Disabled hunters get a shot with Twin Cities nonprofit Capable Partners

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 4, 2013 - 12:51 AM

A Twin Cities nonprofit helps disabled hunters and anglers participate, fully, in the sports they love.

hide

Dave Guzzi nocked an arrow in his crossbow as he prepared to hunt deer in a portable blind on a new platform in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo: Photos by Jeff Wheeler • jeff.wheeler@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Dave Guzzi wheeled his chair down a gravel path to a wooden platform amid the heavily forested Minnesota River bottom in Bloomington.

Hunting partner Jayme Welsh quickly set up a ground blind, Guzzi wheeled inside and Welsh handed him his crossbow.

Though he was in the heart of the Twin Cities, not far from traffic-choked freeways, ball fields and manicured suburban yards, Guzzi — disabled from an accident — was deer hunting on a blustery September afternoon, just minutes from his home.

“They got a deer here last week,’’ he said.

The platform that Guzzi, 55, of Burnsville, used last week is one of three new ones recently added to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 14,000 acres of woods, water and wildlife that stretches from the Mall of America to Henderson.

“I’ve been trying to get these built for 15 years,’’ said Guzzi, volunteer outreach coordinator and an active member of Capable Partners Inc., a Twin Cities-based nonprofit that for 28 years has provided hunting, angling and other outdoor recreation opportunities for disabled people.

It has about 300 members, half of whom are disabled and half able-bodied volunteers. There are no paid employees.

“Without Capable Partners, there wouldn’t be access to the outdoors for people like me,’’ said Guzzi. “There’s no other group that I’m aware of that has outings 12 months of the year.’’

The group also has pushed for increased access for disabled hunters and anglers. The three new hunting platforms in the Minnesota Valley Refuge are evidence of their success.

Guzzi not only helps guide other disabled hunters and coordinate hunts, he is a familiar face at the State Capitol, where he monitors and testifies on legislation that might affect disabled hunters and anglers.

Life changed forever

Guzzi grew up in St. Louis Park in a family that hunted and fished.

“I spent every waking moment thinking about fishing and hunting, and dreamed of living in the wilderness,’’ he said. He also was an avid backpacker and downhill skier.

Then in 1996, as he was preparing to paint his house, he fell from a ladder.

“I was on the roof deck stepping onto the ladder,’’ he said. It slid and he fell. “It was only about 8 feet, but it’s not how far you fall. I landed on top of the ladder, right in the middle of my back.’’

The spinal injury cost him the use of his legs.

“It was devastating,’’ Guzzi said. “But you either lay around and mope and be depressed or get up and do something. I chose to get up and do something. Besides, I had two young kids to raise — I couldn’t afford to sit around and mope.’’

  • related content

  • Anderson: Shutdown means Regular Guy can't access federal land

    Friday October 4, 2013

    That federal land your duck stamp bought is closed. In October. And nobody in Congress asked. Or cares.

  • Shutdown might change Minn. Governor's Deer Opener

    Thursday October 3, 2013

    It’s not known whether agency employees will be back to work by Nov. 8, which is the day before the deer firearms season opens.

  • Cabin Country: Escape to my 'happy place'

    Monday November 4, 2013

    My Schmidt Island cabin began in 1972 as a 12-foot-by-16-foot camp shack with shuttered openings but no windows. My brother...

  • Capable Partners has been helping disabled people hunt and fish for years. Dave Guzzi and an able-bodied friend, Jayme Welsh, hunted deer Thursday evening, September 26, 2013 in a new blind area within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. Dave Guzzi’s blind was on the new platform at the end of a short gravel trail off a road in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. ] JEFF WHEELER ‚Ä¢ jeff.wheeler@startribune.com

  • Capable Partners has been helping disabled people hunt and fish for years. Dave Guzzi and an able-bodied friend, Jayme Welsh, hunted deer Thursday evening, September 26, 2013 in a new blind area within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. Dave Guzzi and Jayme Welsh headed to the new hunting platform for an evening of deer hunting. Welsh is carrying the case that contains Guzzi's crossbow. ] JEFF WHEELER ‚Ä¢ jeff.wheeler@startribune.com

  • With his gear in his lap, Dave Guzzi wheeled the short distance from his vehicle to a hunting platform installed for disabled hunters in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Guzzi is volunteer outreach coordinator and an active member of Capable Partners, a Twin Cities nonprofit.

