By Victoria Saha, WAOW
PORTAGE COUNTY, Wis. (WAOW) -
Though turkey hunting season has not begun, veterans from Wisconsin braced the cold temperatures Saturday morning to do exactly that.
Every year the United Special Sportsman Alliance fundraises to help veterans experience opportunities like Saturday's turkey hunt.
"This is amazing," said Doug Ruplinger, a veteran. "I mean there are so many people involved and all these land owners are donating their land for us to use and all these people who donate their time and they try so hard to make sure that us hunters are successful. It means a lot to them as well as it means a lot to us."
Ruplinger was just one of the eight veterans from Wisconsin who geared up for the two day event.
"We give them a free weekend, all inclusive we put them in a lodge, we feed them, we get them out turkey hunting," said organizer Eric Bggs.
According to Bggs, this is just one of the many ways the community can reward veterans for their service.
"These guys put their life on the line when they do their service and if we can give them a little free weekend to let them get away from the reality of life and have fun that's what I like," Bggs said.
State representative Katrina Shankland was also present at the hunt to support the veterans.
"We are allowing disabled veterans to get the opportunity to hunt, that's a wonderful thing for our community to do," Shankland said. "Not only to say thanks but to get them out in our great outdoors."
Ruplinger aims to keep the legacy going of those who are no longer with us.
"Family will donate money for a gun in memory of their father or a member of the community that loved to hunt," Ruplinger said.
Shankland and her team are working on a new bill that would allow more opportunities for veterans to turkey hunt.