Mobility impaired hunters will be treated to a unique opportunity to attend two special deer hunts this year on more than 60 well-managed and exclusive, private tracts of land in the Upstate. The hunts are scheduled for Oct. 23-24 in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties, and on Oct. 30-31 in Laurens and Newberry counties. Applications are being accepted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources through Sept. 14.

Applicants can apply for one or both hunts. There is no application fee or other costs associated with these hunts, which will consist of a noon lunch and hunting on Friday afternoon and Saturday mornings. After the lunch on Friday, all participants will leave for stand sites.

Applications for these hunts are available from the SCD NR offices in Union (864-427-5140) of Columbia (803-734-3886). Applications can be downloaded from www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting/mobilityhunt.html. Completed applications must be received at the SCDNR office in Union by 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14.

These special hunts are co-sponsored by SCDNR, which will handle the application process, notification of successful hunters and other correspondence. Landowners and managers will accommodate hunters on their properties during the hunts.

Applicants for these hunts are carefully screened and are restricted to persons who are permanently and severely mobility impaired, permanently confined to a wheelchair, persons permanently requiring the use of a mechanical aid 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. This year 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. Additional information about the Wounded Warrior Project is available from its website at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

"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,” said Gerald Moore, an SCDNR wildlife biologist in Union. “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 despite their disabilities."

Moore encourages all qualified mobility impaired persons interested in hunting to apply.

"It is certainly a great opportunity, and all interested sportsmen and sportswomen who are mobility impaired should try to take advantage of it," he said.