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OPINION: An anniversary that matters if you love wildlife, hunting

Anniversaries come and go, but this one was kind of important for people with life-changing injuries who still love the magic of the hunt. This past weekend, for the 20th year now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, as well as assorted volunteers and a handful of sponsors, once again carried out the Oahe Downstream Disabled Hunt.

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The event gives hunters confined to a wheelchair the chance to go after deer in the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, with access for the weekend carefully controlled while the hunt is going on.

We can’t think of a better way for Pierre’s outdoors community to share its love of shooting sports with a crowd of hunters who just about have to be the most grateful set of people on the planet. These are people who might never otherwise get a chance in their lives to hunt in a natural area as beautiful as the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area, or to go after deer of the quality that central South Dakota can provide.

And as our sources tell us, it’s not a canned hunt. It’s the real deal, for hunters willing to deal with the cold and all the rest of the discomforts that go with hunting in Dakota in November. Some of these hunters shoot with specially modified firearms, depending on the extent of their injuries.

Probably their gratitude is thanks enough for the people who organize this hunt. But the rest of us ought to say thank you, too. Job well done to the Corps of Engineers, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and all the volunteers and sponsors who make it happen.

-Pierre Capital Journal