A deer hunt is planned for Saturday aimed at providing people with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors — and maybe bring home a deer.
Hosted by the Tri County Ridgerunners, the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the “Wheelin’ Sportsmen” deer hunt pairs participants with volunteer guides at various spots throughout the county and beyond.
“The ‘Wheelin’ Sportsman’ program was developed by the NWTF to reach people with disabilites who maybe have to have help to do things in the woods,” said Lee Freeman, president of the chapter.
Several Wheelin’ Sportsmen events are held locally throughout the year, including fishing and wild turkey hunts as well as the annual deer hunt.
“Teamwork makes the dreams work,” said Freeman, noting that the program is offered nationwide.
“It’s really a neat deal,” he said. “This might be the only time the participants get to hunt all year long.”
With about 23 participants already registered, there are several spots open for more hunters who want to participate.
“We are also always looking for people interested in volunteering to help cleaning and skinning the deer, or providing a hunting spot,” Freeman said. “That’s always critical to making the event the best it can be.”
No hunting experience is necessary for participants.
“It’s fully guided,” Freeman said. “If they need a gun, we’ll get them a gun. We’ve got blinds set up.”
Freeman noted one feature of the hunt is a special shooting apparatus where a hunter sucks into a straw to pull the gun’s trigger.
A waiver from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission allows participants to hunt without a license and with a rifle if desired.
Hunters meet at the Union Cross Ruritan Club around 4:30 a.m. After breakfast, hunters and guides will head out for a morning hunt, return for lunch, and head back out in the afternoon.
At the end of the day, any deer harvested will be measured for a big doe and big buck contest. All participants will receive a gift and all meals are provided.
“All they’ve got to do is show up and do the shooting,” Freeman said.
The only thing not guaranteed is bringing home a deer.
“You never know,” Freeman said. “Saturday is supposed to be an awesome day so we’ll wait and see what the good Lord has in store.”
Anyone interested in participating or volunteering should call Freeman at 336-244-4430.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.