Minnesota has Camp Ripley.
In Wisconsin, it’s Fort McCoy — and Field of Dreams and Challenge the Outdoors and more than 70 other organizations/landowners who already have helped make this year’s gun deer hunt for those with disabilities a success.
Even as registration for the event is just beginning.
The hunt, run by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource, is scheduled Oct. 1-9, and interested hunters have until Sept. 1 to contact a land sponsor and sign up.
And no matter where you are or where would like to hunt in Wisconsin, opportunities are plentiful thanks to 75 organizations/landowners who have enrolled nearly 77,000 acres of land across 42 counties for this special hunt.
Top land sponsors include Fort McCoy with 23,900 acres around the military training center in Monroe County — nearly a third of the sponsors’ total — followed by Field of Dreams Disabled Hunt Program with 4,201 acres in Barron County around Rice Lake and Challenge the Outdoors with 3,089 acres in Shawano County around Green Bay. And, overall, organizations and individual landowners have offered up property most anywhere you’ll find deer in Wisconsin.
“We are thrilled with the number of sponsors that are willing to provide opportunities for our hunters,” Derek Johnson, DNR assistant big game ecologist, said in a release announcing the deadline and particulars of the event. “Giving hunters access to 77,000 acres of land is instrumental in making this unique opportunity a success and continuing Wisconsin’s deer hunting traditions.”
Like Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, Minn., Fort McCoy is an expansive military training center. But the successful Ripley hunts — this year’s deer hunt is scheduled Oct. 4-5, or in the middle of the Wisconsin hunt — understandably are for disabled veterans only.
To be eligible for the Wisconsin hunt, participants must possess a valid Class A or Class B long-term permit that allows shooting from a vehicle, or a Class C or Class D disabled hunting permit. Eligible hunters also must possess a Wisconsin gun deer license.
According to the DNR, hunters or their hunting assistants should contact sponsors directly to sign up for a hunt. (A list of sponsors with land locations and contact information can be found at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/documents/DisabledSponsors.pdf.) Interested hunters must provide their name, contact information and DNR customer ID number.
The DNR also noted that it’s important for hunters to know that some properties are better able to accommodate larger numbers of hunters than others. Smaller properties may only support the minimum number of three hunters and participants are advised to contact potential sponsors as early as possible to determine if space is available.
For more information on the hunt, go to http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/disdeer.html.
For the 2016 Camp Ripley Disabled Veterans Deer Hunt, applications will be accepted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1. For more information, go to http://www.mnlegion.org/html/deer-hunt.html or www.minnesotanationalguard.org/camp_ripley/specialfeatures/hunting.php or www.facebook.com/CampRipleyVeteransOutdoorPrograms.