Monday, Nov. 25, was a day Joey Wakeen will never forget.

The 22-year-old Baldwin native and St. Croix Central High School graduate shot his first deer, a six-pointer, north of Baldwin.

What makes this special compared to any other deers that were shot, is Wakeen has Down Syndrome.

Justin Morrissey, Respite Care Provider for Wakeen, explained Wakeen went through Hunter’s Education training and practiced – target shooting, turkey hunting and bow hunting. Wakeen also took part in the mentoring program with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Morrissey became impressed with Wakeen’s enthuasism.

“How willing he was to learn and how dedicated he was to it,” Morrissey explained. “It became clear how much fun he was having.”

Morrissey also mentioned the importance of the mentoring program set up the DNR. It was created for those who weren’t previously interested in the outdoors to become, specifically in hunting and fishing.

The ‘kill’ shot was from 80 yards out with Morrissey and Wakeen in a blind. Wakeen used a .308 rifle.

“The shot was right in the heart,” Morrissey said. “He’s become a really good shot.

With a deer off his checklist, Morrissey explained, the goals for Wakeen next year is improving his skills.

“The sky is the limit,” Morrissey said.

The week culminated on Friday with Wakeen’s 23rd Birthday.

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