Savage Arms announces the release of their latest episode of Savage Journeys: Horicon Marsh Veteran Hunt. This small-town event packs a punch and takes place every year just north of Milwaukee, Wisc. in the famous Horicon Marsh. Savage Journeys and Savage Arms Ambassador and US Marine Corps Veteran Ryan Baudhuin details the event and introduces us to so many veterans who continue to use this hunt for healing, camaraderie, and a way to get out and hunt.
The Horicon Marsh Veterans Hunt has been held each year for over a decade and relies on an ever-growing network of volunteers to provide a top-notch experience and keep up with growth. What started as a way to attract fewer than ten veterans to the field has grown into a very popular annual hunt with a waiting list to attend. Its popularity is only shadowed by the difference it makes in first-time attendees and yearly regulars each October. This year’s hunt featured more than 50 volunteers, dozens of sponsors, 55 volunteer guides, more than three dozen dogs and more than 80 veteran hunters.
“This event has saved lives,” said Horicon Marsh Veterans Hunting Treasurer Andy Johnson. “It has definitely saved the lives of veterans. Of course, when this event first came up, we never had any idea or thought that that was what it was, we were just taking people out duck hunting. It has become so much more than that. It’s gaining traction, and we’re getting people from all over who want to get involved, who want to help, and who want to help for the right reasons. They want to help vets and try to give back what we feel is owed to them.”
“2015 was my first year,” said Matt Owens, a US Marine Corps veteran. “I had never hunted ducks before. I instantly fell in love with it and couldn’t wait to go back. For 51 weeks a year I almost look forward to this weekend. It’s all I can think about.”
Baudhuin knows firsthand the impact this event can have. After a combat tour in Iraq, Baudhuin was fighting like so many other veterans. He was battling PTSD, mental health, substance abuse, loss, and grief. His life was spinning out of control in 2011 when he was invited to the Horicon Marsh Veteran Hunt. He credits it with saving his life and used it to propel him into a career in the outdoor industry and come full circle by giving his fellow veterans the opportunity to hunt. “Having been through the struggles and seeing what hunting and being outdoors can do for you, I want to give you the gift of being outdoors like it was given to me,” Baudhuin said. Baudhuin now hosts his own events for veterans through his nonprofit, High Point Adventures, hunting everything from bears to ducks to exotic animals for healing in the great outdoors. “You come to these events and you will see guys who are struggling. The event is not the hunt, that is the setting. The event is camaraderie among the other veterans. Even the relationships and the interactions between the volunteers and guides and the authenticity of that, is real. it’s community. And you build a network here.”
“Hanging out with other vets warms my soul a bit,” said Ryan Lonergan, Army National Guardsman.
“Using hunting and the outdoors as a healing tool for PTSD and mental health is just one tool in the toolbox that we can give these guys,” Baudhuin said. “I think the most important thing they find there is peace and quiet, as well as camaraderie.”
This episode of Savage Journeys will debut on Veterans Day on the Savage Arms website and through their social channels. More information on the Horicon Marsh Veteran Hunt is available by visiting the website. For more information on Savage Arms and Savage Journeys, please visit the Savage Arms home page.
Headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts, Savage has been producing firearms for more than 125 years. Savage is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rimfire and centerfire shotguns and rifles for hunting, competition and target shooting. Their firearms are best known for their accuracy, performance, and innovation. The entrepreneurial spirit that originally defined the company is still evident in its continued focus on continuous innovation, craftsmanship, quality and service. Learn more at www.savagearms.com.