Giving Back Outdoors - Testimonials

Claire Carpenter

Testimonial From: Claire Carpenter

Claire Carpenter

I believe that Giving Back Outdoors is absolutely the perfect name for this non-profit organization. Giving back means to put others before yourself and help them in ways that they will never forget. It can completely change someone’s life. Now for the outdoors. I feel so bad for anyone that has never got to experience the wilderness the way that I have. It can really make you realize how fortunate you are to be alive and get to enjoy this beautiful earth that God created for us. Even before hunting became a passion of mine I had an appreciation for the outdoors. I grew up in a farming family, so I spent a lot of time outside doing many different activities.

Hunting is very popular where I live in southern Iowa, but it was never really a part of my life before I met Jeremy and got to be a part of this amazing organization. My parents have known Jeremy McCarty for a long time, some might even say “they go way back.” So one night, about four years ago, we walked into the local restaurant and Jeremy asked my brother Luke and I if we wanted to go turkey hunting and we were ecstatic. We both got a turkey and had a great time. It did take me a few more hours and a lot more shots to get mine, but don’t worry I got better over time. I did have a blast that day, but my passion for hunting still hadn’t quite developed.

Fast forward about three years and Jeremy asks me if I would like to go deer hunting with him. We decided to go in early muzzleloader season of 2018. I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. In the beginning we didn’t have the best luck. It took five days for me to finally get a deer on the ground. During those five days is when my passion for hunting actually developed. I made so many countless memories and met many great people who are willing to do anything to give a kid like me a memorable hunt.

Hunting is almost indescribable. There are so many different parts that go into hunting that I had no clue about. Searching for the right spot, taking the right path to get where we want to set up, using different techniques such as Nose Jammer Field Spray to make sure we don’t get ratted out. Doing all those things just to be able to take that shot, and feel that rush of adrenaline. There is nothing like watching that deer hit the ground. I am so thankful that I have gained the knowledge that I have from mentors like Jeremy.

Hunting is incredible, but the real reason I have fallen in love with it is what happens before and after the hunt. Asking the landowners to hunt on their land and them graciously letting us unto their property to create so many memories. Having a new bond with a different group of people because you have shot a nice buck is something that I will always give this organization credit for. Watching the community have your back as they see pictures of what you harvested is a feeling that I’ll never forget. Being able to join in on the hunting stories and tell how my hunt all went down is truly wonderful.

A few months after I shot my first deer Jeremy asked me to go to the Iowa Deer Classic. I didn’t know what to expect but I was excited to see what was in store for me. Little did I know that I would meet one of my best friends that weekend. Jeremy’s niece and I have built a bond that I never would have imagined. Without hunting I probably never would have met her. I’m so thankful for all that Giving Back Outdoors has given me. I didn’t think that it could get much better than this.

During this time I also got to meet people with a very different background than me. Jeremy loves to share his passion for hunting with other people. These people include veterans who have all had different walks of life. Two things they do share is the fact they were willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for our country, and their love for hunting. I will always have the utmost respect for these individuals. Through this organization they have made friends and become part of something so great.

This year I participated in the 2019 Youth Hunt during youth season. I once again shot a nice buck, but that isn’t what is important. What is important is the memories I made and the outstanding people that I met. I got to know Dylan Carew who is the owner of Big Game Wrestling Club. He brought some kids so that they could also make memories learning to hunt. They were all so nice and I am glad that I have met them. This group of people showed me what it meant to put others before yourself. Shortly after being around them I noticed that these people genuinely cared about each other. Every time they hang up the phone or say goodbye for a few days they always say “I love you.” Being a part of this is something that I will always thank God for. Thank you to everyone involved for letting me be a small part of something extraordinary.


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