BERLIN, WISCONSIN – October 24, 2019 – The second Sunday of October marked the end of Badger Mining Corporation’s (BMC) 19th year as a company sponsor of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) annual deer gun hunt for people with disabilities. The WDNR began the hunt in 1990 in order to provide hunting opportunities for individuals with certain disabilities at a time of year when temperatures are generally milder and mobility in the woods and fields is easier. Badger Mining began participating in the program in 2001 for one of its then-associates who was injured in a swimming accident decades ago.
Originally taking place only at BMC’s St. Marie property in Green Lake County, the hunt has since expanded to include BMC’s Fairwater property in Green Lake and Fond du Lac Counties in 2006, its Taylor property in Jackson and Trempealeau Counties in 2008, and its Merrillan property in Jackson County in 2017. Throughout the four properties, BMC accommodated 13 hunters this year over the weeklong season, three of which were new and ten that were returning. This year’s hunters ranged in age from 19 to 84 years old. They came from every corner of the state of Wisconsin and one, formerly from Wisconsin, came from Phoenix, Arizona to participate.
For most of the hunters, the hunt represents more than just a chance to get a deer. Aside from sitting out in the woods and fields during the day, hunters at BMC’s properties also share meals and strike friendships with many of the BMC associates who volunteer to help each year. As one hunter described, “It was something to look forward to and is a special thing that Badger Mining does… The people make you feel welcomed.” And just like the hunters, the associates who volunteer share the range of emotions while experiencing the hunt as guides and helpers.
Over the past 19 years, BMC has touched the lives of 102 different individuals, and even though many hunters found success this year, the deer is only a bonus.
“Regardless of whether they get a deer or not, all the hunters come out of this special program with smiles and new friendships,” says Tiffany Thoma, environmental team associate and special hunt leader at BMC. “And when the hunt is over in the middle of October each year, you cannot help but get excited for next year’s season after hearing the stories and the memories made by each and every participant.”