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2012-2013 Special Deer Hunts

Youth Hunt Profile - 512 x 285Please read below about the successful youth and full-time wheelchair user hunts held last year at Tensas River NWR.

Tensas River NWR is a major public land deer hunting destination for people from all over the state of Louisiana.  In addition to providing opportunities for the public to hunt deer throughout most of the 80,000 acres, the Refuge is also privileged to host three special hunts that take place in the Greenlea Bend area that is closed to public hunting, as it is where our wildlife drive is located.  All three of these hunts, two Youth hunts and a Wheelchair-Bound hunt, are highly anticipated throughout the season by refuge staff and the lucky participants.
On the third Saturday in September, Tensas River NWR holds  our annual Hunting and Fishing Day event, which ends with a drawing for coveted spots on guided deer hunts in the refuge’s closed area for youths ages 8-15.  The refuge holds two of these guided youth hunts each season, with refuge staff and knowledgeable volunteers serving as guides.  The purpose of these hunts is twofold.  Not only do these youths help manage deer populations within an area closed to public hunting, but more importantly these events provide opportunities to get kids excited about hunting, conservation, and our National Wildlife Refuges.  This year, hunts were held on December 27, 2012 and January 3, 2013 and kids, parents, staff, and volunteers all had a wonderful time!  Although some of these children have had prior experience deer hunting, inevitably some youths are able to harvest their first deer ever on these hunts.  In fact, for some of these children, the Tensas youth hunt is their first time ever sitting in a deer stand, and it is a memorable experience.  These hunts are also great fun for the guides who volunteer to sit with youths in addition to refuge staff.  One guide said, “Awesome experience for the guides also to see the kids faces when the deer walk out… The stand starts shaking!”  On the December hunt, a total of 15 deer were harvested, including several firsts for some of the children.  All of the youths were excellent sports and stayed tough in spite of cold temperatures.  On the second hunt in January, 16 deer were harvested and again, several lucky individuals were able to harvest their first deer ever.  Many of these young people will be at Hunting and Fishing day in September 2013, ready to enter the drawing again!
The third special hunt hosted by the Refuge is for individuals with disabilities, specifically those who are confined to a wheelchair.  This hunt is held in partnership with National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen program, which administers several of these hunts throughout the state of Louisiana during deer season.  Similar to the youth hunts, 15 participants are randomly drawn from a larger pool of applicants.  The refuge has set up box blinds throughout the closed area for use by these hunters and their helpers.  The level of volunteer support and coordination for the Wheelchair-Bound Hunt is incredible and the refuge is privileged to serve as host.  Volunteers cook breakfast and lunch for the hunters and other participants, shuttle hunters to their blinds, help them get situated and unloaded, and even help process the deer that have been harvested.  This year, the hunt was held on January 12 and a total of 5 deer were harvested.  Dillon Cotton was able to harvest his first deer ever, a 2.5 year old, 8 point buck.  “Excited” does not even begin to describe how Dillon was feeling!  He even wanted his father to strap his wheelchair onto the trailer pulled behind their truck so that he could ride with his deer.  Although he obviously didn’t get his wish for the ride home, the smile on his face certainly made the entire day worthwhile for everyone involved.  Again, a huge thanks goes out to all of the hunters, families, volunteers and refuge staff for making this such a huge success!



Page Photo Credits — Kyle Murphy and his first deer - USFWS
Last Updated: Sep 09, 2013
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