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14th Annual Rydell NWR Accessible Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities
Midwest Region, October 10, 2009
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Hunter Allen Chesley with a fine doe harvested from the refuge during the 2009 Refuge Accessible Hunt. 
-FWS Photo
Hunter Allen Chesley with a fine doe harvested from the refuge during the 2009 Refuge Accessible Hunt.

-FWS Photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Hunter Dale Williams(l) with Refuge volunteer and hunting mentor Bob Dibb during the 2009  Refuge Accessible Hunt. 
-FWS Photo
Hunter Dale Williams(l) with Refuge volunteer and hunting mentor Bob Dibb during the 2009  Refuge Accessible Hunt.

-FWS Photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Volunteer mentor Dan Johnson(l) sighting in the rifle for hunter Carey McWilliams, who is blind.
-FWS Photo 
Volunteer mentor Dan Johnson(l) sighting in the rifle for hunter Carey McWilliams, who is blind.

-FWS Photo 

- Photo Credit: n/a

Chilly weather and early-season snowfall was not enough to discourage eighteen hunters from participating in the 14th annual Rydell National Wildlife Refuge Accessible Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities. Coordinated through Options Resource Center for Independent Living, an advocacy group seeking to provide independent living opportunities for people with disabilities, the three day hunt attracted hunters from throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. Hunters with disabilities ranging from degenerative and nerve disorders, learning disabilities, blindness and mobility impairments participated in the hunt.  

Accessibility for all people is an essential goal for all types of wildlife dependant recreation on Rydell National Wildlife Refuge.  The diverse habitats and accessible facilities and trail system throughout the Refuge provided a quality hunting experience.  Wheelchair accessible hunting platforms were provided for those with limited mobility and tent blinds were set up for other hunters to provide protection from the elements.  

Over 30 refuge volunteers who included Options staff, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association members, and members of the Grand Forks air force base were on hand to provide assistance for the hunt.  Volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours to ensure a successful hunt. Volunteers cooked meals, mentored hunt participants, and transported hunters to and from hunting stand.  Wheelchair-accessible ATV trailers provided by the Refuge were used to transport hunters. Of the eighteen hunters who were able to participate, six harvested a deer.  The combination of volunteer support, camaraderie, as well as positive attitudes made all aspects of the 2009 Accessible Hunt at the refuge an overwhelming success.

You can check out more photos and find additional information about the Accessible Hunt at the new wikispaces site set up by refuge volunteer and Options staff member Corey Birkholz at http://options-rydellrefugedeerhunt.wikispaces.com/.  This site provides an avenue for hunters, volunteers, and other interested partners to find facts, forms, dates, and a multitude of interesting and useful information about the yearly event.


Contact Info: Juancarlos Giese, 401-364-9124 Est. 18, juancarlos_giese@fws.gov
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