SIU and IDNR host veteran's deer hunt - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU and IDNR host veteran's deer hunt

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JACKSON CO. -- As part of SIU's Touch of Nature Environmental Center's Veteran Adventure's Program, 11 active military and veterans are being treated to a free southern Illinois deer hunt.

Sean Stevens is active duty Air Force and on his first hunt with he Veteran Adventures program.

He said that from the location to the group of guys, he had a blast.

"I've really enjoyed it," he said. "The camaraderie of the group is really awesome and we've got guys from all the different branches of service just having a good time together."

The deer hunt, put on by Touch of Nature and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, provides a free hunt to the active military and veterans as a way to thank them for their service and build relationships aimed to last a lifetime.

"We kind of build a community, a sense of camaraderie and an opportunity for these guys to hang out and have a good time together," said Erik Oberg, who organized the three day hunt.

He said its important to give back to those who have given their all for their country.

"It's important to recognize what our veterans have done for us and to give them some opportunities to be outside and have some adventures now that they've transitioned from military life to civilian life," Oberg said.

Stevens said after his experience this year, he'll try to make it back again next year.

But it wasn't the hunting that made it memorable for him.

"Just the hanging out and getting to know each other and helping out people that get a chance to shoot a deer, helping them find it," he said.

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