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Soldiers get special deer hunt

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Wisconsin National Guard soldiers are about to enjoy what they missed last fall: Deer hunting. The DNR is matching up soldiers with farmers who own deer-damage permits. So far, 95 guard members who just arrived home from Iraq or Afghanistan have signed up for the special hunt. Nine farmers have volunteered 50 deer tags; so far, 22 soldiers have been matched up with farmers. The first hunts are expected to begin this month. Wisconsin's Red Arrow Brigade returned from Iraq last month from a deployment that included 3,500 soldiers from around the state. Command Sergeant Major George Stopper calls the arrangement a "great gesture by the DNR." He says many veterans are outdoor enthusiasts and would have been deer hunting last fall had they not been deployed. Governor Jim Doyle said the newest veterans missed a lifelong hunting tradition that many enjoy - and with the help of farmers, Doyle calls it "a problem we can fix."

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