Hunting without limits
POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 11:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 1:14pm
Tyler TX (KETK) — Hunting is a favorite sport for many East Texans.
Even for the physically challenged.
We met a few hunters who had the courage to pick up a gun, even after they felt they could never hunt again.
Dwayne Hall grew up hunting.
"I've been doing it so long I don't even think of it,'' said Hall.
Until a tragic car accident crushed his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
"I was in a car wreck in 97 it didn't severe the spinal cord it just smashed it," said Hall.
But, that did not stop him from a sport he loves.
"I just looked for ways to get back out and hunt."
Now, the 33-year-old bound to a wheelchair found hope and a way to hunt again.
"I've been doing it for so long it just seems natural to me now, but when I first got the equipment it was a learning curve," said Hall.
With his HQ-100 mount he can shoot from his mouth.
"I just sip on a straw and that allows the trigger to be pulled and it will fire the gun."
Since the accident in 1997, he hunts with his new gear every season.
"It allows me to shoot rifle, shotgun or pistol."
Hall shot his first deer last year.
"It allows you to go out there and do just like you used too."
All thanks to a couple from Indiana.
"It's engineering at it's best," said Hall.
Brian Kyler has a friend who is a quadriplegic.
His friend needed a piece of equipment to hunt with.
11 years ago together, they built the first gun mount for a wheelchair.
"He had the dream, and I had the ability to help him," said Kyler.
Now, the Kyler's make hunting equipment for disabled people all over the world.
"We just fulfill needs. Anybody that needs a piece of equipment and has a need to be fulfilled, we work with them and build a piece of equipment that will adapt to what they want to do."
A job that puts a smile on their face everyday.
"Of course sometimes we deal with some of the saddest situations or getting those people get to do what they always wanted to do or get back into what they were doing before they were injured," said Kyler.
At the Old Sabine River Bottom in Lindale, physically challenged hunters are allowed to hunt on trails set up by the American Disability Association.
"It allows a broader range of people to come out and enjoy the resources whether their disability is from an upper limb or a lower limb disability, vision whatever the multitude of the disability, it allows anybody to come out and take part in the resources that we have," said Game Warden Dustin Dockery.
There hunters are allowed to use ATVs or UTVs on public property and must have a permit to operate one. They are also allowed to have one assistant with them .
Scott Bosworth, Area Wildlife Biologist, is glad to see the them take on the opportunity to hunt.
Even though only a few hunt a year, they are trying to encourage more hunters to come out and try.
"We want them to continue to hunt, continue to enjoy the outdoors so providing them that access and ability I think is really important," said Bosworth.
This is why Biologist Chris Farrell, wants to set up a weekend dedicated to the Wounded Warriors.
"We can give back in normal ways with monetary or things of value but getting them out in the woods and allowing them to hunt would be a great opportunity for them," said Farrell.
With the ADA trails set up around the Old Sabine River Bottom, Farrell wants the physically challenged veterans to have a shot at hunting.
"We're really looking forward to it,'' said Farrell.
But, for Hall who hunts on his own land and John Terry, every season brings on new challenges and rewards.
This is 39-year-old Terry's first hunting season with his new gear.
"I was on the internet looking around on the internet for stuff I could use to go hunting because I always went with my brother and brother-in-law up when they were in Arkansas, and I would go out and just sit and watch and decided that is what I wanted to do," said Terry.
Terry also was in a car accident when he was 18, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
He is hunting on his nephews land with...
"It's fully electric. It's going to hold a gun or a pistol.''
Terry said he is determined to shoot his first deer.
"O I know I am.''
''if it walks in front of that scope it's going to be down."
John and Dwayne want to be an inspiration for all.
If it's someone's first time hunting, or first time hunting in a wheelchair, John and Dwayne prove it can be done.
"Without it, I wouldn't be able to do it," said Hall.
"It blows my mind. It's pretty neat it's pretty neat," said Terry.
Terry is now trying to get a wheelchair accessible blind.
If you would like to help Terry raise enough money for a blind, contact firstname.lastname@example.org