BRIDGEWATER, Maine — A September moose hunt, deep in The County’s timberlands, changed double amputee Staff Sgt. Johnny “Joey” Jones’ life.
“It was a real raw adventure off the beaten path,” Dave Hentosh, owner of Smoldering Lake Outfitters in Bridgewater, said. “He’s a pretty successful guy, but this really expanded his boundaries and showed him he could do more.”
Jones, the host of FOX Nation’s Outdoors, was selected for the hunt by the Veteran’s Afield Foundation and his wild, three-day adventure into the northern Maine woods is one of the Outdoor show’s second season episodes that starts streaming on FOX Nation on Monday.
Smoldering Lake Outfitters drew one of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife lodge permits in the lodge lottery for the 2020 moose season in September, Hentosh said.
“We gave the permit to the Veteran’s Afield Foundation. We wanted a veteran to have it,” Henosh said, adding that he created the foundation to help combat veterans heal through outdoor activities.
Jones, a Marine, served for eight years with two combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bomb technician. In 2010, while in Afghanistan, he lost both his legs to a homemade bomb.
Since that time, Jones has been working to help other veterans through motivational speaking.
And with his FOX Nation Outdoors program, he pursues his love of hunting and fishing in unusual locations, often with celebrities. In season one, he went on a hunt with famed rocker Ted Nugent.
For the Aroostook County moose hunt, Jones’ friend and fellow combat veteran Jake Schick joined him.
Hentosh said a rugged hunting trip in Northern Maine is a challenge for an amputee, but the expedition crew carried Jones in a fireman’s carry when the terrain got too rough or there were bodies of water.
At first, Hentosh started providing hunts and outdoor experiences for veterans as a way to say “thank you.”
But then a call from a Vietnam veteran opened his eyes to the power of these experiences.
“He called me and said,’thank you for saving my life’,” Hentosh said, adding that he was a bit baffled as to how he saved his life. “He said it was the single nicest thing someone did for him since he returned from Vietnam.”
For months the Vietnam veteran sat with a bottle in one hand and a gun in the other and each night he would choose, Hentosh said.
“When he got here and the way he was treated, it turned his life around,” Hentosh said.
In Jones’ moose hunting episode, he too, shares with the audience how the hunt changed his life.
“You really have to watch the show to see how he feels,” Hentosh said.
Jones’ Maine adventure in Wildlife Management District 6 began on Sept. 30 and he shot his first moose on Oct. 3, according to Hentosh.
“On Saturday, he finally got one,” Hentosh said.