Cheers to the NWTF: "Handicapped hunters track deer on special weekend"
The Marietta Times is reporting that thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin’ Sportsmen program nearly 60 disabled hunters had the opportunity once again to enjoy a weekend of deer hunting in Southeastern Ohio's Morgan County. The story mentions that a lot of these less fortunate people harvested their first deer over the special three day hunt including an eleven year old girl from Sandusky who is paralyzed from the waist down.
From the story:
- The hunt was sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen program, which aims at getting the disabled involved in exciting and rewarding outdoor activities.
Disabled hunters were paired with able-bodied guides for a weekend of hunting on American Electric Power’s ReCreation Land, a 42,000-acre public hunting area just west of McConnelsville.
A total of 18 deer were taken during the event, which had participants ranging in age from 11 to 76. Half of the 56 hunters were in wheelchairs, others walked with the assistance of canes or braces.
The newspaper reports that since 2001, when the group held its first deer hunt, volunteers built more than a dozen handicap-accessible platforms where the hunters and guides sat over the weekend to watch for game.
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Again, from the story:
- "It really is a special event and we are proud to be a part of it," said David Dingey, AEP Ohio’s recreation program coordinator. "We had a lot of people get their first deer this weekend. To be able to provide that opportunity is just great."
Samantha Clonch, 11, of Sandusky, was one of those to harvest a first deer. She was left paralyzed from the waist down after a car crash in 2002.
Her three-point buck is being mounted and will hang on a wall in her family’s rec room.
"It was the only one I saw. ... He was sneaking up through the weeds toward me," said a smiling Clonch. “Then I took aim and got him.”
Clonch said she participated in the hunt last year, but didn’t see a deer the entire weekend. She said she wasn’t discouraged.
"It was just nice to get out," she said.
Clonch said she has wanted to be a hunter for as long as she could remember. Both her father and grandfather are hunters. The men took her to this past weekend’s event.
What a great story. The NWTF, all of the volunteers that helped make this event a success and the hunters themselves should be commended. Click here for more information on the NWTF's Wheelin' Sportsmen Program.