It all started over grilled pheasant at a Packer tailgate

Dan-Sutter-2014
Wow… it all started over grilled pheasant at a Packer tailgate…In just 2 months, you were able to make a dream become reality. What an amazing opportunity that we will forever be grateful for. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you and getting to know more about you and the wonderful experiences you have provided through Empowered Dream Hunts. We are hopeful that we will be able to help make this dream come true for someone else. It was the experience of a lifetime, and something we will always treasure. Words cannot express how grateful we are that we were fortunate enough to participate in a Dream Hunt. Everything about it was AMAZING! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Sincerely, Dan and Niki Sutter


Red’s Big Bear Lodge!

Bear-pic-Tony-Balz
Red’s Big Bear Lodge! Thanks to everyone involved. Truly amazing! Still don’t have many words to explain
it all but, thank you! Central Wisconsin Conservation Club, everyone at Big Bear, Joe at empowered
dream hunts, and the Verbsky’s…this happened because of all the work you put in and I could never
thank you enough….side note: this big fella ended up being a Lil bigger than what the scale shows here!
~ Tony Balz


In Just 2 Months You Made a Dream a Reality

Dear Joe and Empowered Dream Hunts:

Wow… it all started over grilled pheasant at a Packer tailgate…In just 2 months, you were able to make a dream become reality. What an amazing opportunity that we will forever be grateful for. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you and getting to know more about you and the wonderful experiences you have provided through Empowered Dream Hunts. We are hopeful that we will be able to help make this dream come true for someone else. It was the experience of a lifetime, and something we will always treasure. Words cannot express how grateful we are that we were fortunate enough to participate in a Dream Hunt. Everything about it was AMAZING! Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!

Sincerely, Dan and Niki Sutter


It was the BEST HUNT EVER!

Thank you all so much for the awesome experience! The Empowered Dream Hunt really did accomplish our dream – for Phil to shoot a really big buck! However, the memories of the weekend are more about the awesome people we met along the way. Little Lakes Lodge was very comfortable, the food was great, the weather was beautiful and I have never seen so many huge bucks. We cannot stop talking about it.

This was my first time going on a hunt with Phil. When I heard him take the shot I got tears in my eyes. I hoped he had gotten a big one. When I reached the deer stand, the look on Phil’s face told the story. He got a big one! What a happy man! In fact, everyone who was helping Phil in the stand was excited.

Thanks to Joe Ramsey, Dick and Bev Busha, Jim, and Tom the taxidermist for setting this whole thing up. Thanks also to our good friend Tommy Narmore who nominated Phil. And to Craig Kleinschmit and his mother Mary for cooking the wonderful meals. Thanks to all the donors who helped make this event happen. It was the BEST HUNT EVER!” – LuAnn and Phil Bird


Our experience with “The Empowered Dream Hunt” Team

When we first arrived in the morning we were greeted by Joe Ramsey and Dick Busha. The setting for this hunt was incredible and the hunting shack that we were expecting turned out to be one of the most beautiful cabins (homes) that we have ever seen. The layout was handicap assessable and the view was amazing. The Team now including Mark Busha was helping us get settled in. After a very nice lunch provided by Bev Busha the Team took Dale and Dan out to the blind. They wanted to make sure that everything was compatible for Dale, right down to the chair he sat on. When the setting was perfect, the guys came back to the cabin to get dressed for the long anticipated Hunt. Dan got Dale set up with the rifle rest. They watched a few bucks and doe go by. Mark said there is a big buck coming out of the swamp to the left of them. They watched it for a while. He turned perfect position and Dale took the shot. Incredible, a perfect shot! There was some humor with this Team! Dick asked the guys if we girls could take a joke. “Of course”, was the answer. So Dick came back to the cabin and told us they needed our help to track a deer. Muddy snow on the ground, we did not have boots for tracking, but we wanted to find this buck for Dale. Drove through the woods for a while and came up to the blind and there they stood with this Trophy Buck!!! No tracking necessary, we were relieved!! Everything about this Empowered Dream Hunt was made special by the Team. They turned it into more than just a deer hunt. The bonding of good friends with the company of new ones made this journey unforgettable. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts!!


