• 77°

Handicapped children set for hunting trip on Saturday

This weekend, a group of local handicapped children will get an opportunity to participate in an outdoor activity that normally would not be possible for them.

The Pearl River County and Hancock County Disabilities Deer Hunt will take place in Poplarville for the third consecutive year on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Five owners of high-fenced deer hunting properties have come together to open their gates to children with special needs for a unique hunting experience. High-fenced deer hunting properties are about 1,000 acres in size with fences enclosing the area. Hunting on these private lands usually costs money, but this weekend, the owners are hosting the event for the children at no cost. Local paramedic and outdoorsman Mike Barnes helps coordinate the event, and he feels it is a valuable experience for special needs children.

“This gives them a sport they can do,” said Barnes, “Some of these kids can’t play football or baseball, so they are fishing and hunting instead.”

Three of the children will be shooting custom rifles made specifically for their needs. Those attending suffer from a variety of conditions, including heart problems a mitochondrial disorder and dwarfism; another child attending suffers from hydrocephalus. Each child will be separated on the five high-fenced enclosures, and a parent or guardian will accompany the children at all times during the hunt.

Since certain liabilities exist, the event must be insured in order for hunters to use this land. Doug Dale Insurance of Brandon, Miss. has donated all the necessary insurance coverage to make the event possible.

“There are so many people involved in making this happen,” said Barnes, “It takes six months to plan one afternoon of hunting.”

Barnes would like to show his gratitude to Doug Dale Insurance, the owners of the five high-fenced deer hunting properties and everyone else who supported the event.