Missouri Man Opens Land Every Year for First Time Hunters, & Disabled Veteran Hunters

by Matthew Wilson
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A Missouri Man is encouraging hunting in a big way. For the past few years, he’s invited young hunters and disabled veterans to hunt on his property.

Don Dettmann lives in Callaway County, Missouri, where he owns several acres including an eight-acre sunflower field. A retired army colonel and banker, Dettmann has invited young hunters for the past eight years to kill their first deer or dove. He’s one of 17 or 18 landowners in the county that open up their property.

“In our county, we are doing very well,” Dettmann told the Fulton Sun. “The kids get all excited — they get all fired up. It’s almost like waiting for Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa Claus to show up.”

Unfortunately, Dettmann was unable to participate last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But he hopes he can start back this year anew. Young hunters are paired with an experienced mentor hunter during the hunts. The mentor teaches them a variety of things such as hunting safety and conservation.

“Sometimes this is the first time the kid has ever shot a shotgun before,” Dettmann. “Kudos to the parents for not saying no.”

That’s, in part, where the flower field comes in handy. Dettmann said he spends around 200 hours a year preparing and maintaining the sunflower field. Within the flowers is an assortment of doves, finches, and turkeys. Come fall, Dettmann invites 35 young hunters to kill their first doves.

The Missouri Man Also Hosts Disabled Veteran Hunters

In addition to first-time hunters, Dettmann also hosts disable veterans to hunt on his property. In 2019, Dettmann and four of his fellow landowners invited 15 veterans to hunt deer. The group passed the time sharing stories with each other and bonding over shared experiences

Due to the pandemic, Dettmann also had to cancel the hunt for veterans. But he hopes to get it started again for the 2021 season.

“This year I’m focusing on disabled veterans who have lost a limb,” he said. “Disabled veterans who have lost a leg or arm who want to get back to the outdoors. I want to give them that push to get them out there.”

Dettman has loved the outdoors since he was only a boy, and he wants to share his passion for hunting with others, to keep the tradition alive.

Outsider.com