Deer Hunts for the Mobility Impaired

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Mobility impaired hunters will be treated to a unique opportunity to attend a special deer hunt again this year on 16 private tracts of land in Laurens, Newberry, Spartanburg and Union counties.

These special hunts are co-sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) but will be hosted by Belfast Hunt Club, TCA International Inc., Quaker Creek Farm, Pitts Place, Mudlick, Woollen Farm, Carroll Hunt Club, Southern Timber Associates, Campbell Property, Blackmon Farm, BD Properties, Weir Farm, Cowford Land Co., The Clinton House Plantation, Thomason Farm and Beulah Creek Hunt Club. The Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, International Paper Co. and the South Carolina Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers Association support the event financially and provide personnel assistance during the hunt.

Applications for this special hunt, scheduled for Nov. 5-6, are available from: Clemson DNR Office, 153 Hopewell Road, Pendleton, SC 29670, telephone (864) 654-1671, extension 24; DNR Columbia office, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, telephone (803) 734-3886; or they can be downloaded from the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.sc.us. Completed applications must be received at the Clemson DNR office by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 to be eligible.

This popular hunt will consist of hunting on both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, Nov. 5-6. All participants will be invited to a barbecue lunch at Quaker Creek Farm at noon on Friday prior to the hunts. Although lodging is available at certain hunt sites, private funding has been obtained to assist in providing motel rooms for those individuals who really need them. After the Saturday morning hunt, all participants are invited for a noon lunch and participation in an afternoon of shooting sporting clays at The Clinton House Plantation.

Applicants for these hunts are restricted to persons who are severely mobility impaired and include those who are permanently confined to a wheelchair, persons permanently requiring the use of mechanical aids (walker, braces, etc.) to walk, or persons with complete single or double leg amputations. Each hunter may be accompanied by one other person who can participate in a non-hunting capacity.

Gerald Moore, DNR wildlife biologist in Union, said: "Aside from the opportunity to hunt deer on well-managed and exclusive properties, another important benefit of these events will be the opportunity for friendship and fellowship among those who have similar disabilities. We are pleased to cooperate with the various hosts and sponsors of these hunts in assisting those people who are able to take definite steps to pursue their outdoor interests in spite of their disabilities."

Moore encourages all qualified mobility impaired persons interested in hunting to apply. "Since these hunts are on private land and not public Wildlife Management Areas, a WMA permit is not required and there will not be an application fee. It is certainly a great opportunity, and all mobility impaired sportsmen and sportswomen should try to take advantage of it."