Special To: The Outdoor Wire September 19, 2008
For Immediate Release For additional information,
Contact:Bob Delfay 860-417-6197
Hunting Heritage Trust Helps Remove Barriers
To Hunts for Disabled Veterans
The Hunting Heritage Trust, at the request of disabled veteran's advocates, has helped win approval of a resolution encouraging state wildlife agencies to identify and remove regulatory barriers to disabled veteran participation in supervised hunts.
The resolution, drafted by the Hunting Heritage Trust and approved by the Executive Committee of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) on September 10, 2008, is intended to address a situation whereby disabled veterans are not able to participate in supervised hunting activities if they had not received formal hunter safety certification.
The resolution reads, in part, "WHEREAS, increased numbers of U.S. military servicemen and women have been and are being wounded and disabled in International conflicts; and WHEREAS, it has been demonstrated that participation in supervised hunting activity has proven successful in enhancing the mental and physical rehabilitation of these disabled veterans; and WHEREAS, a major obstacle to participation in these supervised hunts can be the lack of previous hunter education by these disabled veterans; and WHEREAS, careful supervision of hunt participants is a key component of hunts organized for disabled veterans. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that state fish and wildlife agencies are respectfully encouraged to consider implementing suitable methods of removing barriers to participation by disabled veterans, such as apprentice permits, and special authorizations, temporary exemptions, on-line hunter education, or other appropriate regulations and controls.
Lew Deal, a retired Marine Officer who works with various veterans groups, had contacted the Hunting Heritage Trust for assistance after he had taken several disabled veterans to a special hunt only to learn that the vets could not participate because they had not received formal hunter education training.
"We certainly recognize the importance and the proven effectiveness of hunter education, but these are adults who had carried firearms on behalf of their nation and they would have been hunting with supervision. It just seemed that some exceptions could be made," Deal commented. "I contacted Bob Delfay at the Hunting Heritage Trust to ask for suggestions on how we might address the problem. The next thing I knew, Bob had drafted a resolution and received expressions of support from leaders in the state fish and wildlife community. On behalf of disabled vets, we are highly grateful to the Hunting Heritage Trust and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies for their quick action to address this problem."
Bob Delfay, President of the Hunting Heritage Trust, commented "We are pleased to have played a small role in this immensely important effort to provide hunting opportunity to our disabled veterans. We certainly want to thank Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the AFWA and the members of the AFWA for their prompt and promising response to this issue.