LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A partnership between state and city organizations gave some deer hunters a chance to get out in the woods Saturday that they wouldn't have had otherwise.
La Crosse's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department teamed up with North American Squirrel Association, Badger State Sportsman Club and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to create a controlled dear hunt at Hixon Forest for people with physical disabilities.
Among the hunters, Richard Burch.
Although Burch returned from the hunt empty-handed, he considers himself lucky just for being part of the Wisconsin hunting tradition.
"I was raised hunting. Then with all the problems that I had, I can't get out there as much," he said. "But with these guys, if you can't get out there, they'll take you out there."
The program brought 18 hunters into the woods. Each hunter had a mentor who helped clear spots, make shooting lanes, and collect the deer once it's shot.
"A lot of these guys have stopped hunting. They may have hunted when they were younger and stuff like that. They've stopped hunting because they feel like they can't get out there but partnering them up with a mentor, you know, it's a safe way to do it," said Ron Lichtie, DNR wildlife biologist.
Organizers managed the hunt differently than a typical deer gun hunt. Hunters stood in a special location and there were special shooting lanes.
Hixon Forest is also closed to the general hunter. But Lichtie said there's such an over population of deer there, the hunt was, in part, helping the environment.
"For us to get permission to hunt it is great for somebody how we are," Burch said. "Some people say we're handicapped. Some people say we're just people."
This special deer hunt will also take place Sunday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.