KSL Outdoors: Turkey hunt for Paige Wilcken

<(Mike) How how are you? Are you Paige? (paige) Yeah. (mike) Remember us? (paige) Yeah. (mike) "We are your friends at the fishing day." >

For several years, the Pritchett and Smiley families have been showing up on the door steps of families around Christmas to give a special child, some exciting news.

<(Mike Pritchett, SFW Turkey Specialist) "I got you a card, maybe your mom or dad could help you read that.">

<(Rex Wilcken, Paige's Dad) "it says Paige, you have been selected to go on a fully guided turkey hunt in Southern Utah.">

<(Mike Pritchett) "Get to go on your first guided turkey hunt. (paige) "yeah." (mom) can you shoot that turkey? (paige) Yeah, i'm going to shoot it good." (laughs) (mike) There you go.">

The Pritchett boys met Paige last year, at their annual fishing day for kids with disabilities, that they’ve been holding for 23 years.

<(Rex Wilcken) "Paige when she was about a year old, was a normal baby, rolling over early, doing everything that a baby usually does and about a year old, she started getting staring seizures.">

<(Rex) "She just had learning disabilities, she's probably about at a 1st grade reading level right now. She's 18 years old, she's just getting ready to graduate from Lehi High School, right paige. Yeah.>

<(Paige) "look at that momma!">

Every year the hunter is given a new shotgun from Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife and this year we had another surprise for Paige.

<(Adam) "Have you ever heard of this place? It's called Sportsman's Warehouse, there's your shirt from them, now we've got to take you to their store to pick you out some clothes for your hunt." (family) oh neat. (mike) so you kind of get to go on a shopping spree, you up for going on a shopping spree? (paige) yeah. (adam) "lets go shopping.">

<(Dad) "I'm Rex, Paige's dad, that's my wife over there. (darin) Hi, how are you? Thanks for coming in.">

Sportsman’s Warehouse took it from there, outfitting Paige with everything she would need for her hunt….

<(Darin McDaniel, Sportsman's Warehouse) "so facemask, gloves, pant, jacket and just a long sleeve shirt.">

Mary, the clothing manager even made sure dad was taken care of.

<(Mary Cristaudo, Sportsman's Warehouse Clothing Manager) "ok, i found a couple of matching ones. (paige) "look at that.">

<(Karen Wilcken, Paige's Mom) "she's having a blast, what girl wouldn't want a free shopping spree!">

<(Darin McDaniel, Sportsman's Warehouse) "We all know as outdoorsman that if we don't continue to try and promote our sport and our heritage to those, whether it be to youth, to ladies or whomever, someday it's going to burn out, we are going to loose our privileges. I know that Sportsman's Warehouse doesn't want to see that happen and I know I don't want to see it happen. So anything that we can do to help is an ultimate responsibility I feel.">

<(Mike) "Paige this is Kendall, you'd better give him a hug, this is his home and land that's he's going to let you hunt.">

Fast forward to mid April. Kendall Prisbrey, a landowner in southern Utah has agreed to host the family. We met Kendall last year when he offered the same opportunity to 14 year old Christian Hernandez. Christian passed away last November after loosing his fight with cancer, but his memory and the friendships that were made on his hunt….remain.

<(Kendall Prisbrey, Landowner) "Christian was a brave little soldier, he toughed it out, never complained, very heart-warming.">

<(Kendall) "We've decided since Christian was here that we'd like to offer this every year for kids that may need an opportunity to come and say spend some time with their family.">

<(Mrs Prisbrey) "do you like eggs? (paige) Yeah. "good, well you can cook some then, come on down we'll start doing chores.">

<(Rex) He's got a horseshoe pit, billiards, everything, like a first class downtown operation. He's wonderful, Paige even got to go down and feed the goats today with his wife. Pretty neat opportunity. They are great people.>

<(Kendall Prisbrey) "Yeah it's quite emotional when you deal with these kids and their problems and you can do something to bring some joy in their lives. I guarantee it does a lot more for me than it does for the kids.">

<(Paige) "they like their momma. (adam) "isn't that cute paige? (paige) "yeah they are cute.">

<(Tag) "Well paige and her family have had a chance to meet Kendall and experience the farm a little bit, now it's time to do a little hunting. We've got the blinds set up, we are in a great spot, a place we call the turkey funnel, or the turkey highway. Her hunt coming up but first back to Mike for tonights quiz question.">


<(Todd Ablehousen) These are from the SFW guys for helping us out, a couple of knives and a couple of hats. (roger Bringhurst) "Thank you, well welcome aboard, there is plenty of birds here.">

Roger Bringhurst, Kendall’s neighbor is allowing Paige to hunt his property. It’s the same field Christian shot his bird in last year. The road going through the field is littered with tracks and sign. With Christian watching over us, we’re bound to see some birds.

<(Kevin Pritchett) "there's a few turkeys here. I think you call that a few turkey tracks.">

<(Mike) "they can go in this one. (todd) you want smiley in this one? (mike) "yeah." (todd) "where do you want me? (mike) In that upper one.>

As Mike sets the decoys up, the rest of us settle in our blinds. Paige calms her nerves by playing a little angry birds on her dads phone.

Almost immediately Mike’s calling has birds responding. This hen is curious and takes a look at the decoys, then the biggest tom I’ve ever seen, waddles his way up the road.

