Nothing does my heart more good than seeing a group of boys being mentored into the outdoors by a group of men with a passion for the heritage of hunting and the word of the Lord.
Last Saturday we were blessed to have the opportunity to spend the day with Mike Johnson, the North Carolina Director of Cross Trail Outfitters (CTO) and his crew at Outfall Farm in Hyde County, NC. Outfall Farm has been managed by Mike for the last 16 years and is arguably one of the finest waterfowl hunting destinations on the Eastern Flyway. Cross Trail Outfitters is a youth hunting and fishing club for boys and young men age 7-20 serving the Outer Banks area of North Carolina and variety of other locations around the country. Mike, his son Hunter, as well as an outstanding group of fine young men are dedicated to the mission of “Building Men, Preserving our Heritage and Sharing our Faith.” We really like that… and have teamed with CTO as a corporate sponsor, more to come on that story later.
Last Saturday was “Youth Day” which is typically the Saturday following the end of the regular waterfowl season here in North Carolina. Many of the boys had never shot a duck before, my son Ryan included! On a previous blog I mentioned Ryan had joined the Manteo Middle School shooting team and was anxious to test his skills on something other than a clay pigeon. The morning was cold, the boys formed teams and headed to the blinds, breaking ice along the way. The morning hunt was fantastic, birds were everywhere and several of the boys scored on their very first waterfowl kills, Gadwalls and Pintails were the order of the day and several of the boys doubled up.
The morning break was spent huddled around the fire pot eating breakfast burritos and talking about the mission of CTO. I just don’t think I could have hand picked a finer group of men and boys to hang out with, really a special time, and not just for me but everyone there. Ryan had the middle spot in the blind during the am hunt and didn’t score, but the afternoon turned out to be quite different. Thanks to Hunter Johnson and his expert calling skills, Ryan was able to bag his first ever duck on the wing, and to top that, took a double later in the afternoon. Needless to say Ryan is now hooked on duck hunting!
Many thanks to Mike Johnson, the crew from CTO and to the gracious owners of Outfall Farm for allowing all of us the privilege of hunting such a special spot. To learn more about how you can support the work of CTO go to www.teamcto.org and don’t forget to take a kid hunting this winter, they’ll love you for it!