NEAR DURAND, Wis. (WEAU) -- It was a very special day of hunting with guns and bows for disabled hunters all across the state.
In the Chippewa Valley on Saturday, five hunters with special needs bonded with volunteer-mentors over their life-long hobby.
“It's been my life for I don't know how many years,” said hunter Cody Rye.
Rye lost his ability to walk at the age of five, but that didn't stop him from becoming a hunter at the age of 11.
“It'll be nice to have a guy in there; I mean who can help me out looking for dear if I can't see them,” explained Rye.
“My passion is bow hunting, so I'm really excited to get paired up with a person that enjoys it as much as I do,” said mentor Kyle Neidermire about his partner for the day-Cody Rye.
Xcel Energy and the Indianhead Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted the deer hunt for sportsmen with disabilities. The second annual hunt took place on Tyrone Property near Durand, owned by Xcel.
“For me I always think if I was in that position I would hope that somebody was there to help me,” said Mike Kline.
Kline is one of the five volunteer-mentors who freed their afternoon to help those less able than they are.
“I think once you're a hunter you're always a hunter,” said Kline.
Kline paired up with Mitch Hoyt who attended the event for the second time.
“I think these people who sacrifice their own personal time, to come out here and spend their time with people who --they owe nothing to us, is just great,” said Hoyt.
Hoyt is paralyzed from chest down after a hunting accident in 2006. He says is it's important to remember safety rules and have a buddy system out by the shack and in the woods.
“It’s important to have somebody, whether your paralyzed or not. It’s important to hunt with our people or to let them know where you're going,” explained Hoyt.
Hoyt says he is exited to spend time with his wife and after all he's been through have an opportunity to bond with hunters, who keep their passion burning, just like him.
“You can't walk, big deal; life goes on if you let it,” added Hoyt.
The hunt for hunters with disabilities goes on until October 13.