Annual Wounded Veteran Duck Hunt reaches 10 years - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Annual Wounded Veteran Duck Hunt reaches 10 years

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - Wednesday, October 18th, the Barker Ranch in West Richland hosted its 10th Annual Wounded Veteran Duck Hunt to honor those that have served and sacrificed for our country. The Barker Ranch is a 2,000-acre private ranch and wildlife area that is enrolled in a conservation easement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Ranch and NRCS are currently partnering on a long-term wetland restoration project to restore and enhance wetland functions and wildlife habitat. The area is best known for the ducks and geese, but it has recently become famous among birders for the large numbers of sandhill cranes during the springtime.

Michael Crowder, Barker Ranch’s General Manger, said regarding the hunt, “This is my favorite day of the year; these guys have become like brothers to me.” Many vets were smiling, some with obvious wounds and some with wounds that are not so obvious. This year, 19 veterans participated in the hunt from several organizations including; Vets on the Farm, Richland Rod and Gun Club, Ducks Unlimited, Spokane Conservation District, and Benton Conservation District. All participants were guided by owners of the Ranch, many of whom are veterans themselves. The day started off with a catered bbq lunch before the afternoon hunt, provided by Contech Engineered Solution. Over 30 people attended the lunch where they were able to talk and bond as a group for a couple of hours. Most of the vets harvested their limits of birds before sunset, but the most important part of the day was the comradery.

For the last two years, Vets on the Farm, a Washington State homegrown program, has been invited to participate. Vicki Carter, Director of the Spokane Conservation District, teamed up with Crowder, who is also the 2nd Vice-President of the National Association of Conservation Districts out of Washington D.C., to bring 8 of her participants to the hunt. Vets on the Farm is a program designed to help Veterans transition from their military careers into conservation and agricultural related careers. Carter states, “We started it in Spokane, but in just over two years, we have a presence in 7 Eastern Washington counties.” For more information about Vets on the Farm, go to www.vetsonthefarm.org or visit ‘Vets on the Farm’ on Facebook.

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