Event: Rydell Accessible Deer Hunt

Managed by: Options IRCIL

Management Address

318 3 St NW
East Grand Forks MN 56721

Options ( www.myoptions.info )and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce the dates for the 28th Annual Accessible Deer Hunt for people with disabilities to be held at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge. The dates of the hunt will be October 12th, 13th, and 14th. Rydell National Wildlife Refuge ( http://www.fws.gov/refuge/rydell/ ), located south of Mentor, Minnesota, offers hunters with disabilities a unique experience by providing the opportunity to hunt in one of the most accessible wildlife refuges in the Nation. Rydell has miles of paved trails in addition to hard-packed trails. It is large enough to accommodate up to 20 hunters, having enough land so that risks associated with deer hunting are minimized. Hunters are responsible for their own transportation to and from the hunt in addition to their accommodations, breakfast meals, ammunition, and weapons.

Event Description

Options is a consumer controlled and managed Center for Independent Living.  This means that the majority of staff and board are people with disabilities, people with disabilities helping other people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.  For more information about the hunt or a hunt application packet please contact Randy at Options  (218) 773-6100 / (800) 726-3692 or email: options@myoptions.info .  

  • The hunt will be conducted on the Rydell National Wildlife Refuge October 12th – 14th, 2023.  Hunting hours run from 12:00 P.M. – legal evening close (no morning hunts). 
  • The 2,150-acre refuge is located in Polk County near the communities of Erskine and Mentor, Minnesota (see map below), excluding the lakes and building sites, approximately 1,200 acres of the Refuge are huntable. 
  • A maximum of 20 people will be allowed to hunt on the Refuge at one time. 
  • If more than 20 people apply, the hunt participants will be chosen through a selection process/drawing with an alternate list for any cancellations. 
  • Each hunter may take one deer of either sex. 
  • Hunters must possess a permanent total disability, with the definition of the Social Security Administration used as guidance.  Persons that possess a permanent valid accessible parking permit will also be considered along with persons who possess a significant disability rating by the V.A. 
  • Hunters must possess a valid Minnesota Firearms Deer License (or Archery License if hunting with a crossbow) to hunt on the refuge. 
  • Participation in this hunt does not prevent a hunter from party hunting during the regular Minnesota season if a deer is bagged, or hunting with an unfilled tag in the zone of their choice during the regular season.  Licenses should be purchased choosing the zone of choice for the regular season, no matter if it includes the zone Rydell NWR is located within.  Rydell NWR is located within Zone 257 at this time it is unknown if any management tags are available if not hunters will have to use their regular hunting license to tag a deer if one is taken.  Hunters are asked to refer to the big game regulations outlined in the 2023 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet for further detail on the laws pertaining to licensing. 
  • An assistant may accompany each person with a disability on the hunt, as the hunter deems necessary.  The unlicensed assistant may discharge a firearm to dispatch a wounded deer if needed.  If a hunter does not have an assistant available to them they may request an on stand assistant to be assigned.  Hunt organizers reserve the ability to require a volunteer to accompany a hunter.  
  • The hunt will be coordinated by Options: Resource Center for Independent Living in partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

In the event that there are greater than 20 applicants, hunters will be chosen based on severity of their disability, ability to hunt in other specialized hunts other than the Rydell Hunt, and past participation at the Rydell Hunt.  If all things are equal a random drawing will take place to select final participants. 

All participants chosen are responsible to purchase their own valid 2023 deer-hunting license.  Currently, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ web site reports that an out of state tag for either firearm or bow is $185.00.  Hunt organizers will provide the location and assistance while hunting but hunters are responsible for all other costs and their personal needs.  Options has listings of area campgrounds and motels.  Camping is located from 2 miles and out dependent on location and for motels anywhere from 18 miles to 55 miles dependent on accommodations.  Costs for camping very from around $10.00 to $30.00 per night.  Historically the weather has been the deciding factor on whether a particular campground has full hook ups available or if pipes have been winterized.  Motel accommodations range from $45.00 per night to $120.00 dependent on location and amenities wanted.  There are motels, casinos, and bed and breakfasts available in the general area.  The hunt runs from noon to end of legal hunting time every day..  We will provide meals every noon and in the evening on the hunt days, the hunters are on their own for breakfast.  When a hunter wants to get out to the stand location volunteers will take them out to their site.  Hunters and if there is a volunteer present are required to stay on stand, if a deer is shot at or downed they will be asked to contact the headquarters so hunt volunteers can assist in collecting the shot animal or assist in recovering a wounded animal.  We do this, to insure to the greatest degree possible, that there are no people coming in close proximity to other active hunters.  

