Disabled hunting you say? Is that really possible? Of course it is!
With all of the technology available today and the great organized hunts for disabled sportsmen across America, disabled hunting can be a reality with a bit of planning. We’ve asked our friend Andy Arnette just how he makes hunting as a disabled sportsman fun and safe. He’s given us insight into his hunting gear, terrain concerns, buddy systems for harvesting game and so much more. Keep reading to see how you can make hunting fun for you or a disabled loved one in a snap.
Disabled Hunting Is Possible
Hunting with disabilities is very possible and quite fun for the many sportsmen across the country who are proving it’s possible everyday. Let’s see what Andy has to say about the possibilities of hunting with disabilities.
- When did you begin hunting? 2012
- Did you begin hunting after your disability or before? 27 years after becoming disabled
- How has hunting with a disability challenged you? Getting to & from hunt site.
What’s your best advice for other disabled hunters? Practice. Know your capabilities before you ever go hunting. Set yourself up for success the best you can.
- What strengths do you think hunting with a disability brings to the table? Determination and willpower.
- If you could tell others one thing about hunting with a disability what would it be? It can be done & done successfully.
Challenges of Disabled Hunting
There are often a great many challenges that the hunter may face, these can be further complicated when a disability enters the picture, but these obstacles needn’t stop a hunter from enjoying a great hunt. From finding the right terrain to wheelchair accessible accommodations for far away hunts there are many things to consider. Sometimes even the hunter’s own gear may pose issues, especially when triggers have too much resistance or looking through the scope of a rifle becomes a near impossibility. However, there are many modifications and adjustments that can help you to get back out there and enjoy the hunt.
- In disabled hunting, places to hunt may be difficult to find.
There is public game land available and disabled hunters can use an ATV to access. Obtaining private property to hunt is difficult but talk with the landowners to explain your situation and you may get lucky. Organized disabled hunts are becoming more available and they provide the land for the hunters.
Holding a firearm steady & being able to pull the trigger can be difficult if not impossible for some. Using shooting sticks, gun rest attached to wheelchair & many other modifications may need to be done for various types of hunter limitations. There are many adaptive devices on the market to assist with holding the firearm, pulling the trigger with a sip of a straw or using a smartphone to see through the scope.
- Equipment Modifications
The amount of force to pull the trigger on a gun can be adjusted by a gunsmith to help those with hand dexterity issues.
Staying cool or warm can be a challenge for those with disabilities so make sure you have the proper clothing for the weather.
- Getting your harvest from the woods or fields
Not many can harvest game and get it from the woods to table without help. Having a hunting partner is a must for many. Another reason I participate in organized hunts where a guide is provided to help with after the shot tasks.
Looking For The Prime Spot for Disabled Hunting
When hunting we all have that prime spot. It seems to be your lucky shot or maybe you can bait your game most easily there. What happens when you can no longer access your favorite spots though or if you can’t seem to access most hunting areas at all? Andy’s got some great advice for getting to that prime spot for the best hunt possible, so keep reading.
- What is your biggest concern when selecting a place to hunt?
Getting your harvest from the woods or fields
- What is your biggest concern when selecting a place to hunt?
- Are there specific areas that offer handicap access?
There are disabled hunts in Wyoming, Illinois and many other states that are considered ‘hunts of a lifetime’ and cater to the disabled hunter.
- Are there organizations that provide guidance for locations when hunting with a disability?
Most states have programs through Wildlife & Natural Resource Department’s that provide information on lottery hunts and accessible public game land.
- Does distance matter when selecting a location? Absolutely. Finding accessible accommodations near a hunt site can be challenging.
- Terrain must be a big concern, could you tell me more about the challenges of finding a great terrain for wheelchairs when hunting?
Wheelchairs are simply not made for off road travel. It’s not uncommon to get stuck going thru a field or getting caught up in brush trying to get thru the woods. I’ve found an old road bed is the best option but wherever the deer are is where we try to get.
