Meridian Star

January 25, 2013

Harvest time for OWLS

By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Connor Gilbert and his dad, Jason Smith, participated in the recent Outdoors Without Limits (OWLS) hunt which was headquartered here in Meridian at the Evangel Temple, and had the hunt of Connor’s lifetime. The youngster harvested his first deer, a doe, last year at the hunt and he was back and more determined than ever to harvest a buck.

    Gilbert hunted at Little Randy’s Hunting Camp in Kemper and was hosted by Randy Thompson and friends and put on a promising stand in big timber. The shoot house was overlooking a ryegrass lane through the timber.

    Gilbert, of Nanih Waiya, got in the stand around daylight and the action heated up fast. “A spike came out but I wasn’t in the right spot and couldn’t shoot and he got by us,” said Gilbert. “I waited and waited and then a coon came out for a while. “And I waited and waited and waited some more and then it came out, a nice buck,” he said. Sure enough a fine eight point had walked right into their line of fire and ambush zone. Connor was nervous but put the crosshairs on the buck and squeezed the trigger, tick POW, and promptly missed.

    Confused the buck just jumped a bit and then settled down. “I aimed again and put it on him and Wham! Knocked him down with the next shot,” Gilbert said. “He tried to crawl off but I put it on him again and knocked him down for good!”

    Yes, the OWLS hunt had proven to be a success once again for the young determined lad and many others who harvested deer while on the hunt.

    Although the weekend hunt was held on one of the wettest weekends of the hunting season many deer were harvested, new friendships established and memories made as hunters, hosts and landowners all participated in life changing experiences for many of the participants.

    Many hunters including Robbie Chappell of Atlanta Georgia harvested deer. Chappell, a 22 year old young man also collected his first deer and was excited to say the least.

    Veteran hunter, Destin Ware, has become an old hand at bagging deer and has already downed several bucks thanks to Kirk Thomas and his special hunts such as this one. A few years ago I was able to be at the event with Kirk and Destin when the youngster took his first deer. Tears of joy were shed by his mother, their guide and a host of others as a dream was fulfilled for the youngster.

    That event was just the first of many for the now confident young man who really knows how to shoot, and is not afraid to do it when given the chance.

     Although a lack of space prevents listing all of the successes from this recent OWLS hunt suffice it to say that it was a life changing experience for many of the people involved, one that is sure to have an impact on many of these hunters from all around the country. If you want to make a difference in somebody’s life then there’s no better way than participating in the Outdoors Without Limits program. Contact Kirk Thomas at 803-480-0167, or online at or on Facebook locally at OUTDOORS WITHOUT LIMITS LAUDERDALE CHAPTER.

    Contact  Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at