The hunt is designed to enable the hunter with a disability to have as much personal freedom as possible so each hunter will be asked what he or she would like assistance with.  We have had hunters complete all aspects of their hunt independently and others who have chosen to have a volunteer with them while hunting.  The hunt managers do have the discretion of assigning a volunteer with a hunter if they are inexperienced or have a disability where memory or judgment may be affected.  

If you have questions regarding adaptive equipment, please feel free to contact Options for ideas on how adaptations can be made or where specialized equipment can be purchased.


Location Info » For directions, click the marker in the map. »

Rydell National Wildlife Refuge is located along U.S. Highway 2, approximately 60 miles east of East Grand Forks, between Erskine and Mentor, Minnesota. From U.S. highway 2, turn south on Polk County Road 210 and follow for approximately 2.5 miles to the refuge gate. Various directional signs are located along the route.


The two closest towns are Mentor and Erskine that offer gas, groceries, bait and tackle. A short distance from the refuge on across Cnty Hwy 10 Lakeview Resort can be found it has food and drinks.


Area Motels and Other Accommodations ** All Motels listed have at least 1 accessible room Crookston, MN (25 miles from site)  Northland Inn, Hwy 2 and 75 North (800) 423-7541.  AmericInn, Hwy 2 and 75 North (218) 281-7800. Ada, MN (45 miles from site)  Norman Motel, Hwy 200 West (218) 784-3781. East Grand Forks, MN (60 miles from site)  East Grand Inn, Hwy 2 East (218) 773-9822. Fosston, MN (21 miles from site)  Super 8 Motel, 108 South Amber Hwy 2 E (218)435-1088 Grand Forks, ND (60 miles from site)  Best Western Town House, 710 1st Ave North (800) 867-9797.  C’Mon Inn, 3051 32nd Ave South (800) 255-2323.  Days Inn, 3101 34th Street South (701) 775-0060.  Econo Lodge, 900 43rd Street North (800) 746-6666.  Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 3051 34th Street South (701) 775-7910.  Happy Host Inn, 3101 S 17th Street (800) 489-4411.  Holiday Inn, Jct. I-29 and Hwy 2 West (701) 772-7131.  Travelodge, 2100 South Washington (701) 772-8151.  Ramada Inn, Jct. I-29 and Hwy 2 West (800) 507-3951 Ext. 3.  Roadking Inn, Columbia Mall, 3300 30th Avenue South (800) 950-0691  Super 8 of Grand Forks, 1122 43rd Street North (701) 775-8138. Mahnomen, MN (35 miles from site)  Shooting Star Casino & Lodge, 777 Casino Road (800) 453-7827.  Stardust Suites, Inc. (800) 932-3878. Mentor, MN (5 miles from site)  Inn at Maple Crossing, Northwest Shore of Maple Lake (218) 637-6600 Red Lake Falls, MN (20 miles from site)  Chateau Motel, Hwy 32 North (800) 793-3513. Thief River Falls, MN (38 miles from site)  Best Western Inn, Hwy 32 South (800) 569-8123  C’Mon Inn, 1586 Hwy 59 Southeast (800) 950-8111.  Super 8 Motel, Hwy 59 South (800) 800-8000. Campgrounds  Lakeside RV Park, On Lake Cameron, Hwy 2, Erskine, MN (7 miles from site) (218) 687-4678  Voyageurs View Campground, 1 mile north of Red Lake Falls, MN on Cty Road 13 (21 miles from site), electric available, possibly water (218) 253-4329 or (218) 253-2031.  Lakeview Resort and Restaurant, Polk County Road 10 on Maple Lake (across from site), electric available, bathrooms and showers closed for the season (218) 637 6237 after 4:00 pm.