Fort McCoy News Nov. 13, 2015

47 disabled hunters participate in special hunt

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Forty-seven people participated in Fort McCoy's 2015 deer hunt for people with disabilities.

It was the 13th consecutive year the special hunt was held at the installation, said Wildlife Program Manager and Biologist Dave Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch. The 2015 hunter success rate was approximately 36 percent with 20 deer harvested.

"The success rate is slightly down from previous years but still very good," Beckmann said. "The hunters had good weather conditions and, from the feedback we've received, they enjoyed their hunt."

Photo
Local hunter Larry Smith is photographed with a buck he harvested during
the Fort McCoy deer hunt for people with disabilities in October.
Photo by
Nate Tucker

Each year, Wisconsin holds a nine-day gun deer hunt for people with disabilities in October. Since 2002, Fort McCoy has participated by holding a two-day hunt. This year it was held Oct. 3-4.

"The hunt is for those people who qualify for a Wisconsin disabled-hunter license," Beckmann said.

In 2015, 54 people applied, 48 purchased a permit, and 47 hunted for the Fort McCoy hunt, Beckmann said. Those figures were down slightly from 2014, when 72 people applied, 63 purchased a permit, and 54 hunted. "Even though we had slightly fewer people participate this year, it is still a lot more than the nine people who participated in our first special hunt 13 years ago," he said.

Every year, Fort McCoy provides volunteers who serve as hunting assistants for those who request support. Eleven people volunteered to help this year, including first-time volunteer Lance Babl with the Army Reserve Pay Center
at Fort McCoy.

Babl supported local hunter Larry Smith, who successfully harvested a spike buck.

"We hunted both days, and later on the second day, Larry got his buck," Babl said. "It was an honor to be asked to help out. Having us give a helping hand to hunters with disabilities really helps (those hunters) to get out and be like everyone else.

"I didn't think it was much work at all, and it was a lot of fun," Babl said. "And, the end result was a successful harvest for Larry."

Beckmann said the volunteers provide an invaluable service.

"We always appreciate their support because their support helps makes that disabled hunter's experience that much better," he said. "We have many experienced hunters who (help) this volunteer effort every year, and we are thankful for all of their support."

Anyone who would like to volunteer for future hunts should call Beckmann at 608-388-5374. The NRB accepts applications for the disabled hunt from June through mid-September each year. More about the application process can be found online at http://ftmccoy.isportsman.net, or by calling the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337.

For more information about how to obtain a disabled hunting license, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at http://dnr.wi.gov/permits/disabled.html.