Club members fully embraced the opportunity to take this on

Joe and the entire Empowered Dream Hunt Staff,

Being a part of a Conservation Club we were looking for something else to contribute to on a more personal level. We have provided Kid fisheree’s and Hunter safety courses but this experience has to rank among the most rewarding. To try to make this short. We heard about Empowered Dream Hunts and invited Joe to a meeting to tell us more about it. After hearing what Joe had to say and the Empowered Dream Hunt mission, Club members fully embraced the opportunity to take this on. Our First Candidate Was Kurt Johnston From Oshkosh. Rick Hansen And myself Took the trip up to witness this wonderful event with the Johnston Family. What a first class organization. From the time we arrived, through the hunt to the time we left, our group was treated like family. I know it meant a lot to the Johnston family to spend that weekend together. The Busha’s were tremendous hosts and went above and beyond to make this hunt special. As hunters Both Rick and I have a new appreciation what we are blessed with physically and not to take this for granted. After watching the hunt up top that deer stand and seeing what transpired I know there were not to many dry eyes. Thank you for the wonderful memories and for making not only ourselves better people, but the world a better place.

On Behalf of the Poygan Conservation Club,

Thank you,

Chris Holm


Empowered Dream Hunt Buck

Matt Deicher shot this buck on October 21 in Lincoln County. It had 11 points with a 25-inch inside spread, weighed 200 pounds and scored 180. Matt commented. “I would like to thank everyone who was involved in getting me to the hunt and helping me harvests this awesome buck. Thanks to Jerry Karlen for nominating me to Empowered Dream Hunts Inc., Joe Ramsey, Little Lakes Lodge, my family, all my staff, and everyone in the surrounding communities that were involved in all the fund raisers to make this dream come true. Empowered Dream Hunts Inc. has opened a new chapter in my life for me to go back out hunting again.


