Delaware to waive hunting license fees for wounded vets
LAUREL, Del. – Disabled veterans will now be able to hunt and fish for free, anywhere in the state. It’s all thanks to a Laurel farmer who knew veterans deserved more and pushed to create change.
“They’ve done so much and to bring them out here hunting for a little while, if that’s the least I could do, that’s what I do,” says George Rider, a Laurel farmer.
For the past 8 years, Rider has let veterans organizations host hunting experiences on his farm.
“We get the guys to the stand that need help. We have a couple stands that are built just for wheelchairs,” says Rider. But he says the out of state licenses got too expensive when the price was raised to almost $300 a person.
“Those guys can’t afford that. They’ve got enough going on with their disabilities and it just wasn’t right,” says Rider.
That is until Thursday, when Governor John Carney made the trip to Rider’s farm in Laurel to change that.
“With this bill signing, it’s really going to allow us to bring more people in to go hunting, to give them the good old Eastern Shore experience that we try to show them,” says Leon Adkins with Heroes Haven.
Now any veteran that has at least 60 percent disability will be able to get a hunting license for free. “When they get a chance to shoot a deer and bring one up, the joy on their face, you can’t put a price on that,” says Rider.
And veterans that have hunted on Rider’s farm tell 47 ABC it’s about more than meets the eye.
“Being together with other combat veterans is something that us veterans need. We need that comradery because we all know what we each went through,” says retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Rand Johnson.
“They’ve pulled the rope enough. It’s time for somebody else to help,” says Rider.
Elected officials and veterans advocates tell 47 ABC, this bill is a small way to say thank you to the men and women who have given a part of their life for our country.
Rider also credits Representative Tim Dukes for sponsoring the bill, which was passed unanimously. Sharptown’s Heroes Haven will host their hunting experience at the Rider farm in October this year.