Inviting veterans on a hunt is not unusual for host, Chad Belding, and The Fowl Life crew. But this particular hunt involves a Navy SEAL Chief Jake Young (ret), who has been on hundreds of missions without fanfare or expecting anything in return – other than the knowledge of serving his country.
While the flyovers may be different this time for Chief Young, the camaraderie in camp is the same. Hunting on prime duck land in Hagerman, Idaho, along the fertile Snake River, Belding and property owner, John Shaw, are hosting The Freedom Hunter Project.
“We titled the episodes ‘Humbling Parts 1 and 2’ because that was the entire duck camp’s sentiment toward Chief Young,”Belding said. “He is the literal embodiment of American bravery. Don’t you dare call him a ‘hero.’ SEAL’s are far above seeking out or accepting titles such as that.”
The hundreds of missions that came without fanfare for Chief Young are where his valor truly shines. Several of his missions have even been later made into movies. However, three months into a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan, Chief Young and his team’s camp were ambushed. A grenade caused devastating injuries to his friend instantly and sent shrapnel his way. He thought the blood coming from his head was just a scratch.
Fast forward his return home; his wife and he started butting heads immediately. Something wasn’t right. He wasn’t himself. Finally, a cat scan was ordered and shrapnel was discovered lodged in Chief Young’s brain. Twenty-four months and nine brain surgeries later, his recovery was just beginning. His short-term memory will never recover. The headaches may never go away. The worst part for him is that he never gets to be a SEAL and serve his country again – but he can hunt ducks.
“This was an amazing episode to make,” Belding added. “Chief Young couldn’t have been more appreciative to The Fowl Life team for getting to hunt Hagerman Wings with us and we couldn’t have been more humbled. Hagerman owner, John Shaw, dedicated a piece of his land to him – called Chief Young Pond. This duck camp was different. This duck camp was humbled.”