Pro Staff Guide
Pro Staff Guide
De'Ann Bissey Gill
Public Relations Manager
Pro Staff Guide
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!
So, step by step, we are building this organization with the help of my family and friends. We are the only ones I know in Texas that will provide a trip such as this. We have made the decision to 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 fund these trips 100% for each person and they have no out of pocket expense. This year we have gone to great expense to provide a custom Diamondback Airboat in order to accommodate these hunters with special needs. All together we will spend over $100,000 this season out of our own pockets to make sure our maiden year is the best it can be. We will be offering guided hunts, airboat tours, and several fundraising events to raise funding for all of our future hunts. We will have some apparel with our logo for sale as well as vinyl logo decals. Several Yeti items with our logo will be available in the near future. Our name has been accepted by the Secretary of State as a registered Texas Business Entity and we are in the process of obtaining our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status, allowing your donations to be tax deductible. All of this is coming together and we are very proud of the progress made so far!
If you are interested in helping out by volunteering on hunts or providing anything for our people, please let us know. We take any donations and all goes to the hunter’s trip. As many may know, waterfowl hunting isn't cheap and each person will need around $250 per hunt if we don't have to provide an airline ticket. We cover all expenses. I'd like to thank each and every person that has a part in this now and in the future. Any ideas or input will gladly be accepted. We appreciate your donations and sponsorship. And a special thanks to Troy Broussard (Swamp People) and Scooter Back of Diamondback Airboats of Cocoa Florida, for their help in designing the right boat for the job and then building the best boat in the industry! A big thank you to Steve Mccain Jr of Wide Open Outfitters and La Finca Lodge in San Fernando Tamaulipas Mexico, for his time and assistance in getting publicity and sports writers to bring our story to life in magazines.
The Story Behind Hell or High Water Outdoors
Veteran & Special Project Manager
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