WOOSTER, Ohio – When the members of the Wayne County chapter of the Izaak Walton League learned about a program sponsored by a chapter in Seneca County to give wheelchair-bound hunters the opportunity to go deer hunting, they knew it was worth looking into.
This year, the program will run Dec. 1-6 at property owned by the Izaak Walton League and located at 6928 Cedar Valley Road, West Salem, Ohio.
“This program gives them a chance they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said league member Lynn Welker. “There are some programs for turkey hunting, but aren’t many opportunities for hunters who are wheelchair bound to hunt deer.
“This is a whole new world for them,” he added. “They have the opportunity to be outdoors, see nature and hunt deer.”
Who’s eligible. Welker explained that the program is open to anyone who is either temporarily or permanently confined to a wheelchair.
While previous hunting experience is not required, Welker said that applicants must be able to handle their guns safely, possess an Ohio hunting license and abide by all hunting regulations.
The league has a specially designed trailer to provide transport to the hunting area before daylight and bring them back in at dusk.
They also provide a means of communication with the base station in case the hunters need assistance, food and specially designed stands for the hunters.
The chapter will hold an orientation for the hunters to familiarize them with the grounds, review hunting safety and go over their equipment to make sure that it is in safe working condition.
Special stands. Welker said the league constructed special 6-by-6 foot stands that are about 6 inches off the ground.
The stands are unheated, so the hunters need to dress in heavy clothing. Still, the felt roof, solid 3-foot sides and side curtains offer the hunters protection from the elements.
Now in its third year, the program has attracted interest from hunters in the area.
“Last year we had five people participate, and the year before we had six people,” Welker said. “We really would like to have nine people during the six-day period.” The downside, according to Welker, is the fact that none of the hunters have gotten a deer during the week.
They have worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to get permission to tag the deer for the hunters so they don’t have to take it to a tagging station to be done.
Lots of volunteer help. Welker said that between 24 and 30 league members assist with the program during the week, and the designated area is closed to other hunters during the program.
“This is a source of satisfaction for our members,” he said. “We enjoy working with these hunters, and it also gives our members a chance to socialize with each other.”
To learn more. For more information contact Roger Schrader at 330-263-6432 or John Gross at 330-201-2457. Application deadline is Nov. 8, and successful applicants will be notified by Nov. 15, with the orientation scheduled Nov. 22.
Get the details
* Izaak Walton League, Wayne County
Wheelchair-accessible deer hunt
Roger Schrader, 330-263-6432
John Gross, 330-201-2457
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