Hunting Innovations for Wounded Warriors
August 22, 2011
MILAN, Tenn. -- Wounded veterans may no longer serve in any war, but some continue to face their personal battles for years at home. Each day, these warriors fight to live as normally as possible, against pains and disabilities that threaten their lifestyles.
To combat this threat, many programs throughout the United States have established outlets for wounded Soldiers to continue enjoying recreational activities with improved convenience. Milan Army Ammunition Plant operates such a program to offer disabled veterans the opportunity to hunt on the installation.
Scott Cannedy, a quadriplegic veteran, suffered a spinal cord injury due to an exploding grenade while serving on a classified mission in Lebanon during the early 1980s. The mission has since been declassified. On August 22, Cannedy visited MLAAP and shared his testimony with MLAAP commander Lt. Col. Norbert A. Fochs.
During an April, 2011, turkey hunt on the installation, Cannedy bagged a 20-pound gobbler using a specially-designed shooting apparatus called the Liberator, as featured in Ted Nugent's television program Spirit of the Wild on the Outdoor Channel. This machine is engineered to allow Cannedy to maneuver the shotgun with his head and shoulders, just as he steers his mobilized chair.
Dr. Tim Agee, president of the local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter, who witnessed Cannedy's shot, said, "I've been turkey hunting for over 30 years, and seeing him shoot that turkey was one of the most exciting experiences I've had."
In Agee's opinion, Cannedy's hunting success could not be possible without the Liberator and the partnership between NWTF Wheeling Sportsmen program, which is a concentration of disabled hunters, and the MLAAP accessible hunting program.
Steve Stephenson, the forester and director of the hunting program at MLAAP, stated, "We currently provide three blinds for disabled veterans that were constructed by University of Tennessee Experiment Station."
These blinds, designed to be wheelchair accessible, are placed in convenient locations around the plant for easy vehicle-to-blind transport. The blinds also sit in highly-frequented areas for turkey, deer, and other game.
Of more than 22,000 acres, 18,000 are available for hunting. This hunting area is divided into 38 zones, which can be assigned to individual hunters and groups.
Veterans who are considered at least 80 percent disabled can receive free installation hunting permits through MLAAP's program. Veterans who are 50 percent disabled may purchase permits to hunt on the installation.
To date, MLAAP has hosted two wounded warrior hunts, one for deer and one for turkey, which were sponsored by the Cocks Danuiels Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1848, and the National Wild Turkey Federation, respectively.
As interest in these hunts increases, Stephenson explains, "There are currently plans to increase the number of blinds for disabled veterans."
Information about MLAAP's hunting program, including regulations, requirements, and statistics can be found at http://www.milanarsenalhunting.com.