The November 2017 deer hunt for disabled veterans in Olmsted County’s Chester Woods Park, was another huge success. The collaborative effort led and organized by the DAV MN Mayo Southeast Chapter 28, Olmsted County Veterans Service Office and the Olmsted County Parks / Olmsted County Public Works provided a very unique experience for disabled veterans . More than 60 individuals, organizations, and businesses support this effort. The deer hunt was started in 2011 and has grown considerably over the last 7 years.
- In 2011 9 disabled veterans participated
- In 2012 11 disabled veterans and 4 dependents participated
- In 2013 28 disabled veterans and 12 dependents participated
- In 2014 30 disabled veterans and 15 dependents participated
- In 2015 29 disabled veterans and 10 dependents participated
- In 2016 27 disabled veterans and 10 dependents participated
- And this year, 2017, 28 disabled veterans and 15 dependents participated.
The participants in the hunt must have a service –connected disability and/or a purple heart to be eligible and the hunt is open to all veterans regardless of their place of residence. Participants can also include a dependent in the hunt. Two track chairs (all-terrain track chairs designed for disabled ) with trailers were purchased for the event , thanks to the generosity of donors and supporting organizations. These chairs are available to the disabled visitors to the parks throughout the year.
The event is fortunate to have many volunteers and supporters that are key to the success. Tom Eckdahl, Park Supervisor for Chester Woods stated ” This hunt has grown over the 7 years and not only provides a very unique hunting opportunity for the disabled veterans and their dependents, but it brings together a very generous team of sponsors, coordinators, and volunteers to make it happen”. He provided a list of of the “make it happen team”
- 70 sponsors
- 9 meat cutters
- 2 photographers
- 45 volunteers
- And 360 hours of volunteer time !
” 28 disabled veterans and 15 dependents harvested 17 deer from the park,… a 40% success rate ” said Jennifer Shumaker, one of three Olmsted County CVSOs involved.
DAV Chapter 28 Commander Harry Kerr stated “we look forward to another great event in November of 2018!! “