I'm often asked, what is Wicked Freedom and how did the Freedom Shack get started?
Harvey Allen Outdoors was approached in the winter of 2014 by the local chapter of Whitetails Unlimited to bid out a hunting blind for disabled hunters. We said as long as it will only be 1 or 2 feet off the ground, then we would love to get to work on a design and a cost.
Delivering the Freedom Shack to Crex Meadows
First Freedom Shack installed at Crex Meadows
We learned immediately that there was no information or specs available as to how to go about building a hunting blind for disabled hunters. So, we started off with a major research project that took 15 months to complete. Mostly it was about learning what different access requirements there would be. Door size and window height were the two most obvious. But, there are dozens of issues in building requirements when designing something to be disabled friendly. Every measurement changed countless times until the final design was determined.
While we were in the design phase, we invited a disabled veteran to our shop and we spent a whole day going over several considerations in the design. He had some great points and became really excited about the project and at one point he teared up and thanked us for doing this. That is when we decided to focus the effort for disabled veterans and came up with “The Wicked Freedom Project”. We learned that there are 3.5 million disabled veterans in the United States and thousands of them are hunters or want to be hunters. Many cannot hunt because they have no place to do so or cannot withstand the elements long enough to be successful.
We are planning to start a 501c(3) non-profit organization to raise funds to build Freedom Shacks and place them in public hunting lands for both disabled veterans and non-veterans to be able to hunt out of for free. We have already built and installed three at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in the Grantsburg area and will be adding our fourth in just a few months from now.