Craighead reflects on youth hunt memories

BITELY — Todd Craighead of Oklahoma was at the Legends Ranch near Bitely last weekend enjoying another Special Youth Challenge Hunt, which is dedicated to the dream of a special child.

Craighead was a participant in the hunt at one time and in recent years has been a helper.

Craighead remembers the story of Bubba Dale Renfro, a youngster with cerebral palsy, who was 12 years old at the time when they came up, along with his parents and grandparents.

“Bubba was the biggest redneck you’d ever meet,” Craighead said. “I remember when he shot his deer, we had trouble with his gun earlier in the day. It wasn’t working. So he had to use his guide’s gun. We hooked up a little LCD monitor to the scope. The guide’s gun was too big for him and he had to use a gun that didn’t fit him. We hooked a monitor to the top of the scope so we could see what was going on inside his scope with this monitor.

“He made the shot, It was his first deer ever. When the deer went down…with the intensity of the situation and hoping we could get it done, Bubba started yelling that he loved his guide. Everyone was tearing up in the blind because it was such an intense moment to pull it together.”

Craighead remembers a girl from Oklahoma who wanted to hunt at the Legends and wanted to get a deer. “But she was scared of the gun,” Craighead said. “With her father’s permission, we tricked her. We told her that Colby (Bettis) one of the managers here, had a guide who had a special gun back at the ranch that didn’t make any noise and didn’t have any recoil and if she would like to try it.

”As it turned out, we didn’t load the gun. We let her shoot it on the range and it would just go ‘click.’ She thought it was going off and actually shooting. She was convinced it was a great gun and she wanted to use it.

When we got to the blind that night, we actually put ammo in. But she wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger and she got her deer,” he continued. “She never felt the recoil or heard the noise because she was caught up in the moment. We had to trick her but it turned out great.”

Craighead enjoys every moment he spends at The Legends.

“It’s so neat to be able to be a part of something like this,” he said. “There are lots of people that did things for me growing up. This is my chance to return the generosity and the sacrifice so many people did for me.”


Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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