Operation Orphans, Inc. held its final hunt of the 2017 deer season Friday and Saturday, January 5th and 6th. 44 boys from 9 foster and child residential homes traveled to Camp Gene Ashby located in Mason County, eager to enjoy a deer hunt. The groups were from Methodist Home, Waco; Texas Baptist Children’s Home, Round Rock; Cherokee Home, Cherokee; Sweeten Home, Brownwood; Presbyterian Home, Itasca; Gulf Coast Trades Center, New Waverly; Collard Home, Walnut Springs; and Methodist Boy’s Ranch, Waco.
Area ranches hosting the hunting groups were 4R Ranch, Gillespie; Bar 7 Ranch, Gillespie County; Behrens Ranch, San Saba; CA Ranch, Mason; Cripple Creek Ranch, Bandera; Indian Springs Ranch, Kerr; Northcutt Ranch, Mason; Operation Orphans Game Pasture, Mason; Pinon Springs, Edwards; Karl Ransleben Ranch, Gillespie; Ray Ranch, Sutton; and White Ranch, Mason. These ranches allowed the participating kids to enjoy a day in the outdoors and assisted in game management practices by harvesting excess animals. The groups certainly enjoyed the beautiful weather and reasonable temperatures.
Animals harvested were 13 bucks, 30 does, 12 spikes, 1 hog and 1 bobcat. The deer meat is used by the homes or is donated for outreach and mission groups.
Earlier hunts this season were held in October, November and December. The October hunt had girls participating and the other three were for boys. 185 boys and girls participated during the 2017 season with a game harvest of 237 animals. Hunt dates for the 2018 season will be October 27, Girls Hunt; November 17, Boys Hunt; December 1, Boys Hunt; and January 12, Boys Hunt.
Mason Boy Scouts of Wolf Den 281 prepared the sack lunches for the hunting groups to enjoy Saturday during the hunt. Boy scouts Jake Cortez, Jenson Allin, and Eli Boyd along with leaders Bonnie Beam and Jessica Allin took part. Others assisting were Sherry Lehmberg, Della Osbourn, Ashley L. Osbourn, Delyn Boyd and Charlotte Allin. Boy Scout Troop 281 prepared the early morning breakfast. Boy Scouts Austin Simonton, Wesley Vinson, and Drake Lehmberg along with Scout Master Terry Simonton, Assistant Scout Master Brian Vinson and Patrol Leader Nathan Rodriguez participated.
Since the beginning in 1960, 18,659 boys and girls have harvested 18,505 animals. In 2004 a fishing program was started in which 867 kids have taken part. It has been a pleasure introducing 19,526 youngsters to the outdoors during the last 58 years.
Dates for the 2018 fishing program will be April 14 Boys Fishing and April 28 Girls Fishing. The groups fish in local ponds and tanks enjoying catch, photo and release.
Operation Orphans information may be found on the web: www.operationorphans.org or contact Camp Supervisors, Jerry & Lyla Crouch, phone: 325.347.6745. Please consider donating used camo clothing, boots and coats.