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A fresh shot at hunting

Submitted photo Pictured, left to right, are: Ron Welle, the president and CEO of Midwest Outdoors Unlimited, Sam Hunter, Steve Melgard, and George Fresonke, behind the elk cow Fresonke shot on a recent hunting trip.

George Fresonke, of Perham, recently got his hands on a gun with an entire new set of sights.

Fresonke is blind. He lost his sight six years ago in a car accident. But recent advances in technology have allowed him to return to one of his passions – hunting.

Fresonke’s ability to hunt again can be credited to his good friend Steve Melgard, of Perham.

“Steve wanted to get me back out hunting,” Fresonke said. “He started doing some digging around.”

Melgard’s digging led him to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Sam Hunter as well as Ron Welle, the president of Melrose, Minn.-based Midwest Outdoors Unlimited (MOU).

The mission of MOU is to provide outdoor recreational activities for Disabled American Veterans and disabled individuals in Minnesota.

“Sam called me up one day and asked me if I wanted to try and do some target shooting. She told me, ‘It’s a cow elk. That’s going to be your target,’” Fresonke laughed. “That makes it a lot better. I’d rather shoot at a live animal than a paper target.”

The technology used is called the iScope, a patented Smartphone scope adapter which attaches a smartphone directly to the eye piece of a gun scope. 

According to Fresonke, the iScope is as simple as mounting a bracket to the scope and turning a smartphone on to a camera mode.

“The person behind you tells you which way to move the gun. It looks right down the scope.”

While iScopes were initially made to aid visually-impaired hunters, they are also used by sighted hunters to record their hunts.

Fresonke was more of a bird hunter in the past: “I used to hunt a lot of ducks and pheasants out in North Dakota. I wasn’t really that big of a deer hunter, but I always went every year.”

Getting back out in the field is a boon to the adjustment to losing his sight, which has not been the easiest change to become accustomed to in six years.

“It’s been trying at times,” he said. “There are a lot more hills than there are valleys. I know that for sure. I never thought I was going to be able to shoot again.”

The elk hunt provided by MOU was not without a bit of irony. Fresonke had always planned a big elk hunting trip on his 40th birthday. Born in 1972, he was able to complete that hunt as planned.

And that isn’t going to be the last hunt for him, either – Fresonke and Hunter have plans for a turkey hunt coming up at the end of May.

Fresonke is the owner of the OK Tire Store in Perham. He has owned the store for 17 years.

For more information on MOU, visit

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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