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Hunters with Disabilities Enjoy Annual Hunt on National Forests in East Texas

Posted by Ernie Murray, U.S. Forest Service, Texas in Forestry
May 12, 2021
U.S. Forest Service employees Michael Sowell (right) and Lanton Chumley plan where to locate hunter blinds. The goal is to ensure sites are accessible to accommodate hunters with varying disabilities. (U.S. Forest Service/Mandy Chumley)
U.S. Forest Service employees Michael Sowell (right) and Lanton Chumley plan where to locate hunter blinds. The goal is to ensure sites are accessible to accommodate hunters with varying disabilities. (U.S. Forest Service/Mandy Chumley)

For some people with physical limitations, being able to participate in hunting season is a distant memory. But thanks to the Angelina and Sabine national forests employees and retired agency volunteers in East Texas, a group of local hunters have an opportunity to create new memories each December as part of an annual two-day hunt.

“For the past five years, we’ve enjoyed being a part of the Angelina Wheelin’ Sportsman hunt for deer and hogs,” said Jason Engle, a district wildlife biologist for the Angelina National Forest who leads the event planning efforts for the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas. “We want to ensure these eager hunters enjoy a great hunting experience, and we’re here to help them enjoy their national forests.”

The hunt is on more than 7,000 acres of land including portions of the Angelina, the Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest, Texas Parks & Wildlife Alazan Wilderness Management Area, and private land owned by Simon Winston.

“We carefully plan where to position each hunter blind,” Engle added. “It’s more complicated when dealing with hunters who have varying disabilities so we’re trying to make sure the sites will be accessible for each hunter.”

Hunter Emily Penn beamed as she posed with her nine-point buck for a photo. Penn, who uses a walker, was carried to the deer blind on her brother’s back.

“Not only was I the only girl hunter who shot a buck, but I had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful people with physical disabilities who loved hunting and the outdoors at this event,” she said. “The volunteers were all gracious with their time and expertise. They were always ready to help me. What an incredible experience I had … I will be back next year!”

Penn and 23 other hunters participated in the event, which included instruction, transportation and plenty of food during breaks for meals. There were three opportunities for hunts, a wild game dinner and a lunch. For the program, now in its fifth year, enthusiastic supporters and many local businesses partner with the Forest Service by donating food, door prizes and other items.

National Forests and Grasslands in Texas hosts the event in partnership with the Pineywoods, Gulf Coast and April AWOL chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

UPDATE: The annual Angelina Wheelin’ Sportsmen event for people who live with a disability is usually the second weekend in December at Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest in Nacogdoches, Texas, Winston Tree Farm, about 12 miles south of Nacogdoches, and the nearby Alazon Wildlife Management Area.

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen program sponsors the two two-day deer and hog hunt along with USDA Forest Service, the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the April AWOL and Pineywoods chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Applications for the Texas Forest Service event are available beginning of October at ranger district offices in Zavalla, Hemphill, New Waverly, Kennard, and Decatur; at the Forest Supervisor’s office in Lufkin; and online: www.fs.usda.gov/texas

Applications must be received by Nov. 1:
Angelina National Forest
111 Walnut Ridge Road
Zavalla, Texas 75980

Persons with physical disabilities may apply, and there is no cost to attend. The 20 participants selected for the event must provide for their transportation, lodging, and a valid Texas hunting license. Volunteers and instructors will be available; meals are provided for participants and two guests.

For more information, call the Angelina National Forest at 936-897-1068.

For more information about Wheelin’ Sportsmen events connect with the Wild Turkey Federation.

Category/Topic: Forestry

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Comments

Suzanne Smith
Mar 31, 2014

How wonderful, killing an animal is a rewarding experience. You would think that having a disability would give one more compassion for other living things.

Abel Stonebreaker
Apr 01, 2014

Suzanne Smith, your ignorance is on display for all to see. You obviously have no knowledge of hunting and its benefits to society and wildlife.

annette wake
Nov 03, 2017

I am looking for a full facility in Texas for my wheel chair husband, who had a stroke 3 yrs. ago. He has hunted in Texas for about 40 yrs. He has not hunted for 3 yrs due to the stroke.

I need to know where to look for such a facility.

Please e-mail me.

MICHAEL E PHILLIPS
Jun 25, 2018

HOW DO I GET INVOLVED WITH THIS HUNT. I AM IN A WHEELCHAIR BUT I AM LEARNING TO WALK ON A PROSTHETIC LEG. VERY LIMITED AT THIS TIME.

Ernie Murray
Jun 26, 2018

To Michael Phillips,

The annual Angelina Wheelin’ Sportsmen Event for people with disabilities is usually the second weekend in December at Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest, Winston Tree Farm and Alazon Wildlife Management Area.

