HOWARD, S.D. (KELO) — Hunters got a beautiful morning to bag some birds in eastern South Dakota Thursday.

Gene Murphy is one of the hunters who headed out onto a preserve near Howard to do some pheasant hunting.

“You can hear the birds chirping and you can hear the dogs trying to get them up and stuff,” Murphy said.

The Vietnam veteran uses a wheelchair after being shot multiple times during the war and suffering a spinal cord injury.

But that didn’t stop him or other disabled veterans from enjoying the South Dakota tradition.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America North Central Chapter helped put on the free hunt for about 18 veterans.

“Getting them out here in the wide open countryside and getting them active and get them hunting or whatever the case may be. We also do a fishing tournament as well. It just cheers them up,” said Terry Paulsen with Paralyzed Veterans of America North Central Chapter.

Top Gun Hunting Ranch, the American Legion in Howard, and volunteers also helped make the hunt possible.

Some of the veterans took aim from the backs of pickups.

“We put out a fair amount of birds. I would guess we would end up somewhere around 60 or 70 today. They’ll all get plenty of shooting and having a lot of fun,” Paulsen said.

It was hunt fit for heroes.

“I always say veterans have written a blank check to the United States of America, that they will do anything and everything to make sure we have the freedoms, and I always say freedom isn’t free. Somebody’s paid a price for that freedom of ours,” Murphy said.