PINE RIVER — Imagine exploring the woods and fields on a crisp September weekend. Perhaps there is a faithful pointing dog at your side and pheasants barely visible in the brush.
That is exactly where Eugene “Doc” Seaman of Pequot Lakes was the second weekend of September. Many people with disabilities experience this glorious moment in nature only in their imagination but this dream became a reality for Doc when he was chosen to be a participant at the 21st annual Minnesota Broken Wing Connection Pheasant Hunt Invitation.
The Minnesota Broken Wing Connection is a nonprofit organization for physically challenged individuals that was started in 1992 by two cousins with a disease of the nervous system that impaired their mobility.
The organization sponsors a hunt of upland birds and other outdoor sporting activities for the physically challenged, whose activity is normally limited due to the terrain involved, the distance traveled and the pace required to keep in step with a hunting dog.
The nonprofit organization hopes to attract individuals who have been unable to experience outdoor shooting activities because of their disabilities.
Applications are accepted from across the U.S. and Canada with a lottery drawing held in early June. To qualify each applicant must establish proof of a physical disability that limits their ability to hunt upland birds. Each invited hunter is eligible to take part in the event only one time.
The event is held on a 630-acre hunting preserve 20 miles west of Pine River. The preserve provides three hunting fields, a trap range, base camp, a 3-D archery range and other outdoor activities. Custom-made platforms attached to all-terrain vehicles move hunters across the rough terrain and to various activities.
Except for transportation to and from Pine River, the event is free to each invited participant. Through donations and fundraisers the organization covers the cost of meals, lodging, birds, shells, skeet and general operations for the three-day event.
For more information contact Verna Gertgen at 11620 94th Ave. N.E., Spicer, MN, 56288; or at 320-796-5710.