Two young hunters recently took trophy game animals — a Texas Dall sheep and an axis deer — during the second annual Youth Pathfinder Hunt in Texas.
Reece Harrington, 7, and Bryce Carr, 10, were behind the rifles in June at JL Bar Ranch Resort & Spa near Sonora. Reece claimed the Dall, and Bryce took the axis.
The San Angelo Chapter of SCI sponsored the event. It’s modeled after the SCIF Pathfinder program that helps youth with disabilities, by giving them opportunities to engage in outdoor activities. It’s the Chapter’s second annual event, and it’s the first one to host two families.
The event was a family affair for sure. The two hunters and their families arrived at the ranch June 4. Reece’s parents, Mark and Amanda, and older sister, Charlie, as well as Bryce’s parents, Tony and Bridget, were a part of the experience.
At the range, Reece used a phone scope for aiming. Her dad has spent quite a bit of time with Reece on the gun range. She had been hunting with her dad, but never had hunted herself. Her first shot at the 100-yard target was dead center. She just said, “Yep,” and was ready to go.
Bryce then shot his rifle. He was also on target and the hunt was on.
Right away, Bryce had a nice blackbuck in his sights the first afternoon. He and his dad talked it over. After much discussion, they determined Bryce would hold out for a chance at an axis deer. They let the blackbuck walk.
Reece had an opportunity at an axis, but the animal would not cooperate and did not present an ethical shot. So, she passed on it, as well.
Throughout the weekend, the youth pathfinders had multiple spot-and-stalk opportunities. But they did not pull the trigger on Saturday either. They both had great hunts and shared their experiences with all when they came back to the lodge in the evenings.
On Sunday morning, Reece connected with a large Texas Dall sheep. She, her dad and guide Sam all relayed what a great experience it was. Reece was super-excited about the success.
Then, just before noon on Sunday, Bryce pulled the trigger on an axis deer after a long stalk on foot. He made a great shot. He was very excited at the harvest of the axis. He was thankful that they didn’t take the blackbuck the first evening!
This is some of the most rewarding hunting that we participate in. It’s a pleasure to give back to local communities. Our youth are the cornerstone of our humanitarian activities.
Since the San Angelo Chapter started this program last year, it has recently had two more benefactors approach the chapter about participating in our Youth Pathfinder Program. This is what our special Pathfinder Award is all about: combining our interests and networking with others, to provide an outstanding hunting experience that brings joy to the whole family. Having two recipients this year made the time just that much more special for everyone. Two families made new friends and great memories.–C. Alan McClain