$460,000 raised for WRD’s Adaptive Hunting and Fishing Program – Georgia Outdoor News
There is a new push within WRD that will create hunting and fishing opportunities for those with mobility challenges. The state program received a big boost in donations during the DNR’s Wildlife Weekend fundraiser for the Sea Island Wildlife Conservation Division last weekend.
Event-goers heard Saturday night from DNR employee Chip Maddren about his dream of seeing Georgia expand hunting and fishing opportunities for those with mobility disabilities. “His story has raised more than $460,000 from a direct appeal to support DNR Expands Adaptive Hunting and Fishing Program.”
Over the past few years, Chip, a brain cancer survivor, has worked to lay the foundation for a program that will provide outdoor opportunities and equipment for those dealing with mobility challenges.
“Last year we did one (adapted deer) hunt, and this year we’re looking to do three hunts and a hunting event and grow year after year and throughout the state,” DNR Deputy Commissioner Trevor Santos said.
The sky seems to be the limit as to where adaptive hunting and fishing opportunities can take place and who can participate in them.
“We want to reach all parts of the state because we have people who can take advantage of these opportunities, whether we do it on public or private land,” Santos said. “We realize that public-private partnerships are critical. We also realize that there are companies that want to support these efforts. Another state agency has asked to come meet with us to see what kind of role they can play. We will look at hospitals around the state that can deploy This information is for people leaving rehab and looking for those outside opportunities and what we can offer as a country.
One of the largest expenses in developing software of this type will be equipment costs. The DNR currently has eight motion-tracking chairs, which can cost up to $28,000 each. These all-terrain wheelchairs feature rubber tracks and the ability to overcome a variety of obstacles. Using these vehicles allows participants to better navigate the woods and outdoor situations.
“Chip’s Trackchair stands him up, so he can show the audience standing in his chair on the podium when he spoke at Weekend For Wildlife,” said Lacy Creech, communications director for WRD. “The majority of states in the country are trying to provide access to people, but what Chip hopes is that Georgia can lead the nation in providing access to people. The hope is not only to provide chairs, but also to provide technical equipment, such as swing arms and trigger pulls, that It can help these hunters succeed in the field.
Chip doesn’t just hunt deer, so his vision for the new program — along with the WRD program — certainly doesn’t stop at blinding deer. There have already been talks of a fishing event, turkey hunting, and even dove, waterfowl and quail hunting as the program grows. WRD will be looking to fill a full-time position to help facilitate the program which will provide hands-on education and opportunity for those interested in participating.
“We can open our arms and say, ‘Here we are, come join us,’ but I think that’s the encouragement we also need to give to these people to say, ‘Come on out, we’ve taken care of you,'” Santos said. “There’s a lot of Barriers associated with participating in fishing in the first place. You have some mobility disabilities, and sometimes the barriers are too big to overcome, so we want to play that role in removing some of those barriers and encouraging people to come out and join us, and all they need to do is just show that. higher.”
Although still in its infancy, if you would like to inquire more about WRD’s new adaptive hunting and fishing program, contact Lacey Creech at 706.557.3324
The Weekend For Wildlife event held February 2-3, which provided Chip the opportunity to share his vision, celebrated its 36th anniversary and raised a record $3 million for WRD’s Wildlife Conservation Division.
“This department does important work related to non-game species in our state,” said DNR Commissioner Walter Rabon. “It was a weekend filled with education and fundraising for a great cause. Attendees participated in a range of trips led by DNR staff, and had the opportunity to see and learn first-hand from our wildlife professionals.”
“Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp addressed the Saturday evening crowd and ultimately helped raise significant dollars for conservation efforts. We are grateful for their continued support and commitment to Wildlife Weekend.
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