Blind Hunter Shoots Elk

HASTINGS, Minn.- December 10 (The Langenfeld Foundation) – Mr. Michael O. Hanson, age 42, has been completely blind since infancy.  Despite his disability, he graduated from college and went on to complete law school, both at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  In three weeks, he will again defy his physical limitations and engage in an elk hunt with The Langenfeld Foundation, on December 7-9, 2007.

The hunt and guiding service has been donated by Mr. Tony Beckel, of Tony's Trophy Elk Hunts in Baudette, MN.  The elk itself was made possible through a contribution from the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association.  Mr. Hanson will be assisted on his hunt by members of The Langenfeld Foundation and a volunteer from the group Capable Partners.  That assistant will be Mike's eyes for him; looking over his shoulder and through a custom-mounted rifle scope, atop the firearm.  This type of setup was designed specifically for Mike, allowing the blind hunter to hold the firearm himself, adjust his aim as directed by the sighting partner, and then fire the rifle when told the cross-hairs are on the target.

Mr. Hanson has used this technique in the past to take a whitetail deer, but has never been given the opportunity to hunt something as grandiose as the North American Wapiti.  As an avid outdoors-man, hunter, and fisherman, Mike has truly been granted the trip of a lifetime; something he never would have dreamed of being able to do because of his disability.  Also participating in the charity adventure will be a second hunter with special needs: Mr. Jon Zirngible, age 45, who has a mental disability.  Jon's hunt is also being donated by Mr. Beckel, and he will be assisted by his brother Mr. James Zirngible.

Dr. Daniel G. Carey, PhD, of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN wrote, “These are valuable experiences that carry over to other aspects of life... The striving for excellence and pursuit of a goal is every bit as important to them, and maybe more so, as it is to us.” 

The Langenfeld Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Hastings, MN, and works to open hearts and open opportunities for special people with special needs.  They enrich lives by helping people be involved in nature, fishing, hunting, sport, and music. They hold out hands to people of all ages and disabilities.

In August 2007, Jon and Mike participated in The Langenfeld Foundation sponsored...and Minnesota's first-ever...Firearms Safety Course taught exclusively for people with disabilities. All students take a written final exam for safety certification from the MN DNR.  Jon got 98% on that test, and Mike achieved a perfect 100%.  

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