  • Capable Partners has been helping disabled people hunt and fish for years. Dave Guzzi and an able-bodied friend, Jayme Welsh, hunted deer Thursday evening, September 26, 2013 in a new blind area within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. His gear all ready, Dave Guzzi waited for his hunting buddy, Jayme Welsh, to return with his gear to join him for an evening of bow hunting on the new platform. ] JEFF WHEELER ‚Ä¢ jeff.wheeler@startribune.com

  • For more information

    For more information about Capable Partners and the outdoor opportunities they provide, see www.capablepartners.org or call 612-220-3346.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Chicago 84 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 114 FINAL
Orlando 119
Utah 89 FINAL
Philadelphia 83
Miami 97 FINAL
Washington 99
Toronto 94 FINAL
Charlotte 103
Cleveland 97 FINAL
Atlanta 106
Boston 104 FINAL
New Orleans 98
Detroit 93 FINAL
Houston 103
LA Lakers 90 FINAL
Memphis 97
Phoenix 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 100
Denver 111 FINAL
San Antonio 120
Dallas 40 3rd Qtr
Golden State 52
Columbus 3 FINAL
New Jersey 2
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Carolina 1
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Calgary 5 FINAL
Detroit 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL(SO)
Chicago 2
Pittsburgh 3 3rd Prd
Anaheim 0
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 69 FINAL
Elon 74
Gardner-Webb 72 FINAL
High Point 71
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 71 FINAL
Ball State 67
Bowling Green 75 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Brown 69 FINAL
Dartmouth 75
Toledo 59 FINAL
Eastern Mich 85
Akron 77 FINAL
Kent State 79
Ill-Chicago 72 FINAL
Oakland 69
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Ohio 95
Columbia 46 FINAL
Penn 54
Cornell 53 FINAL
Princeton 66
Central Mich 62 FINAL
Western Mich 74
Bradley 46 FINAL
Northern Iowa 71
Morehead State 77 FINAL
Murray State 80
Yale 62 FINAL
Harvard 52
Furman 73 FINAL
Citadel 56
Coll of Charleston 56 FINAL
Drexel 48
UNC-Asheville 57 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 74
Texas Tech 74 FINAL
Baylor 77
Pacific 58 FINAL
San Francisco 62
Loyola-Chicago 81 FINAL
Indiana State 53
Detroit 53 FINAL
Cleveland State 70
Belmont 48 2nd Half 5:22
Eastern Ky 48
Loyola Marymount 8 1st Half 12:11
Santa Clara 20
Chicago 0 2nd Half 13:00
Los Angeles 1
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
UCLA 62 FINAL
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
SMU 59 FINAL
Memphis 71
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 53 FINAL
Duquesne 66
North Florida 35 FINAL
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 74
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
Jacksonville 55
USC Upstate 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 64
Lipscomb 69 FINAL
Stetson 92
Nebraska 65 FINAL
(14) Iowa 74
Saint Peters 57 FINAL
Marist 62
Navy 60 FINAL
Bucknell 49
Lafayette 56 FINAL
American Univ 79
Colgate 45 FINAL
Army 48
Georgia 41 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 75
Dartmouth 71 FINAL
Brown 53
Penn 50 FINAL
Columbia 36
(13) Princeton 70 FINAL
Cornell 37
Kansas 49 FINAL
Kansas State 57
Harvard 68 FINAL
Yale 63
(15) North Carolina 75 FINAL
(10) Louisville 77
San Jose St 99 FINAL
UNLV 97
Houston 39 FINAL
Tulane 64
Utah State 58 FINAL
Colorado State 76
Colorado 68 FINAL
(8) Oregon State 65
New Mexico 66 FINAL
Wyoming 55
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Ohio State 83
(12) Kentucky 76 FINAL
(11) Miss State 67
San Diego State 44 FINAL
Nevada 50
Niagara 57 FINAL
Fairfield 65
Texas Tech 40 FINAL
West Virginia 59
Boise State 48 2nd Half 1:11
Fresno State 45
Washington 15 1st Half 13:00
California 7
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close