Hundreds of wounded veterans and active-duty members have hunted deer, hogs, turkeys and alligators and shared experiences with each other thanks to the District’s partnership with Operation Outdoor Freedom.
The program provides recreational and rehabilitative opportunities to retired, wounded veterans or to active-duty service members with service-oriented injuries. The District was recently recognized for its participation in the program.
The Florida Forest Service and Friends of Florida State Forests awarded the District the 2019 Outstanding Landowner of the Year Award last month for supporting Operation Outdoor
The District has held 29 hunts and four alligator egg collections on District property during the past four years.
In the 2018/2019 hunting season, the District provided six opportunities for hunts on District lands. These hunts included two alligator hunts at the Lake Hancock pits, along with deer, hog and turkey hunts on Gilley Creek and Green Swamp West Tract.
Chris Reed, Land Management manager, said he is honored to provide these opportunities to service men and women.
“Hearing first-hand accounts from our veterans, what this program means to them, the camaraderie they have developed, and how participating in the Operation Outdoor Freedom hunts has changed their lives is pretty amazing,” Reed said.