Area's First Accessible Deer Hunt Planned for October

Updated: August 09, 2019 06:33 PM

Deer hunting is a beloved tradition in the Northland. But not everyone can enjoy the woods, because of access issues.


Jeff Christian, from Pengilly, has loved going out since he was 12 years old. "It's serene. You're alone with your thoughts."

A few years ago, he said he acquired a disability. But it didn't keep him out of the deer stand. "I'm lucky enough to keep hunting. And I want to make sure other people enjoy access to the outdoors."

He's on the board of Access North, out of Hibbing. They are hosting the area's first Accessible Deer Hunt at McCarthy Beach State Park.

It's a two-day event, starting Friday, October 25th. Don Brunette, Executive Director of Access North, said the idea was inspired by an accessible hunt out in the western part of the state. "We are putting out a call for hunters. You don't have to have experience. You can be any age. We have women volunteers who want to help women hunters," he said. Eight hunters have already expressed interest.

The park manager explained that this will help them, too. "The deer population has really exploded. There has been an increase in deer-car collisions, and the vegetation has been reduced to ground level," Dawn Ryan told us. "Plus, the park has really worked hard at being accessible for everyone."

Base camp will be at the nearby Side Lake Community Center. Volunteers will bring the hunters to their designated sites, and then back for meals.

"It will be like the deer camp experience. People will come back and share their stories. It's going to be fun!" Christian added.

They are also seeking donations and volunteers. "You don't have to be a hunter to volunteer. We need people to help us register hunters, and serve food," Christian said.

They will be able to accommodate 10 hunters. "But we hope to grow that number in the coming years," Brunette said.

Please call Patty at Access North at 218-262-6675 to get on a waiting list. Applications will be going out this month. You must have a documented disability and possess a valid Minnesota deer hunting license to participate.

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