With it being Veteran’s Day, I wanted to point out one of several great programs here in Michigan that provide opportunities and support for our Veterans. MUCC is a proud partner of Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors (MiOFO); a collaborative partnership whose mission is to provide outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities to wounded veterans and individuals with health challenges and to coordinate a support network that facilitates their recovery through connecting with nature. "Helping People Come Back to the Outdoors" is the motto of MiOFO; what a great way to show support and appreciation to our Vets!
MiOFO hosts a variety of activities throughout the year at the DNR-managed Sharonville State Game Area. This year they hosted events such as the MiOFO Open House, Sharonville Squirrel Hunt, Sharonville Liberty Hunt, and the Sharonville Independence Hunt event. Each of these opportunities provides a unique experience for hunters that may face challenges from a disability or injury.
At Sharonville State Game Area, the DNR has designated a 600 acre, restricted access hunt area in order to provide special hunt opportunities within the Pierce Road Unit of the Sharonville SGA. This area will remain open to the public for recreational activities, except during posted dedicated hunting days. These dates for 2015 are listed below:
- November 15-30, 2015 (coinciding with the regular firearm deer season)
- Hunt 401: Nov. 15-17
- Hunt 402: Nov. 18-20
- Hunt 403: Nov. 21-23
- Hunt 404: Nov. 24-26
- Hunt 405: Nov. 27-30
During dedicated hunting days, the hunt area will be open only to deer hunters with disabilities who have been drawn for a permit, along with their acco
mpanying companions (commonly referred to as "operators"). Hunters with disabilities who are successful in the application process will be able to designate up to three operators to accompany them on the hunt. At least one designated operator must be at least 18 years of age, and possess a license other than an apprentice license to hunt deer, or a certificate of completion for training in hunter safety. The operator(s) are not permitted to harvest a deer in the hunt area during dedicated hunting days.
Not only is this wonderful area available for hunting, but there is also assistive equipment available for use:
- Tracked Wheelchair Reservations - Limited number of chairs available for use at Sharonville State Game Area and other areas as arranged
- Accessible Hunting Blind Reservations - Limited number of accessible blinds on public land available
- Hunting Guide to Assist Outdoorspeople - MiOFO certified volunteer helpers are available on scheduled days to provide one-on-one assistance
For more details, you can contact Tom Jones, MiOFO Project Coordinator, to inquire about availability of services and resources from events to individual outdoor opportunities. Call 734-612-6677, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (unavailable on state holidays).
Another partner of the MiOFO group is Zero Day; a social enterprise that is dedicated to providing necessary training and supportive services for Veterans to achieve a self-sufficient and independent lifestyle that includes a life plan for basic needs, employment, housing, and transportation. Zero Day serves as a catalyst between opportunity and Veterans living honorable lives with dignity and purpose as we fill a critical role in re-defining our local communities.
Zero Day is a social enterprise, a job incubator, and a provider of quality housing opportunities that offers accredited vocational training, apprenticeship opportunities, supportive services, life skills mentoring, career coaching, and job placement to Michigan’s Veterans; powered by veterans for veterans and their families.
These are just a few of the great partnerships with the DNR that are providing unique opportunities for our veterans. I’m thankful for those who have served and who are serving our country today. I’m proud to be involved with an organization that promotes opportunities to support those who have served and would like to reconnect with their wild side to get back into the hunt. Whether that’s hunting for small game, waterfowl, turkey, deer, elk, or bear, there are opportunities of all kinds! So, thank you Veterans and don’t miss out on your next hunting season.