SAVANNA, Ill. — Hail, drenching rains and howling winds may have dampened the spirits but not the enthusiasm of 35 hunters and their assistants that participated in the special deer hunt for sportsmen with disabilities held Saturday and Sunday at the Lost Mound Unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Quadriplegics, paraplegics, amputees and other physically challenged hunters harvested 26 deer that included 18 does and eight bucks. The largest buck, an atypical 12 pointer with a field dressed weight of 171 pounds, was taken by Floyd Kempfer, from southern Illinois.
Hunters from Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota and Illinois participated in the hunt.
Wildlife Refuge Manager Ed Britton deemed the event a success.
“Success is attributed to the high quality hunting experience and to partnerships,” Britton said. “The southern Illinois-based ‘Seasons of Hope’ non-profit organization has provided many disabled hunters the opportunity to participate at Lost Mound.”
Terry, a quadriplegic from Ohio, participated in the hunt with his specially mounted gun. He was shot in a drive-by shooting, but maneuvers his specially mounted gun on target by manipulating a controller box with his chin. When a deer is in the crosshairs, he blows through a tube to engage an electronic trigger to fire the shotgun.
Lost Mound Site Manager Alan Anderson is looking forward to the program’s continued success.
“It is a unique hunting experience by a special group of sportsmen,” Anderson said. “Their daily challenges of life were overshadowed by the enthusiasm and determination for deer hunting. They provided both inspiration and encouragement to the staff and volunteers that administered the hunt.”