About 60 miles east of Amarillo, Texas, the Circle C Ranch sits on around 1,000 acres in Donley County, part of the state’s panhandle. Recently, the owners of Circle C Ranch welcomed six youth from foster care for the first Big Country Children’s Benefit Hunt in their part of the state, making it the second such hunt this year led by BCFS System efforts to support a diversity of activities for youth in foster care.
It took many people and plenty of collaboration to make the two-day event possible. Guides and volunteers for the hunt included Randy Bond, Chief Deputy of Donley County; Alana Jeter and Will Meiron, staff members of BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene; and Marshall Davidson, Special Investigations Program Administrator at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Other volunteers and guides came from the Highway Patrol, Department of Public Safety, Donley County Constables Office, and Child Protective Services. Associated Ambulance Authority even donated one of their ambulances and some of their medical staff to be on site for both days of the hunt.
Before the actual hunt took place, the youth, hunting guides, and other volunteers who would attend received hunter education that taught the necessary safety and skills needed for their trip. The participants and hunting guides arrived at Circle C Ranch early in the morning and stayed at the ranch until the next afternoon. While there, attendants enjoyed riding on ATVs, paddle boats, and a 950-foot zip line, in addition to hunting and fishing.
“We totaled it up at the end of the trip, and after the land, accommodations, facilities, equipment, game, and processing that Kerry and Mandy Cartrite donated, the total for the hunt came to over 25,000 dollars,” said Marshall Davidson. Kerry and Mandy, the owners of Circle C Ranch, were presented with an “Above and Beyond” award for their many contributions to the event.
Marshall stated that the support from the BCFS System and BCFS Health and Human Services-Abilene has been “the biggest part of the implementation and development of these events.” From the supply of qualified staff and training to the donation of a 16-foot enclosed trailer to meet equipment and storage needs, the organization continues to provide youth from different parts of Texas the ability to invest in their traditions.
Marshall understands how important events like these can be for youth, thinking back on his own childhood. “I still remember my first time going hunting with my dad, being out in the blind. It didn’t matter whether we had anything to take home at the end of the day, just being there in the wilderness and sharing those moments together – that was what mattered.”
The BCFS System thanks supporters and partners of the Big Country Children’s Benefit Hunt in Donley County:
- Circle C Ranch, Kerry and Mandy Cartrite
- Top of Texas Taxidermy
- Randy and Sis Bond
- Associated Ambulance Authority
- Craig Cartrite
- Texas Highway Patrol
- H-6 Howell Farm
- Nutrien Ag Solutions
- A-1 Yellow Jacket Portable Toilets
- The Clarendon Enterprise
- KLSR Radio
- Department of Public Safety
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services