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Hunters with disabilities take to the woods this week for gun deer season

Posted at 5:59 AM, Oct 05, 2021

WISCONSIN (NBC 26) - The gun deer hunt season for hunters with disabilities kicked off this weekend so expect to see some blaze orange on private property in the week ahead. This year the DNR estimates there are over 90 property owners in the state of Wisconsin who offer up their land to folks with disabilities; to give them a shot at a buck of a lifetime." Everybody that is a part of it, it's always a great time. They always love it," says Hess.

"I got a book on my desk with the names of all the hunters we've had. There is probably a good 30 to 40 hunters in there," says Gene Wenzlaff a volunteer mentor with Toms and Tails for Kids Hunt Club.

Wenzlaff's non-profit helps organize the week-long hunt in Fond du Lac County. He teams up mentors with folks who have disabilities in an effort to give them a memory they won't forget anytime soon.

"When he gets a deer, he gets so excited he darn near jumps out of his wheelchair. I'm not kidding and it brings tears to your eyes, it really does. It's such a wonderful thing to do, to get these people a chance like this to get that opportunity," adds Wenzlaff.

The state-run program relies on volunteers who are willing to share their experience and love of the outdoors with strangers. But those who are involved say it's an easy sell to share their time in the field with folks who are so appreciative.

"it's one of the things they always look forward to. I myself, same thing. I look forward to this more than my own hunting," says Brandon Hess of the Badger Mining Corporation who has organized a disabled person's hunt for over 20 years.

Hess of Green Lake County has been volunteering with the hunt for over 15 years. He says it's a hunt he's come to realize would be nearly impossible to accomplish without hunters being willing to offer up their time.

"It would be very challenging. A lot of obstacles that guys like us probably take for granted," adds Hess.

The Wisconsin deer hunt is something many in the badger state look forward to every year, and thanks to volunteers willing to share their passion with others more and more people are getting that experience.