The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Smithville Lake hosted one of the largest managed deer hunts in the country for hunters that are mobility-impaired last weekend.
This marked the 30th anniversary of the deer hunt that is open to hunters across the country.
Derek Dorsey, Smithville Lake park manager, said 48 people participated in the hunt this year. There are around 56 hunting blinds accessible by truck in designated park areas and the waterfowl refuge for the two-day hunt.
Dorsey said 32 deer were harvested the first day of the hunt, and 10 were bagged the second day.
The largest deer harvested was an 11-point buck.
He said during the last 30 years, the event has hosted 1,577 hunters who have harvested 1,504 deer.
Greg Murphy from Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and his father, Jim Murphy, attended the hunt for the fourth year.
He bagged a 10-point buck the first morning of the hunt.
“We saw two does and then around ten minutes later a little buck and a doe walked through,” Greg Murphy said. “About four minutes later, this one walked out.”
He shot a 10-point buck the first year he participated.
“This is a great event with super nice people,” Jim Murphy said. “It’s great to see other hunters and the people that put this on help make it enjoyable.”
Michael Zittle from Springfield, Missouri, attended the event for the first time and harvested a buck the first morning. He found out about the hunt through the group Missouri Disabled Sportsmen.
Zittle hunted with friend Randy Walker from the group.
“It was a fantastic hunt,” Zittle said. “He was actually the first deer we saw. He came up about 90 yards away and walked up to around 50 yards in front of us.”
Jack Dixon from Excelsior Springs, Missouri, participated in the hunt for the first time with his daughter, Jenna Lanning. He has been hunting deer for 50 years.
“I got a buck the first morning of the hunt,” Dixon said. “This is a great hunt, and they have outdone themselves as far as hospitality and location of the blinds.”
During the event, breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided to the hunters. Breakfast has been served by Boy Scout Troop 397 in Kearney, Missouri, for the last 25 years. The Smithville Kiwanis Club has provided chili for lunch for all 30 years.
Dorsey said the event is made possible because of the volunteers. The group Missouri Disabled Sportsmen has donated multiple large enclosed hunting blinds.
After the hunt is over, the participants can weigh or measure deer and staff are available to aid in Telechecking the whitetail. Staff and the hunters also can clean the deer.
For more information on the event, call 816-532-0174.