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Hunters Overcome Physical Challenges
Midwest Region, November 11, 2012
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Charlie Ande from Sun Prairie, Wis. proudly shows off his trophy buck.
Charlie Ande from Sun Prairie, Wis. proudly shows off his trophy buck. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Terry Greenwood from Cortland, OH aims his gun sights with a chin controller and blows through a tube to electronically fire his shotgun.
Terry Greenwood from Cortland, OH aims his gun sights with a chin controller and blows through a tube to electronically fire his shotgun. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Scott Hansen from Muskego WI harvested a nice trophy buck.
Scott Hansen from Muskego WI harvested a nice trophy buck. - Photo Credit: USFWS

A special deer hunt for physically challenged sportsmen was held at the Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge on November 10 and 11, 2012. Forty hunters and their assistants were treated to the hunt of a lifetime. Field surveys showed the deer population was high and the rutting season was in high gear.

Twenty-three deer were harvested that included 16 does and 7 bucks.This special hunt began in 2007 and is held one week prior to Illinois’ First Firearms Deer Season. A medical disability is required. The hunt is conducted in areas closed to public hunting due to the ongoing environmental cleanup effort at this former military installation, the Savanna Army Depot. This hunt has gained national attention. This year, hunters travelled from 10 states that included Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia and Illinois.

Wildlife Refuge Manager Ed Britton stated, “Success is attributed to the high quality hunting experience and to partnerships. The Southern Illinois based Seasons of Hope organization has provided many physically challenged hunters the opportunity to participate at Lost Mound.”

Charlie Ande from Sun Prairie, Wis., killed the largest deer, an 8 point buck with a field dressed weight of 202 pounds. Ande has multiple sclerosis and hunts from a wheelchair. His hunting partner was Colonel Joseph Tirone, the last installation commander of the Savanna Army Depot that closed in 2000. Colonel Tirone recently transferred to the Rock Island Arsenal.

It was a special welcome home present for Colonel Tirone to assist in harvest of the largest deer taken. An intriguing part of the hunt was the personal challenges of the hunters that included paraplegics, quadriplegics and amputees. One hunter, a quadriplegic, maneuvered his specially mounted gun on target by manipulating a controller box with his chin. When a deer was in the crosshairs, he blew through a tube to engage an electronic trigger to fire the shotgun. Lost Mound Site Manager Alan Anderson was excited about the continued success of this program and stating, “It was a high quality hunting experience by a special group of sportsmen. Their daily challenges of life were overshadowed by the enthusiasm and determination for deer hunting. They provided both inspiration and encouragement to the staff and volunteers that administered the hunt.”

All hunters were provided a free box of copper shotgun slugs prior to the hunt and were encouraged to use this non-toxic ammunition. This voluntary program was initiated to reduce the potential for lead poisoning in bald eagles that scavenge on the 'offal' or gut piles that are left in the field. Scientific studies have shown that lead fragmentation may occur when a lead slug enters a deer. Small amounts of lead may be deadly when ingested by bald eagles. The copper ammunition was provided under partnership by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Bird Conservancy and Saving Our Avian Resources. The disabled and youth deer hunts will be held at Lost Mound again next year. If you are interested in more information on these special hunts, contact the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge office at 815-273-2732. 


Contact Info: Ed Britton, 815-273-2732 ext 11, ed_britton@fws.gov



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