January 30, 2023

The Lions Club hosts the seventh annual disabled deer hunt

Published 9:15 am Wednesday 25 January 2023

Despite rainy weather and overcast skies, the Andalusia Lions Club held its seventh disabled deer hunt last weekend.

Gretchen Brown, 22, of Washington, Indiana, was named “Top Gun” at the event. Brown is pictured with local organizer Dirk Price and their guide dog, Beacon.

Organized and coordinated by Dirk Price, an avid blind sportsman, the event began on Friday, January 20th with activities at the South Alabama Gun Club Rifle Range.

“We had 12 physically challenged hunters come out and practice with adaptive technology. Each of the participants was paired with a capable volunteer who assisted in going out into the forest. Volunteers worked with different types of disabilities that the participants had,” Price said.

Participants met with their volunteers to practice going through the safety rules and determining what types of help and support they would need over the weekend.

Volunteers include avid outdoor enthusiasts and veterans who helped participants guide them.

“We had three blind people use a G-line smart shoot adapter that attaches a smartphone to the scope. It uses the camera app on the phone to project the crosshair and aim onto the screen. The volunteer can show the blind man where to aim and when to shoot. We had two people in wheelchairs that we wheeled out or drove out. We have a few shooting houses that can accommodate a person in a wheelchair with an assistive device,” Price said.

Gretchen Brown, a 22-year-old woman who has been blind since birth, was named the event’s Top Gun winner. “She came to us from Washington, Indiana and took both a buck and a deer. She was named Top Gun for getting two deer.”

Other participants included local residents, Riven Adams and Greg Hall; Mike McCrae of Stuart, Florida; Travis Presley of Perdido, Alabama; Alison Agnew of Dothan; and Mike Murphy from Opp.

Veterans from Georgia, Florida and Alabama provided assistance.

Price said he is grateful to the many organizations that helped make this year’s event possible.

“There is a long list of donors who have helped us with cash donations. We’ve had church groups, local businesses, and individuals donating both money and products. We raised enough to cover hotels, some of which, like the Best Western in Andalucia, gave us a discounted rate. The Lions Club was able to pay for the hunting licenses. Regions Bank helped by donating a lot of food. On Saturday evening we had a big game dinner with about 60 participants. It was a recognition dinner to name all the donors,” he said.

Price added that each of the hunters received a gift bag, while a raffle was also held.

“The city of Andalusia provided us with the Coleman Center with lots of tables and kitchen utensils. We were able to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner every three days after the participants went hunting on Saturday and Sunday. At our big game dinner we had some antelope, all kinds of venison, catfish, snapper and king mackerel to name a few.”

Some companies Price said have contributed to deer hunting are CCB Bank, Andalusia Distributing Company, David’s Catfish, PowerSouth, Marvin’s, Andalusia Farmers Co-op, Piggly Wiggly, ARS Iron Works, Shaw Industries, Walmart, Golden Rule BBQ, Tractor Supply, and Advance America.

“For us it was a successful event that gets better every year. We could not do this without the help of donors who make the event possible. We are very grateful for the help we receive every year. The Lions Club uses the funds raised to collect hunting licenses for participants. Andalucia is certainly very generous and we really appreciate everything the city is doing,” Price said.

This year’s volunteers included: Michael Shirey, Joey Thornton, Andy Willis, Michael Andrews, Chris Nolan and five of his veteran volunteers, John Roach and Landon Adams.

Price, who serves as president of the Lions club, said the idea for the event came about while attending the Kiwanis Club’s annual Sportsman’s Expo.

“About 10 years ago I had my new guide dog and my wife dropped us off. We bounced from stall to stall. A man stopped me and asked me if I wanted to go hunting. I explained to him that I was blind and he told me he was with the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America. He said I could join for $10 and he would send me out hunting. I went on two hunts with them and thought I could give back by starting one for other physically challenged hunters. We’re trying to take about 15 competitors a year and make it a quality hunt for everyone,” Price said.

For more information on the hunt email Price at [email protected] or call 334-343-3894 or visit the Andalusia Lions Club-Alabama on Facebook.

“Thank you to everyone who attended our seventh annual event. If anyone would like to help with expenses or provide donations for next year’s event, please let us know,” he said.

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