and loved ones to go overseas and fight for their country, so we don’t have to fight for this country here in the USA. Chad’s wife Rena is totally addicted to hunting antelope. These two new Mossy Oak Pros organize and guide two trips for veterans every year at their home.
“But I haven’t known any of the soldiers that we take antelope hunting before the hunts,” Chad said.
Rena: Chad and I started the hunt with the veterans as a payback to the men and women who fight for our country and defend our freedoms. Since Chad is a veteran, he totally understands what these men and women who go overseas to fight for us endure on their tours of duty. We love to antelope hunt, and we thought some veterans would love to take an antelope with us as we would cover all the expenses. This coming season will be our fourth year for the hunt with veterans.
Four years ago, Chad said, “Why don’t we take some veterans antelope hunting? I think they’d really appreciate it.” So, we put a post on Facebook about what we wanted to do. We encouraged the veterans to nominate someone other than themselves for this hunt. The veterans who nominated someone for this hunt would call Chad, and he interviewed them on the phone to find out why they thought the person they nominated would be a good fit for this hunt. We were fortunate enough to find a private landowner who would let these vets hunt his 60,000-acre property that had nice antelope on it free of charge.
Chad: One of the first vets we took out was a fellow from Lander, Wyoming, going to school at the University of Wyoming. This first hunter already had taken a couple of antelope in his lifetime, but he’d never taken a really big antelope before. The second hunter was from Star Valley, Wyoming, and he'd never taken an antelope even though he was from Wyoming.
Rena: Each year we put in for the veterans’ tags and pay for them. We feed them, house them and provide transportation. We also guide them, but we don’t charge any guide fees because we’re not guides. We help find the animals for them before the hunt. Last year we had a vet from Wisconsin who stayed at our home with Chad and me during his hunt, and we had a really fun time with him.
Chad: When our soldiers come home from overseas, I've never felt they’ve gotten the support they really need, because I've been there and done that. There's a bond of camaraderie that Rena and I have with these soldiers. This is our way of showing these men how much we appreciate and thank them for their service.
Rena: On the first hunt, the vet took his antelope within five minutes of us sitting down in the blind. The second hunter got his antelope in 35 minutes. We know the fields that the antelope like to feed in early in the morning, and we know about where they're going to come out. Therefore, we know where to place our hunters, so they can be successful – often very quickly.
Sometimes I’ll cook antelope for the vets to eat, with chili being my favorite recipe for antelope. We also grind up antelope, make summer sausage from it and smoke the meat. We have hearts for our nation’s warriors who go overseas. We want to let them know that we understand what they’ve given up, and what they’ve gone through to defend us and everyone else in the USA.
Tomorrow: Rena Parsons Is Bitten by the Antelope Bug