Disabled Hunting Friendly Equipment
Equipment is certainly a very important aspect of hunting and most of us have our favorite gun, bow, or crossbow. However, what would you do if suddenly couldn’t prop your rifle and see through to that perfect shot? Or what if cocking a crossbow was suddenly not an option for you anymore? Can you really operate your gun anymore? Of course you can! Let’s see what Andy has to say about his
- What is your favorite piece of hunting equipment?
Gotta be the gun.
- How have you seen hunting equipment evolve over time to be disability friendly?
Yes. I current have a crossbow that uses CO2 to cock and uncock. This gives me the opportunity to hunt independently with my crossbow since I can’t use a rope cocker. Iscope which is a device that connects to your scope with your smartphone so locating your target is quick and you can also record your shot.
- What are your favorite brands when shopping for hunting equipment?
- Are there any specific features that you really love when it comes to shopping for equipment?
The ability to operate independently.
- What are your biggest requirements when purchasing equipment?
Adjustable. Different types of weapons & hunting situations require adjustability.
Modifications for Regular Hunting Equipment to Adapt to Disabled Hunting
There are many types of adaptive equipment available for hunters today. From trigger pull devices to crossbow cocking assistance there are many ways to get back into the woods. If you’ve been thinking of giving up hunting because you’re having difficulty using your original or traditional pieces of equipment stop right there! There are many ways to alter or adjust many pieces or even some new pieces you may want to consider. Let’s see how Andy manages his hunt and the equipment he uses to do it.
- What are the best modifications for hunting equipment that you’ve seen over time?
- Are there any modifications we can hope to see in the near future?
Rangefinder & binoculars for those with hand dexterity.
- Have you had any equipment modified and if so can you tell us about it?
My gunrest is a custom made rest for wheelchair user. An EZ Pull Trigger assist has been added to my gun to reduce trigger pull.
Accessories We Love for Disabled Hunting
Accessories can make any hunt better and can help the disabled hunter to have the best harvest possible. We asked Andy about his favorite accessories and he answered. However, the best way to find accessories for your individual needs is to research, try them out, and of course go hunting with them. When choosing accessories make sure that they are comfortable, fit your safety needs, and help you to have the best hunt possible. From trigger pulls to rifle sighting options, there are many adaptive devices to help you get the job done right.
- Please tell us about your favorite hunting accessories.
EZ Pull Trigger Assist that unfortunately is no longer available.
- If you could only have one accessory to make hunting easier with a disability what would it be?
- How did you first find out about disabled hunting accessories?
I wanted to hunt and started researching on the internet.
- Do you find these accessories in the mainstream or is it more beneficial to search online or purchase from a specialty supplier?
Searching online or learning about from another disabled hunters.
How to Get That Game From the Woods to Your Table
After you’ve found that prime spot we hope you scored that big game you’ve been looking for. So now what are you going to do? Somehow we’ve got to harvest that game from the woods. Fortunately there are a few options to get this done and get that game to your table easier than you may have imagined. Let’s look at Andy’s advice for harvesting your game after the big hunt.
- What is your biggest challenging in getting game out of the woods or fields?
I’m paralyzed. Lol
- How have you adapted to get your game home in the past?
Help from others.
- Are there any products on the market that you could recommend to get the job done right?
There aren’t any currently.
- What’s your ideal way to get game out of the woods?
Call a friend. They love tracking & helping. Hunters help other hunters. It’s a code.
More Resources for Disabled Hunting
As you can see, hunting safely and with a great deal of fun can be a reality for you or a disabled loved one with very little difficulty. We’d also like to thank our friend Andy Arnette again for the great interview today. Andy has shown us a great deal about disabled hunting including how to master rough terrains or trick trigger pulls that may give those with less dexterity troubles. Today there are more opportunities than ever for the disabled sportsman including adaptive equipment and yearly organized hunts across the country. So with a bit of planning and good friends to help you harvest your game you could have the hunt of a lifetime!
Oh hey there! Looking for a great place to store your hunting gear? Check out the Zack Rack today!