The sudden and tragic passing of 16-year old TJ Hellerud from a car accident in 2003 sparked a tradition that is still going strong today. For the past seven years, a youth/disabled deer hunt has been held by the Hunting Heritage Group and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) in honor of Hellerud, an avid hunter and outdoorsmen.

“Hunting was more than just past time or hobby for TJ,” said Cynthia Maier, Hellerud’s mother. “It taught him the struggle for survival, the reality of death and the appreciation of life.”

The memorial tradition continues this year as the Hunting Heritage Group and KDWPT invite resident youth and disabled deer hunters to apply for the 2013 youth/disabled deer hunt Sept. 7-8. Youth participants must be a Kansas resident age 10-16. Candidates must submit an application form by August 24

in order to be considered. There is no charge for the hunt and lodging will be provided.

The first morning will consist of classroom instruction followed by a trip to the local gun range to sight in rifles. Guides and hunters will then head to their respective hunting areas. Hunters will hunt from blinds with experienced guides/mentors on private land that neighbors the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area in Trego County. Some youth participants may hunt on specially designated areas within the Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area. At day’s end, hunters will return to the meeting area for pictures and a recap of the day’s events. Hunters who are unsuccessful Sept. 7 will be invited to hunt the following day.

For more information, or to apply, contact Chris Smith at (785)726-3212 or Jason Hawman at (785) 250-9167.

Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

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