The two-day deer and hog hunt is sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen program, U.S. Forest Service, National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, April AWOL Chapter and Pineywoods Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Applications are available beginning in October at Forest Service Ranger’s offices in Zavalla, Hemphill, New Waverly, Kennard and Decatur, at the Forest Supervisor’s office in Lufkin, or online www.fs.usda.gov/texas.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 1 to:
Angelina National Forest
111 Walnut Ridge Road
Zavalla, Texas 75980

Persons with physical disabilities may apply and there is no cost to attend. Twenty participants will be drawn for the event and they must provide their own transportation, lodging and a valid Texas hunting license. Volunteers and instructors will be on hand to assist, and meals will be provided for participants and two guests.

For more information, call the ranger’s office at 936-897-1068.

Amanda Levoy
Sep 02, 2018

hello, I would like to get more info on your disable hunts.

Karen Sessum
Oct 10, 2018

Hi, I’m interested in applying for the drawing to hunt for my husband. He was an avid deer hunter from his teens to 4 years ago when he had strokes that left him with right-side weekness and aphasia. My question is this: should he make the draw, how many guests can accompany him? The website says 1, but in one of these messages here includes a response that said 2 guests. Please confirm, we have two sons who hunt and it would be nice if they could both accompany their dad should his name be drawn. Thanks so much!

Joyce El Kouarti, FS
Oct 11, 2018

According to the hunt coordinators, one individual may accompany the participating hunter on the actual hunt. However, the hunter may bring up to two guests to the group dinner, which takes place the evening prior to the hunt.

For details or more information, contact the rangers' office at 936-897-1068.

Richard Stark
Jul 14, 2019

Am disabled with multiple sclerosis, have not hunted in 15 years because of disability. How do I sign up for a hunt with you and how much is it?

Mark Coon
Jul 21, 2019

How do I get information about participating in this hunt? I'm a 100% disabled Veteran with mob and breathing issues gave up hunting 5years ago.

Chad Scott curl
Nov 07, 2019

I was wondering if y'all do hunts for people like myself with disabilities such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, mood disorder,major depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder I love to hunt I have always dreamed of going on a ranch hunt, if you can do anything for me please let me know I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks Chad

Martin Armstrong
Nov 10, 2019

My name is Martin Armstrong I'm 48 years old born and raised in lamarque Texas hunted and fished all my life a couple of years ago I became disabled and unable to walk I've been hunting and fishing my entire life and I'm looking to go hunting and fishing as I have not been able to go on my own as if I've done many years before.does anyone have any information that could help me get back in the outdoors for whitetail season and moving forward to fishing in Galveston Galveston county or surrounding counties
Thanks
Martin a Armstrong

Joyce El Kouarti
Nov 12, 2019

@ Martin Armstrong - Thanks so much for reaching out. I recommend starting with the National Forests ranger’s office at 936-897-1068, which has traditionally organized the hunt. You might also check with Pineywoods, Gulf Coast and April AWOL chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation (you can look up the individual chapters on this page: http://www.nwtf.org/about/state/texas), the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 979-846-0757, and Texas Parks and Wildlife at 800-792-1112.

I hope this helps!

Richard Stark
Nov 12, 2019

Am disabled and want to hunt, are there any openings

David J McAdoo
Sep 29, 2020

As a disabled military veteran I would Love to attend your Deer hunt this year. 65 years old paralysed from chest down but do everything for myself, live by myself, am very independent. Fish often and have Deer rifle but no where to hunt. For years have been looking for place to hunt power chair accessible. Have my own transportation. Please consider me and include me in your Deer hunt this year. I'm so excited. Thank you so very much. God Bless.

Roy Dison
Oct 20, 2020

I love to white tail hunt and have always wanted to hog hunt . I’m 62 yrs old and have back problems that make it almost impossible to walk over 50 feet at a time . I have degenerative disk disease . I’m a navy veteran, and a retired volunteer firefighter.

Chuck Perry
May 12, 2021

I am a disabled Vietnam Vet who uses a walker, but can get by with a cane. It is my intention to apply for the 2021 hunt, but have a question about bringing a harvested animal back out. Is there help available to do this?

Tony. Sosby
Jul 01, 2021

Am a double amputee lost both legs and a six-foot brush-hog accident and April 2002 looking for free hunting trips somewhere can you help thank you

Richard Stark
Aug 06, 2021

Am interested in hunting this year, where do I apply for this hunt?

Robert Sanford
Oct 01, 2021

Is this still available or canceled again

Ben Weaver
Oct 01, 2021

@Robert Sanford - thanks so much for reaching out. I recommend starting with the National Forests ranger’s office at 936-897-1068, which has traditionally organized the hunt. You might also check with Pineywoods, Gulf Coast and April AWOL chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation (you can look up the individual chapters on this page: www.nwtf.org/about/state/texas, the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 979-846-0757, and Texas Parks and Wildlife at 800-792-1112.

I hope this helps!

Mark Collier
Apr 30, 2022

Would love to do this. Hunted until I was 50 and now I am disabled at 62. Ate venison until 50 years old as our meat.

Mathew Dillon
Jun 28, 2022

I have gone hunting with my best friend for years I’ve never shot anything I’m 38 and I have a traumatic brain injury I’m limited on my balance but I can buy a hunting combo license if you and your team can help me