HAGERMAN, Idaho — Idaho Fish and Game volunteers are working together with the Idaho Division of Veteran Services to help provide opportunities for disabled American veterans.
Through Fish and Game, four to eight veterans are able to take part in a day of mentored waterfowl hunting in Hagerman.
Habitat Biologist Skyler Farnsworth summed up the day when he said, “I feel privileged to witness the joy that these mentored waterfowl hunts provide our local veterans.”
Fish and Game says the idea is to allow for these American heroes to participate in a hunting activity, which for many, is their first time in a duck blind.
“Working with veterans each year to get out and do something that they normally don’t have an opportunity to do, has been a fantastic program over the last few years”, according to Robert Smith, Idaho State Veteran Service Officer, “having the opportunity to participate in mentored hunts opens up their horizons to do activities such as duck hunting, especially with a hunting mentor who provides them with advice and help while sitting next to them in the duck blind.”
Many of the volunteers are veterans themselves, and say it's an honor to be able to share a hunt with those who have given so much for us.
Fish and Game Habitat Manager Mark Fleming who is a Gulf War veteran commented: “As a combat veteran it feels great to provide an enjoyable experience for our disabled veterans.”
“Having the chance to meet fellow vets and staff from Fish and Game, while learning a new skill such as waterfowl hunting, gets our vets out into a natural environment” said Smith, “Just having the chance to experience the diversity of birds here in the Hagerman area is really important to each of these guys.”