Working with the Pikes Peak chapter of the conservation group Pheasants Forever, Arvada-based nonprofit U.S. Warriors Outdoors orchestrated the first pheasant hunt for Martinez, Orchowski and Army vets Dennis Campbell and Ryan Gimlin at the Larkspur ranch leased by Dale and Brenda Merritt of Bearpoint Kennels. Dale Merritt doubles as the president of PF’s Pikes Peak chapter, and although the ranch typically only hosts the chapter’s annual youth hunt, he jumped at the opportunity to introduce the wounded warriors to his favorite pastime.
“A pheasant hunt is the No. 1 bird chased in upland hunts across the country,” Merritt said. “But for a lot of these wounded warrior vets to be able to go up into a place like South Dakota and hunt wild birds in some of that tougher terrain or thicker cover, sometimes it’s harder for them to get around. We can produce enough cover (for pheasants) here, but it’s still manageable for a guy who has lost both legs and is walking on prosthetics.”