Mobility-impaired hunters will be treated to an opportunity to attend two special deer hunts this year on about 60 well-managed and exclusive, private tracts of land in the Upstate. The hunts are scheduled for Oct. 24-25 in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties and on Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in Laurens and Newberry counties.

Applicants can apply for one or both hunts. There is no application fee or other costs associated with these hunts. Each hunt will consist of a noon lunch and hunting on Friday afternoon and Saturday mornings. After the noon lunch on Friday, all participants will then disperse to their assigned hunt sites.

Applications for these special hunts are available from S.C. Department of Natural Resources offices in Union (864-427-5140) and Columbia (803-734-3886); applications can be downloaded from the SCDNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/mobilityhunt. Completed applications must be received at the SCDNR’s Union office, 124 Wildlife Dr. Union, 29379, by Monday, Sept. 15.

These hunts are co-sponsored by SCDNR, which will handle the application process, notification of successful hunters and other correspondence. A number of very generous landowners and managers will accommodate hunters on their properties this year during these special hunts. Additional hosts may be added before the hunts. Other co-sponsors include: the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Georgia Pacific, Carolina's Fence Association, South Carolina Disabled Sportsmen, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Sprinkle Prosthetics, the USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment, South Carolina Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers Association and SCDNR’s Take One Make One program. There are also a significant number of volunteers whose individual personal assistance is vital to the success of these events.

Applicants must be persons who are permanently and severely mobility impaired. These include only those who are permanently confined to a wheelchair, persons permanently requiring the use of a mechanical aid (walker. braces, cane, etc.) to walk, or persons with complete single or double leg amputations.  Each hunter may be accompanied by one other person who can participate in a non-hunting capacity. At each of the hunts, some severely injured and permanently mobility impaired servicemen and servicewomen will be accommodated in cooperation with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Gerald Moore, an SCDNR wildlife biologist in Union, said: "Aside from the opportunity to hunt deer on some of the most well-managed and exclusive properties in the Upstate, another important benefit of these events is the opportunity to develop friendships and fellowship among those who have similar disabilities. We are pleased to cooperate with the various hosts and sponsors of these hunts in assisting those people who are able to take definite steps to pursue their outdoor interests in spite of their disabilities."