It was wonderful to see Mitch’s face when he got his buck

Mitch Hoyt of Marathon is an avid deer hunter and has been his whole life. Hoyt said, growing up on a farm in Menomonie, his father taught him that everything he needs to survive he can get from the land with a little work.
“He taught me to have respect for the outdoors and the outdoors will provide you with everything you need,” Hoyt said. “We are thankful for the animals to eat.”
Hoyt and his family – wife Christine and four daughters, Abigail, Adelle, Autumn, and Alana – still live by that principle.
Hoyt said his family will eat about six deer a year so he and his two oldest daughters hunt. It was during on of his hunts in 2006 that Hoyt was seriously injured when he fell from his tree stand.
The tree stand broke,” he said. “I fell 20 feet and broke my neck.”
The injury has left Hoyt paralyzed and in a wheelchair. He continues to hunt in area disabled hunts and he “road hunts,” which he said is easy for him to do in his wheelchair, and is legal because of his disability.
Hoyt said that “it isn’t the same.”
He said he prefers to be out in the woods but because he is wheelchair-bound that isn’t an easy task.
Enter Joe Ramsey and Empowered Dream Hunts, Inc. a non-profit organization begun by Ramsey “to help the specially-abled outdoor enthusiast living in the Wisconsin communities to overcome nature’s challenges, break barriers, and develop friendships to fulfill a dream,” Ramsey said.
The organization began with a hunt in 2007 with Kyle Frailing, a Winneconne resident.
At that time, Frailing was a junior at Winneconne High School. Frailing has cerebral palsy, but Ramsey said, “that does not hold him back from being active and involved.”
Ramsey met Frailing when he was in 5th grade and involved in Winneconne’s Youth Wrestling Program. Ramsey eventually became the head wrestling coach at Winneconne High School, and Frailing was his team’s manager.
“I was fortunate to have Mike Farchione as assistant coach”, Ramsey said. “His background included adaptive physical education. He helped Kyle out a lot during the season with mobility and exercises, helping him get stronger. Unfortunately, after a tragic accident, we lost Mike Farchione May 10, 2006.”
Ramsey said it was in Farchione’s memory that he had the desire to continue to help Kyle, as well as other disabled individuals fulfill their goals. This is how Empowered Dream Hunts was started.
Frailing’s 2007 hunt took place in Irma at Little Lakes Ranch and Lodge where Frailing harvested a nine point buck.
“Kyle was so moved by the experience, he has become part of the organization and wants to give back – he knows what it can to for others,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey, who does all of the legwork for each hunt, has a story of his own. He grew up inMilwaukee and was in foster care since he was 16 months old. After six different foster homes, Ramsey was sent to Lincoln Hills School. The last foster home Ramsey lived at was a dairy farm in Merrill. It was at this time that he became Merrill’s first two time WIAA state wrestling champion. He went on to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in sociology from UW Stevens Point in 1992.
After retiring from wrestling in 1995, Ramsey worked at Rawhide Boys Ranch for nearly 10 years. He said he continues to help area schools with coaching wrestling but, more importantly, encouraging young men to believe in their dreams no matter what challenges they face.
Through Empowered Dream Hunts, Ramsey helps fellow hunters get back into the woods.
Hoyt said his hunt with Empowered Dream Hunts was the second time he was able to get out into the woods since his accident in 2006.
“It was great,” he said. “I am so grateful Joe Ramsey started his organization. It was a blessing to be a part of that. Joe does a lot of footwork for this, and he is a bit-hearted guy.”
Ramsey donates his time and energy for the hunts. He coordinates fundraisers to allow the hunters to go and hunt at Little Lakes Ranch. Ramsey said each hunt cost $2500. H said the families do not pay for the hunt themselves. It is all through donations and fund raising.
The hunt includes 3 days and 2 nights in the lodge at Little Lakes Ranch. The participants can hunt whenever they want and are guaranteed a deer. Ramsey said the lodge is handicap-accessible and all meals are included.
Ramsey said the Little Lakes Ranch offers the hunts for Empowered Dream Hunts at a lower rate. In exchange, he said he tries to go out to the ranch and organize work days in return.
Ramsey said he believes everything goes “full circle.” He said one of the co-owners of Little Lakes Ranch was an employee at Lincoln Hills when he was a resident there.
“It all comes full circle,” he said. “I have been very fortunate for the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I want to give back to others.”
Ramsey said to go on a hunt the hunters must have taken a hunter’s safety course and must be cognitive.
“We do not take advantage of anyone,” Ramsey said. “We encourage them to continue to hunt if they are able as well.”
Ramsey said his job is to find out what kind of hunt the participants are capable of and to coordinate it all.
“I am kind of the stick that stirs the drink,” Ramsey said.
He said one past hunter was so excited when he learned he could get out into the woods and harvest a buck that he began therapy to make himself stronger.
“This brings excitement to the people involved,” Ramsey said. “That is what this is all about. It is about these people and how I can help them and how I can help the next person.”
The Hoyt family agrees that the hunt is exciting. Mitch Hoyt said he loved the hunt and to be out in the woods with his family, but it was even better to see his wife relax.
“This gave us the opportunity to do something as a family,” he said. “My wife was there relaxing and my kids were there. It was almost like a vacation. I enjoyed the hunt but that was really secondary to seeing my wife relax and my kids having fun.”
Seven year old Alana said she had fun and loved seeing the deer. Older sister Abigail said it was nice to wake up in the morning and relax.
“There was nothing we had to do,” she said.
The two eldest Hoyt daughters, Abigail and Adelle, both hunters themselves, were able to sit in the stand with their father on the hunt.
Hoyt harvested an eight point buck with a six inch base.
Christine Hoyt said the experience was worthwhile.
“It was wonderful to see Mitch’s face when he got his buck,” she said. “He was just beaming. He could have just stayed out there in the woods all day.”
Christine Hoyt said because her husband is in a wheelchair, her family is limited as to what they can do together as a family.
“It was a blessing when Joe came to us and offered us this chance to do something Mitch is passionate about,” she said.
Ramsey said his program intertwines the families that participate in the hunt and forges new friendships.
Ramsey an avid hunter himself, said he doesn’t mind missing a weekend of hunting in the fall when he volunteers his time to the families with Empowered Dreams because helping them is so much more important.
“I’ll get to hunt again when the snow is out there,” he said. “I can walk through the snow. I have another chance to hunt.”


