PHOTO CAPTION: Sgt. Daniel Wafford, Warrior Transition Unit, Reynolds Army Community Hospital, Fort Sill, Okla., poses with the 8-point, 139-pound buck he shot with a crossbow at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Okla., Oct. 18. He also shot a doe the following day. Wafford and two other wounded warriors from the RTU participated in the controlled hunt Oct. 18-19. Photo Credit: Eric Suttles, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
October 23, 2013
By Kevin Jackson, AMC
McALESTER, Okla. -- Patience doesn't come easy for wounded warrior Sgt. Daniel Wafford.
"I couldn't see left or right. I just had to sit there and be patient, which is hard for me," he said about waiting in a hunting blind at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP), Okla. for a deer to approach.
About 9:15 a.m. -- nearly three hours after he took his position -- a buck approached from his left. He didn't have a good shot and again waited until it was about 10 yards away.
"I watched him for about 10 to 15 minutes before I shot," the 30-year-old, Dallas native said. "He went down after about 40 yards. It was an adrenaline rush."
How he harvested the 8-point, 139-pound buck and an 87-pound doe the next day was new to him.
"This is the first time I've even shot a crossbow in my whole life," he said.
Wafford said he grew up in the country and hunting had been part of his life as long as he could remember. His family hunted to put food in their freezer.
While his participation in the hunt at MCAAP wasn't to put food on the table, he said wounded warrior hunts have special meaning to him and others.
"Guys go through deployments and all, you appreciate this more," Wafford said.
"They've treated us exceptionally well," he added. "You're just grateful for the opportunity. We have a tremendous amount of respect for these guys. It's unreal."
Wafford is assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Reynolds Army Community Hospital, Fort Sill, Okla. He arrived there in June 2013 after returning from serving as an air defense enhanced early warning system operator for Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Two other Soldiers from the WTU joined Wafford for the hunt, Oct. 18-19. A WTU closely resembles an Army unit, but it focuses on providing Soldiers with at least six months of rehabilitative medical care before they transition to civilian life.
Sgt. Barry Dilley, a native of Cleveland, Okla. bagged a 7-point, two and a half-year-old, 135-pound buck and a 99-pound doe.
Spc. Timothy Ringhoffer from Abilene, Texas, bagged two 98-pound does.
This was the fifth year that McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation have teamed up to host wounded warriors for a controlled deer hunt at MCAAP.
Last year, Cpl. Quinton Picone from the WTU at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, whose father Vincent works at MCAAP, harvested a 9-point buck that weighed just shy of 200 pounds on the hoof. It set a new record for the heaviest deer taken at MCAAP and it still stands.
"The Soldiers had a productive hunt, but more important they just had a great time," said Bill Starry, chief of MCAAP's Land Management Office. "The hunt was really a team effort. We couldn't have done it without the support of the Warrior Transition Unit and the assistance of our friends from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation."
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant is the Department of Defense's premier bomb and warhead loading facility, and is one of 14 industrial facilities in the Joint Munitions Command. It is vital to ammunition stockpile management and delivery to the joint warfighter for training and combat operations.