On November 14th, 55 boys from nine children's homes came to Camp Gene Ashby eager for the next days deer hunt. Homes attending were Big Springs Ranch for Children, Leakey; Cherokee Ranch, Cherokee; Texas Pythian Home, Weatherford; Boys Haven, Beaumont; Methodist Home Boys Ranch, Waco; Smith Home, Mullin; Azleway Wilderness Camp, Palestein; Ricky & Chris Maddox, Cherokee; and West Texas Boys Ranch, San Angelo. Eight of the boys attending enjoyed viewing wildlife and spending the day in the field, not hunting. The 47 boys who did hunt harvested 48 deer which included 31 whitetail does, 7 spike bucks and 10 management bucks. The deer meat is used in the homes or with each prospective home's outreach programs.
Ranches which hosted the youngsters and their guides were the following: Burrer/Koennecke Ranch, Mason County; Crenwelge Ranch, Gillespie; Goodman Rice, Tom Green; Karl Ransleben, Gillespie; Northcutt Ranch, Mason; Operation Orphans, Inc. Game Pasture, Mason; Patrick Loften, Mason; Pyle Ranch, Real; Rancho 359; Kimble; Shaw/Cox Ranch, Mason; Star S, Mason; YMCA Roberts Ranch, Kerr; Spinks Ranch, San Saba; David Hoerster, Llano; and Jerry Moore, Llano.
Grace Christian School students prepared the Saturday lunches. Students and adults volunteering were Jeff Burton, Haylee Burton, Bailee Everett, Kinley Miller, Dakota Martin, Rae Ann Martin, Ann Martin and Sherry Lehmberg. Mason Bottling provided soft drinks and Fredericksburg Bakery provided baked goods.
The Operation Orphans, Inc. "Take a Child Hunting" program will continue November 22nd, December 6th, and December 13th. Additional host ranches are needed for the December 13th hunt. Landowners or lease hunters who would like to host a few young boys for a deer hunting opportunity should contact Jerry or Lyla Crouch, Camp Supervisors, at 325-347-6745. Operation Orphans, Inc. also accepts gently used hunting clothing and boots.
Since the programs beginning in 1960, 16,766 boys and girls have harvested 16,459 animals. To view video clips of the hunting program or additional information about the hunting and fishing programs of Operation Orphans, Inc., go to www.operationorphans.org.