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VONORE, Tenn. (WATE) — Fort Loudoun State Park took a group of disabled veterans deer hunting on November 7 in honor of Veterans Day. This year marks the seventh hunt held by the park.
“They feed us breakfast, they take us out side by side,” Garrett Hanas, an organizer of the hunt said. “All we have to do is shoot the deer, they clean it, they have biologists that check the meat to make sure it’s healthy.”
Deer blinds are set up throughout the park. Then, each veteran is taken to one and the deer hunt begins.
“A lot of these gentlemen can’t get out on their own to hunt because they just can’t walk into the woods like they used to,” Hanas said. “This is nice because they take them out, they put them in a blind.”
As some find solace in nature, others enjoy being together and cracking jokes.
“I’m a paratrooper and a bunch of these guys are marines,” Hanas said. “They say ‘You know we got you surrounded’ and I say we are paratroopers are always surrounded.”
For those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Hanas believes it’s important to pay it forward.
“Sacrificed body parts, they’re getting cancer from Agent Orange, PTSD, just a lot of things, so this comradery to get them together even for one day a year just helps them cope with life,” Hanas said.
While there was little action this morning, the group is optimistic they’ll find a deer before sunset.