Jason Vee had to wait nine years to draw a Wisconsin bear hunting license. But it took him only a few minutes to give it up.
Vee, of Lake Nebagamon, decided to transfer his bear license to 13-year-old Hunter Morton of Vancleave, Miss., who is paralyzed from the chest down as a result of meningitis. Vee, 35, not only gave up his license, but his family also hosted Morton and his parents during their stay in northern Wisconsin. And Vee served as a guide for Morton during his bear hunt earlier this month.
“I can never thank him enough,” Hunter Morton said in a telephone interview on his way back to Mississippi.
Morton had applied for a Wisconsin black bear hunt through an organization called the United Special Sportsman Alliance, a nonprofit based in Pittsville, Wis. The organization is a national wish-granting charity that sends critically ill and disabled youth, as well as disabled veterans, on the outdoor adventures of their dreams.
It isn’t uncommon for Wisconsin bear hunters to wait several years, accumulating preference points, before drawing a bear license. But shortly after getting word that he had received a license this fall, Vee, a self-employed produce broker, received a letter from USSA asking if he’d be willing to transfer his bear license. He didn’t hesitate.
“I had shot a couple of bears myself,” Vee said. “I thought this would be a lot more fun than shooting a bear myself if I could help someone else.”
USSA had sent 1,470 letters to Wisconsin bear hunters this fall, and 39 decided to give up their licenses, said Brigid O’Donoghue, CEO and founder of USSA. Five more bear hunters in Minnesota also gave up their licenses, she said.