BOISE, Idaho — Every year the Idaho Division of Veterans Services coordinates an all-expense big game elk hunt for two disabled veterans.
However, the deadline to apply for this unique experience is January 31.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department allocates five free elk tags for disabled veterans every year and two of those go to the Idaho Division of Veteran Services.
"It is very meaningful a lot of these veterans were big into hunting prior to their injuries and the disabilities they sustained serving their country," said Kevin Wallior of IDVS. "In the application, we ask them to explain what it would mean and a lot of them tell stories how when they were injured and were unable to continue hunting that was a big piece of them that was lost."
The all-expense elk hunt will happen in the fall as IDVS partners with a ranch in unit 45 north of Mountain Home who allows the hunt on their private land while working the logistics to provide a meaningful experience.
"Notably we assisted a blind veteran," said Wallior. "The outfitters out at the ranch that put this hunt on were able to do some research and find a contraption that allowed them to attach a cell phone to the rifle and allow a spotter to help the veteran align the weapon, but then the veteran was actually able to pull the trigger and be the one that harvested that elk."
The Idaho Division of Veterans Services helps vets with a myriad of different resources, for Wallior who served in the Air Force and came home to get his degree at Boise State this hunt provides another avenue to make a difference.
"I’m always gratified when I’m able to help my fellow veterans whether that is accessing their benefits with the VA or in instances like this providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Wallior.
Here is a link where veterans or their family members can access the application for this hunt, veterans need to submit their DD-214, have a service-connected disability of 40% and also be an Idaho resident.
Applications can be emailed to kevin.wallior.@veterans.idaho.gov and they can also be mailed to Attn: Disabled Veterans Deer or Elk Hunt, 351 Collins Road, Boise, Idaho 83702.