Hunting With Disabilities
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
September 14, 2013 5:29 PM
Even though pheasant hunting season doesn't start until mid-October in South Dakota, some got to try their luck a little early. It’s all thanks to a non-profit event called Sioux River Wildlife Freedom Hunt. It’s an event where more than a dozen adults living with disabilities had the opportunity to go hunting.
All afternoon, Jack Gill patiently waits for a bird to come his way.
“I would like to get my limit, and I think I will,” said Gill.
But he's not like every other hunter. The sport is something he can't do well on his own. Gill served in the Vietnam War and is a double-amputee after suffering injuries from a land mine
“It takes me a few shots before I can bring one down," said Gill.
Thanks, to handfuls of volunteers, Gill and a dozen or so others, can have a hunting experience.
"Just seeing what their daily life is like. It’s things that we don’t even give a second thought to. It’s just wonderful to give an opportunity to these guys,” said land owner, Tad Jacobs of Flandreau.
For Gill, it's not about getting his limit, but about being a part of an activity that's typically hard for him to do.
“I feel like I'm part of a whole and a part of society. They make me feel welcome," said Gill.
Volunteers say being together is what makes this event so special.
"It's just about giving back. All of us here at hunters, it's not just about shooting birds but being together and having a good time and all the wonderful sights," said Jacobs.
And the smiles after catching a good one helps too.
A non-profit organization called South Dakota Freedom Hunt hosts the annual Sioux River Wildlife Freedom Hunt. They run by donations and volunteers.
Jacobs owns the land and lets the hunters use it every year for the event.