There is nothing better on a cool, crisp Autumn morning than sitting around a warm fire with a bunch of friends, drinking coffee and telling stories. This is exactly the atmosphere the Tyler Rod and Gun Club personifies when they hold their annual "disabled hunter" hunting activity every year. Members of the club take no short-cuts in seeing that hunters who are disabled, but still wish to take part in the sport, have the best time possible.
This year, the seventh year of the hunt, the Club hosted four hunters: Chris Bates of Parsons, WV; Stanley McIntyre, Jr., Paden City; Brad Wilson, Spencer, WV; and Dean Kemp, Paden City.
Participating in his fourth hunt, Chris Bates said that so far he's been lucky every year. "We have a great time here and so far, I've got a deer every year."
"This is a good thing this club and these guys do. I look forward to this all year long, we really enjoy it."
The event began with a dinner held on Thursday night, prepared by club members and their wives. Early the next morning, following a big breakfast, the hunters were assisted afield by club members and volunteers. Lunch was served when all returned from the days hunt.
Kitchen duty for the event fell to Yvonne Starkey, Holly Chambers, Alice Beaver, Mary Lou Schoolcraft and Ruth Phillips.
The Tyler Rod and Gun Club has been holding the hunt for the last seven years with local landowners giving permission each year for the group to hunt on private property. The disabled hunt held in Tyler County is the only program of it's kind in West Virginia held 100 percent on private property. With the Conservation Officer on hand, deer harvested are checked in throughout the day.
Tyler County DNR Conservation Officer Terry Fluharty and his supervisor, Sgt. Chris McKnight were in attendance, with McKnight praising the Gun Club and members on the project.
"This is a good cause these guys are working on here," he said. "I've been to other special need hunts around the state, but this is my first time at this hunt. It's special. They do it up right."
"This is a real nice thing," said Brad Wilson. "I heard about it by talking to others, and now that I'm here, I know they were right, it's great. I've had a good time."The Tyler Rod and Gun Club extend their appreciation to the local land owners as well as the Issac Walton League, Morgan Auto Parts, Wable Ford, Joe Bowen, Sistersville VFW, Martha Michaels, Jim Bowen, Collins Brothers, the Feed Store, the Wells Inn, and all other individuals and businesses lending their support to the cause.