After years of hunting waterfowl, I wanted to take another step. I knew that I had learned the skills that it took to guide waterfowl hunts. I had all of the best equipment and every decoy that I needed. I could pick right up with several outfitters and lodges pretty easily. One night I had a dream about this and a bold voice in this dream said, “You can do more, you can do better”. I had no idea at the time what it meant until I woke up the next morning with a complete master plan in my head. Not just a simple plan because this plan involved taking handicapped persons (paraplegic and near quadriplegic) and putting those persons into a boat. We would transport them by boat to a duck blind over water and allow them to hunt. This is not an easy task but it can be done. All the plans were very clear, the boat, the blind, and even the way to transition the hunters. It was all there but this wasn’t my idea. I knew there were organizations such as Wounded Warrior and Wheeling Sportsman and the possibility of this type of hunting trip had been passed off as not feasible. While preparing to follow this master plan, I met with several people and asked lots of questions concerning the extent of their disability and the limitations it created.
I met Larry Dixon first. An accident involving a drunk driver who pulled out of a bar in front of Larry nearly took his life and left him with serious injuries. Larry had been an avid waterfowl hunter prior to the accident. Due to the severe injuries Larry had sustained, his days of being able to enjoy waterfowl hunting were gone. He spent over 12 years not being able to hunt due to chronic pain. I made my decision to put him back in the game. Soon after that decision, while out in my shop, I had a discussion with a friend, and told him what I planned to do. He said he wanted to help, but had to work. I told him I thought it was doable so I would just head on down to the coast and see how it went. He asked once more if I was sure I could do it and my answer was “Come Hell or High Water” it’s going to happen!
We went on down to the coast, taking our time and did some daytime scouting and got some blinds brushed in. I received a call from a friend of Larry’s that guides handicapped turkey hunts in Cuero, Texas. I invited them to come along and join us for the first hunt. The next morning we traveled the 25 minute boat ride out to the marsh and set out the decoy spread. I got everyone situated in the blind and we waited for the marsh to come to life. It was a great feeling so far and I had voiced my confidence in this place, as I knew it worked the same each time I’d been here. As promised, it all came to life and the ducks were working in on the blind perfectly. It was a great morning to watch all of this unfold. By 9:30 we were all limited out and we began picking up decoys and getting ready to head in. Larry figured out he had a cell signal in the blind and began calling all his friends and family telling them about his trip. You’d have thought he had just won the Powerball. I was picking up decoys and it struck me that this hunt was not the ordinary hunt that I had seen so many times and enjoyed. This was, in fact, the best hunt of his life as he talked on and on explaining that 12 years were gone and I had just giving all of it back. It was then that I had to turn away and make a lame excuse as to what I was doing or turn and allow them all to see the tears coming down my face. It was at that moment that I knew it was God’s plan and not mine. It was that plan, that opened my eyes and made me realize I had to continue with this and it was a good thing!
We do not not exclude or limit anyone due to the extent of their disability. From minor to the most extreme, if they ask, they go with us! We take Wounded Warriors, Veterans, chronic and terminally ill, and any underprivileged or abused child .We offer guided hunts, airboat tours, and conduct fundraising events for future hunts. Hell or Highwater Outdoors is a registered Texas Business Entity and is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, allowing your donations to be tax deductible.
Ben Mallon, founder