Fort McCoy News Nov. 10, 2017

45 hunters take to field for special deer hunt

for people with disabilities

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Forty-five hunters participated in Fort McCoy's 2017 special deer hunt for people with disabilities Oct. 7-8.

The special hunt has been held on post for 15 years, said Wildlife Program Manager and Biologist Dave Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.

"This year's hunt went very well," Beckmann said. "The harvest success rate was above 30 percent, which is about the same as last year. The hunters were able to find good areas to hunt, and some found success."

Hunter Keith Organ stands with his buck Oct. 7 taken during the special hunt at Fort McCoy. Fourteen deer were harvested during the hunt.
Hunter Keith Organ stands with his buck Oct. 7 taken during the
special hunt at Fort McCoy. Fourteen deer were harvested during
the hunt
. Photo by Kevin Luepke

Fourteen deer were harvested during the hunt, which drew hunters from throughout Wisconsin.

"I think the hunters had fun even though it was raining the first day," Beckmann said. "These hunts provide these hunters a chance to enjoy something they love and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow hunters and the staff and volunteers who were a part of it all."

Every October, Wisconsin holds a nine-day gun deer hunt for people with disabilities. Since 2002, Fort McCoy has participated by holding a two-day hunt the first weekend of the statewide hunt, Beckmann said.

Hunters who requested support were assisted by volunteers who served as hunting assistants. The more than 40 hunting assistants included Family and friends of the hunters as well as off-duty military and civilian personnel from Fort McCoy, said Kevin Luepke, research assistant and wildlife coordinator with Colorado State University's (CSU) Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands under contract with Fort McCoy. They assisted with finding areas to hunt as well as retrieving harvested deer.

Two Tomah VA Medical Center (VAMC) inpatient veterans, Fred Lau and Bob Lambert, were among those who took part in the hunt. The two hunters had their participation logged on the Tomah VAMC Facebook page.

"Fred and Bob would like to thank the (CSU) Center for Environmental Management for Military Lands, the Fort McCoy (Directorate of Public Works) Natural Resources Branch and the Tomah VA staff for the assistance in preparation for this hunting opportunity," one post read. "All contributed a great deal of effort preparing for this past weekend. Although Fred and Bob were unable to harvest a deer, both had a great time sitting in the woods. There are numerous memories and great stories that will be shared amongst the hunters. Special thanks to Amanda (Luepke), recreation therapist, for coordinating the hunt and sitting in the blind all day."

Applications for the hunt are accepted from June through mid-September each year. Applications are submitted through the i-Sportsman website at ftmccoy.isportsman.net.

Anyone who would like to volunteer to assist hunters during future hunts should call Beckmann at 608-388-5374.

For more information about application requirements, call 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 dnr.wi.gov/permits/disabled.html.