Thanks to outreach programs and new innovations in adaptive technology, there is a wealth of experiences today for physically challenged hunters to enjoy. The hurdles that each sportsman or woman must overcome are unique to the individual, and as a result, there are more opportunities for handicapped hunters than any one article can encompass. What follows is a list of tools meant to aid physically challenged hunters in locating and taking advantage of local and national resources designed to encourage the involvement of all hunters, regardless of ability.
Opportunities vary by state, but all fifty states offer programs for physically challenged hunters such as special permits, access areas, unique group or solo hunts, or seasons. The best way to take advantage of these opportunities is to contact the fish and game department or DNR in the state you intend to hunt. The NRA has a streamlined listing of the opportunities provided by each state and also provides necessary contact information. The list is fairly comprehensive, saving time for traveling hunters in search of specific experiences.
In addition to public services, there are several private organizations which offer helpful tips, information, and special events. Disabled Hunters of North America, Disabled Sportsmen of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America Shooting Sports Program, Outdoors Without Limits, and Buckmasters American Deer Foundation all offer information regarding local and national hunting opportunities.
Having physical limitations may require hunters to acquire specialized or adaptive equipment before entering the great outdoors. Buckmasters American Deer Foundation has a fantastic listing of adaptive equipment retailers, with sellers focusing on everything from specialized crossbows, heated clothing, and firearm attachments to blinds, wheel chairs and accessories, and fishing and boating needs. Whether you’re looking for a specialized boat ramp or a rifle attachment for no-hands use, finding and educating yourself regarding proper equipment for your needs is the most important step any hunter can take.
No matter the challenges, any passionate outdoorsman or woman can enjoy the thrill of the hunt. The most important thing is to keep an open mind. Find assistance. Inform yourself. Locate allies and organizations designed to help you accomplish your goals. There exists an amazing network designed to support and help physically challenged hunters accomplish their goals. One of the joys of hunting is the sense of community which exists between hunters and the outdoors. Use the resources designed to assist you, and whether it’s your first or thousandth time, enjoy the hunt.