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VETS VIEWS: Hunting benefits for vets explained

Gregory Remus

November 11 is Veterans Day. On this day, we honor the men and women whose service and sacrifices have made the liberty we enjoy a reality. Veterans will receive recognition at ceremonies and events, by individuals and by groups. We (veterans) too are also blessed to live in this grateful nation. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all veterans and their families who have served and sacrificed to make this nation so great. Thank you.

Along with Veterans Day comes deer season.

Are you eligible for hunting benefits if you are currently in the military or are a veteran? The following is a brief description of rules for veterans and military.

n Residents who have maintained legal residency in Minnesota and who are serving in the U.S. Military and stationed outside the state may hunt small game without a license while on leave. They do not need a Minnesota Waterfowl Stamp or Pheasant Stamp but must have a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl. They may hunt deer, bear, and wild turkeys without charge after obtaining the appropriate licenses and tags from an ELS license agent by presenting official leave papers, except they may not obtain moose and elk licenses. Deer bonus permits may be purchased. Such service personnel must carry proof of residency and official leave papers on their person while hunting.

n Nonresident spouses of residents on active military duty may purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses. Nonresidents must provide proof of spouse's residency and active military duty.

n A resident who has served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active service may take small game and fish without a license. Discharged residents must carry proof of residency and official military discharge papers. All tags required of a licensee must be obtained at no fee.

n A free deer license, valid for a deer of either sex, will be issued to residents who served at any time during the preceding 24 months in federal active service outside the United States and has been discharged from active military service. Eligibility is limited to one deer license per person. Discharged residents must provide proof of residency and a copy of their official military discharge papers.

n Resident veterans with proof of a 100 percent service-related disability may obtain a free Small Game License and one free Firearms, Muzzleloader, or Archery Deer License from an ELS license agent (state stamps not required).

On a final note the Military recently announced application for stop loss special pay is extended.

You may be eligible for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) if you were a military member who was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status. The original deadline for claims was Oct. 21, 2010. The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for RSLSP has been extended to Dec. 3, 2010, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned.

The average benefit is $3,700.

You can obtain more information at www.defense. gov/stoploss or you can come into this office to receive assistance with your application.

The purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs. You can contact me at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids, 732-3561.

Have a great day!