RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – A unique red meat allergy, that has only been discovered in the last 10 years, is one teenager’s motiving factor behind his outstanding hunting skills.
Tres Jackson, 15, was bitten by a Lone Star tick when he was just 8-years-old. He says his life has forever been changed, especially his diet after he discovered he had Alpha-gal.
“I have Alpha-Gal, which is a disease that you cannot eat any beef,” says Jackson. “Really comes down to not being able to eat any red meat which I’ve been lucky enough to still be able to eat deer and bear.”
The red meat allergy has only been more prevalent in the last 10 years after doctors started testing blood for it.
“You get tired of chicken pretty quick, so it’s a big deal to have deer meat in the freezer,” he says.
For Jackson, eating the wrong type of meat can be a matter of life or death.
“You either have an EpiPen or you’re getting rushed to the ER if you can make it in time,” he says. “It’s pretty scary because sometimes if it happens when you’re sleeping you just don’t wake up.”
However, Jackson has a new “target” he is aiming for – helping teach teenagers, like himself, to learn the skill of hunting.
“I’m big on taking kids hunting that have never been before,” Jackson says. “Our school has a lot of kids that just aren’t really into it and I’ve taken several of them and gotten them into the outdoors.”
Now for the second year in a row, Jackson is one of the many winners across the state to win the 2019 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Tripel Trophy Award.
“I’m big avid hunting and fishing – basically what my life revolves around,” says Jackson.
The Tripel Trophy award is given to hunters who harvest deer using archery equipment, muzzleloading equipment, and a modern gun.
“You find a part of yourself when you’re hunting,” he says. “You feel like it’s special, one with nature, it’s an indescribable thing.”