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The Ozark Christian Bowhunters are celebrating another successful bow hunt after completing the organization’s annual “Veteran’s Hunt” in Yellville on opening weekend.
Led by Mark Shaw with the help of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, this year’s group of happy hunters consisted of seven veterans. The group harvested two deer a piece at the Fred Berry Conservation Center.
American-made “Grim Reaper” broadheads were used during the hunt. Veterans were treated to a Friday dinner at Holy Smokes BBQ after the hunt.
“All the veterans had a great time enjoying the outdoors and harvesting their deer,” said Mark Shaw, chairman of the Ozark Christian Bowhunters. “A special thank you to Pastor Joe Jackson for sharing the word of God with the Veterans and their mentors. Thank you to all the volunteers and to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.”
Formed in Michigan in 1984 by David L. Roose, the Christian Bowhunters of America is a non-denominational ministry that focuses on using bow hunting to spread the gospel to the world.
Consisting of 21 chapters throughout the United States, CBA helps those wishing to hunt into the field free of charge. The organization uses a network of volunteers to provide both new and old hunters with the land needed to hunt.
The Arkansas chapter of CBA, the Ozark Christian Bowhunters, currently has 5,500 acres of land available to hunt on, spanning from Yellville, Arkansas, to Harriet, Arkansas.
“This was a great time of fellowshipping, forming friendships, and coming together in the name of God and His creations,” Shaw said.
CBA’s hunting trips are open to all people from various backgrounds, including veteran and novice hunters. Shaw said he sees about a 50/50 split in the groups he takes out into the field.
Many are new hunters, coming out to try their hand at the craft. Others are more experienced, often looking to take their children out for the first time or seeking to put food on their table for the year.
Shaw, who also serves as a board member at the Bob Davis Veteran Center, focuses on helping get veterans out in the field for some fun and relaxation.
Veterans who join Shaw and CBA on a hunting trip can stay at the Bob Davis Center if they are traveling from out of state.
CBA also works with other organizations like AR CAN, a chapter of the nonprofit Christian group 10 CAN that seeks to help veterans in their struggles with PTSD. AR CAN seeks to lower suicide rates by getting veterans outdoors and active in recreational therapy.
Shaw’s journey into joining CBA began in the 90s after he joined his local chapter in Idaho. A bow hunter since the 70s, Shaw worked his way to becoming a licensed bow instructor in Idaho through Idaho Fish and Game.
Hailing from Missouri, Shaw grew up tending to his family’s dairy farm before leaving to work for Stihl, one of the world’s biggest chain saw manufacturers.
Shaw said hunting allows him to connect to nature and find fellowship with those he takes on his trips.
And fellowship is one of CBA’s central themes. Before the start of every hunt, Shaw opens up about his faith and asks others to join him in prayer and fellowship before going out for the day.
For more information on Ozark Christian Bowhunters, or if you would like to participate in a hunt, please contact Mark Shaw at [email protected].