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Combat Veterans Turn to Hunting for Solace

Norfolk Daily News

Combat veterans returning to life after serving their country are turning their attention to hunting and the outdoors as a way of helping them to deal with life.

In the United States, it is reported that 22 U.S. veterans are killed in battle every day.

However, in a bid to help veterans return to normal life after serving their country Mark Spencer from Hutchinson, Kan., hosts hunting trips through his organization, Patriot Outdoors Adventures. The non-profit group gives veterans the opportunity to spend time with other soldiers outdoors and help them to deal with issues they may have trouble talking about at home.

For many returning soldiers, life can be a hard adjustment back into family life particularly when they may not understand the experiences many veterans will have had. For that reason Spencer decided in 2008 to start the group after realizing the benefits of being with people from similar backgrounds and found that the simple act of sitting around a fire and talking was a great healing tactic.

I knew from personal experience sometimes it is good to get away from home or a job and be with people who have had the same experiences I had like in combat. We now know that talking about the same experiences is a great help to veterans returning from fighting.

Many of the organized trips have taken place in Texas where the group hunts axis deer, while elk are hunted in Montana and alligators are targeted in Louisiana.

Doug Hanson of Council Grove, Kan., who suffered from a debilitating spinal injury after serving two tours in Iraq, found that a hunt with other veterans can be an emotional journey as they go through problems adjusting from the war, adjusting back into family life and boosting morale.

We have a second chance and we have learned never to take anything for granted.

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Combat Veterans Turn to Hunting for Solace