A supervisor of recreation therapy at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Grand Junction Medical Center has come up with a unique therapy plan for Veterans with physical and psychological disabilities.
Matt Lucas has been organizing hunting trips since 2006, bringing Veterans on deer hunts, elk hunts and antelope hunts thus far. Lucas worked with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife to design safety precautions, such as limiting the Veterans to chambering a round only when they are ready to shoot, and preventing them from walking around with a loaded rifle.
Additionally, Lucas has applied for licenses in order to accommodate Veterans with physical disabilities.
Although Lucas originally envisioned the hunting therapy program as a means to treat Veterans with physical disabilities, the majority of applicants have post-traumatic stress disorder. Lucas explains that Veterans benefit from being outside, and has noticed that the hunting often helps relieve the Veterans’ of their memories.