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Mobility impaired deer hunts are once again a success

A unique partnership among private landowners, hunt clubs and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) provided individuals who are severely mobility impaired an opportunity to go deer hunting again this year at some of the most well-managed and exclusive private tracts of land in the Upstate.

SCDNR handles the publicity, application and notification processes, but the private landowners who host mobility impaired hunters on their property are providing this unique opportunity. There is no application fee or other costs to participate in these hunts.

Hunt participants at these events must meet one of three, very specific criteria: Applicants must be (1) permanently confined to a wheelchair, or (2) permanently require some type of mechanical aid (walker, braces, canes, etc.) to assist them in walking or (3) have had a single or double leg amputation. Each participant can bring someone to assist them in a non-hunting capacity and almost all hunting is conducted from ground blinds except in cases where a hunt participant may have a prosthesis and can safely climb a ladder stand. During 2016, two special two-day hunts were held at 53 host sites in Cherokee, Laurens, Newberry, Spartanburg and Union counties. Participating in the hunts were 157 hunters, and they harvested 34 deer (18 bucks and 16 does).

All hunt participants, their assistants and hosts met for bluegrass music and an outstanding barbecue lunch for the first hunt at Tyger Ranch in Union County and for the second hunt at the Clinton National Guard Armory in Laurens County. After lunch and prior to everyone dispersing to go hunting, a number of hunt participants won some very nice door prizes that included gift certificates, rifles, shotguns and various other items.

The first hunt at sites in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties on Oct. 28-29 had the following organizations and individuals hosting mobility impaired hunters on their land:
Cherokee County

Arcon Land & Timber, LLC – Wayne & Judy Cooper
Cedar Ridge Hunt Club – Dan White
Spartanburg County
Atchley Farm – Corey Bridgeman (Bill Burton)
Booger Den Hunt Club – Larry Cook
Campbell Property – Harold Campbell
Cross Anchor Farm – Bob Sweeney
Cross Anchor Hunt Club – Darrell Merchant
Four T’s Hunt Club – Steve Pettit
Gordon Farms – John W. Floyd
Hacker Creek Hunt Club– John Montgomery
Jimmie’s Creek Farm – Wayne Barnes (Stewart Johnson)
Little Tyger Hunt Club – Wayne High
Magnolia – Hunter West (George D. Johnson, Jr.)
Police Hunt Club – Curtis Stacy
Riverside Hunt Club – Sam Shackelford, III
Tri G Gun Club – Dr. George Graham
Weir Property – Dr. David Weir

Union County

Allen Farm – John Odell
Beulah Creek Hunt Club – Ron Roberts
Brown Property – Austin Payne
Chufa Ridge Farm – Bob Jeter
Delta South WMA – Steve Cobb
Fairforest Timber Company – Frank Sistare
Fowken Farm – Kegan Roberts (Norris Fowler)
Hickory Hills Hunt Club – Gordy Darby
Laura Lyn Farm – Steve Koskela
Pea Ridge Hunt Club – Ty Cheek
Rabbit Road Hunt Club – John Carson (Donnie Loftis)
Stone Property – Steven Stone
Triangle 113 Hunt Club – Walter Oates
Trophy Buck Hunt Club – Terry Shockley
Tyger Ranch – Hunter West (George D. Johnson, Jr.)

Hosts accommodating hunters at sites in Laurens and Newberry counties during the second hunt on Nov. 4-5 included the following individuals and organizations:

Laurens County

Benjamin Property – Ricky Childers
Blackmon Farm – Charles Blackmon
Buckhorn Farms – Mrs. Jackie Burns
Farmer Property – John Farmer
Indian Creek Hunt Club – Jim Watson
Moses and Milan – Dale Moses
Pacolet Milliken Enterprises – Danny Roach
Pitts Place – Wade Pitts
Quaker Creek Farm – Dr. Wallace Boyd
Ramage Property – Dr. Gus Ramage
Red Oak Hunt Club – Stan Schoemer
Southern Timber Associates – Steve Frantz
The Clinton House Plantation – Mike Johnson (Chris Grant)
Triple S Hunt Club – Dave Schemm
Woollen Farm – Dr. Claude Woollen

Newberry County

Belfast Hunt Club – John McCauley
Belfast WMA – Gary Stephens
Lester Estate – Terry Cotney
Mudlick Lodge – Mr. & Mrs. Roy Jones

The Scott Place (TCA Timberlands) – Otis Taylor The Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund has been the primary financial sponsor of these events since the first of these hunts in 1995. The Wounded Warrior Project and the Upstate Warrior Solution in Greenville has helped to get a number of severely mobility impaired servicemen injured in combat within Iraq or Afghanistan to attend these special events. Outdoor activities such as hunting can provide immense physical and psychological benefits to injured service people as they transition back into civilian life as well as to other individuals who as a result of an illness or accident are forced to adjust to a new lifestyle that drastically restricts their mobility.

“Another very important benefit of these events is the opportunity for the hunt participants to develop friendships and fellowship among others who have similar disabilities and to get together and compare notes on the latest gadgets and specialized equipment that may allow them to better adapt to their mobility impairment,” said Gerald Moore, SCDNR wildlife biologist in Union. “It is certainly a great opportunity for mobility impaired sportsmen to continue or to get involved once again in an activity such as deer hunting in spite of their physical limitations. Interested mobility impaired persons are encouraged to apply for these hunts.”

Applications for the 2017 Upstate hunts will be available in early summer, but you can contact the Union DNR office at anytime to get your name on the mailing list for an application. Information about becoming a host is also available from the Union DNR Office. The office address is Union DNR Office, 124 Wildlife Drive, Union, SC 29379 and the telephone number is (864) 427-5140. An application can also be downloaded in the early summer from the DNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/mobilityhunt.