<(Mike) "here he comes right here on the right, big tom coming on the right.">

<(Rex) "there were a couple of hens that came in first and then the big tom came in and he came within 20 yards of the blind.">

<(Mike calls, turkey responds)>

<(Mike) "have her take her safety off.">

<(mike) "right in front of you. I'm going to make him gobble, have her shoot him.">

<(Rex) "We were waiting for him to put his feathers down, stick his neck out and he never did, then he turned went the other way with the hen and they went all the way down the road.">

<(Rex) "never came back, Paige was like 2 seconds from pulling the trigger.">

But the hunt is still on, birds are coming in from everywhere. Seven hens appear and start feeding on the edge of the field, followed by the three amigo’s, these young jakes.

<(Mike) "here they are, get ready.">

The jakes see the decoys, but seem a bit nervous, it’s now or never…

<(Mike) "the one in the middle that's half strutting. Have her shoot the one that is half strutting. (nats calling...shot)>

<(mike) "there she got him.">

<(paige thumbs up) (mike yells) Holy cow sweet girl you did it. (rex) way to go paige, way to go paige." (mike) "good job girl. (paige) Yes.>

<(Rex Wilcken, Paige's dad) "This was a first class operation all the way, all the way from the sponsors, Mike and Kevin and you Adam, this has been terrific for Paige and for us. We never thought we'd experience anything like this in our lives, so it's been a terrific thing for me.">

<(Mike) "I was running like a mad man trying to get out there and pick him up. (paige) "that's going to be for dinner! (laughs)>

<(Tag) (paige) "all by myself, I didn't need dad's help. (adam) "you did dang good, scared the dickens out of me when that gun when off, I think I dropped the camera. What a good job kid. A special thanks to everybody that helps out with this, it's been six years now and hopefully we continue doing this. (rex) "great time guys, appreciate it. (todd) "thanks to Christian for letting us take his spot. (adam) "we've got more coming up on KSL Outdoors, but first lets turn it back to the guys back in Salt Lake for tonights Fish Tech Fish Report.">


<(Adam Eakle) "Welcome back to KSL Outdoors, I'm Adam Eakle. So it's been about 8 years that the Pritchett boys have been taking kids with disabilities out on a turkey hunt, but it all started here over two decades ago at their annual Salem Pond Youth with Disabilities Fishing Day.">

<(Mike Pritchett, Organizer of Youth with Disabilities fishing day) "I got my own children and you count your lucky stars everyday that your children are healthy and doesn't have a disability or a life threatening disease.">

<(Mike Pritchett) "and you just see the emotion in these kids i mean these kids are institutionalized and things and this is a one shot deal for them to come out and do this in one day you know and so just the experience of that to be able to share my knowledge of fishing and pass it to someone who doesn't and then watch them enjoy the success of catching the fish i mean it's just it's incredible.">

23 years ago, Mike and Kevin Pritchett started with 15 disabled children and a handful of volunteers. Tuesday, over one thousand children and one hundred volunteers were on hand for the Pritchett’s fishing event at Salem Pond. It’s something these kids and these volunteers look forward to every year.

<(Bree Roberts, Son has a disability) "They just have huge hearts and they get it. They get what life is about. The important things like making memories with our families and building relationships and we're just really grateful.">

<(Tonya Kieffer, DWR Community Fisheries Biologist) "Without them I don't know how this would be so well orchestrated. They contact the media, they get all the schools and the kids involved they contact us at DWR. We bring the fish, they bring the man power.">

<(Kevin Pritchett, SFW) "We enjoy fishing, we enjoy hunting, but the joy of it is ten times to see somebody thats not been a part of it do it and be a part of it and see the change in them and their family.">

In the past, it’s been difficult for some of the kids in wheelchairs to get close enough to fish. Once again, the Pritchett boys stepped up, got together with some friends and built this concrete fishing dock, complete with rails, benches, even rod holders. They built this not only for their event, but for the entire community.

<(Mike) "Geneva Rock, Sportman's Fish and Wildlife, Nolan Corey Hyatt, Sunrock, PDM Steel, Geneva Rock, WW Construction, A-Core, Nationwide Trailers just people come on board and we completed this project in two to three weeks i mean it was incredible 0610 this everybody jumped on board as volunteers we got this thing installed and had all the railing done by Donahue Welding.">

<(Kevin Donahue, Donahue Welding) "Some of these families that come here with these disabilities they've never done anything like this before and the parents see what joy it brings to them and they start bringing their kids out doing this.">

<(Dave Woodhouse, WW Construction) "By volunteering myself and seeing what it's done for these kids that are fishing this day and just to see the fascination on their face when they handle the fish and catch them.">

<(Dave) "we just wanted to be a part of where we live and help out.">

<(Randy Brailsford, Salem City Mayor) "For donating material and/or labor for the wheelchair fishing platform. The city of Salem wants to thank you for your kindness and your friendship with all these kids.">

<(Adam) With guys like Mike and Kevin, it sure makes your job a lot easier. (Tonya) Makes my job really easy, they're the unsung heroes of the fish and wildlife world. They make it super simple to have a lot of fun and make events like this possible. (adam) Turned out great! (tonya) Awesome, it was awesome! These kids are having a great time. I'm having a great time! (adam) I am too. Come down next year if you have a kid with a disability or just come down and volunteer, the Pritchetts could always use your help. Time now for tonight's Utah Field Guide.">

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