Dave opted to go on his hunt

Dave Karn, 2010’s recipient of a once-in-a lifetime expedition weekend for hunters with physical challenges through the 501c3 organization known as Empowered Dream Hunts, had a very hard decision to make. Just when he was ready to head off on his dream hunt at Little Lakes Ranch in Irma, his doctors informed him that he needed to go into the hospital for necessary surgery on his legs. Dave opted to go on his hunt. Karn wasn’t about to miss being out in the woods again, as the last time he hunted was nearly ten years prior, before he suffered from a series of debilitating strikes that left him without function on his right side. “Before I had the strikes, I’d never shot a buck in all the years I hunted”.
The weekend at Little Lakes fulfilled all of Karn’s imagined goals. Hunting with his son Aaron, early Saturday evening, Dave collected a beautiful buck with a clean, ethical shot. Karn used a 7 mm Mag Remington, 700 model. The buck had a 19 ½ inch inside spread, was approximately four years old, weighing 260+ lbs live weight, and scoring over 140 on Pope and Young. “I saw more deer in my blind at Little Lakes that I’d seen in 30 years of hunting before my strokes,” said Karn. “It was the dream of a lifetime.”
“On Friday, the Empowered Dream Hunt Team scouted, watch the deer, and customized the blind for Dave’s needs,” said Laurie and Joe Ramsey on how the hunt progressed. “Saturday morning, Dave went out again, saw some deer, and still the stand needed to be customized for his needs. Then on Saturday evening, around 4:30 p.m., Dave was out hunting in the stand. He had been watching a certain buck for awhile, and by 5:30 p.m., he had harvested a wonderful animal.”
In addition to the deer hunting experience, Dave will receive pictures, a mount, and keepsake video of the experience. Dave informed us that he’s now scheduled that needed surgery on his legs, and plans to enjoy some delicious venison all winter long.
“Thank you and Empowered Dream Hunts for the experience of a lifetime. And to the Busha family and Eric for doing a wonderful job at making me feel like family – wonderful food and hospitality. I will definately refer anyone to go there, and would be glad to help any one else who is going to hunt there.” – Dave Karn


The Lord has a way of providing all our needs without question

The Lord has a way of providing all our needs without question.. Sometimes people seem to be dealt difficult hands to play with in life. It seems at times a curve ball comes at us. We have to learn to catch that ball and toss it back. Knowing you may not have the strength to do so..Trusting that it will always reach the glove. The Lord will always bless all of us.All we have to do is have faith..
Ross is a special person. He has an attitude. When folks ask him, what it’s like to be in a wheel chair? He many times will say, What chair.. You see Ross only sees whats’ in front of him, what he’s gone through does not exist.
The special hunt Ross experienced, was not just a chance to get his buck, but the opportunity to bond with his family . Dad, brother Joshua, His cousin Eric had the joy of experiencing something much more than getting his deer. We all grew closer as a family…We give thanks for this.
Ross went through hunters safety when he was 13. His has hunted every year since. Never with success .Countless hours of being cold, wet or just disappointed. Not to give up ..Ross would just say the deer was meant to be for someone else. This buck was meant for him. He may not have been the biggest animal. He may not have had the largest rack. He will not even score for the record books either, but he was the one provided to Ross.. No questions asked. Dreams are dreamed, and this one was realized. His rack will take the place of the wait.
Empowered Dream Hunts aren’t just about getting a buck. It’s about people of all ages banding together. The common goal to help someone, they may never meet. To create memories that will last a life time.
Empowered Dream Hunts, touch so many lives. The rewards of the effort can’t be measured.. If they were they would be as long as the longest river.
May God Bless You Always,
The Ross Kleinschmit Family
Craig,Josh, Eric and Ross

Poygan Conservation Club helped make this hunt possible.