Wheelchair Accessible Hunting

Although wheelchair accessible hunting is available there are some things you need to keep in mind. You will need to check with your state laws as a permit/license is required to hunt. Some states allow hunting from a motor vehicle that is not running. Checking with your local gun clubs is a good place to start.

Some hunting clubs have special areas set up for wheelchair accessible hunting. These may include paved paths in the woods to enable you to get a good shot. Several clubs have people who will help you load your prize onto your truck.

There are special mounting plates to hold a rifle, pistol, cross bow or shotgun, depending upon your type of hunting. Mounting plates with special wheelchair mounts can be used. Automatic triggers can be operated with a mouthpiece to operate a powder triggered gun using solid suction; bite triggers use a strap to attach to the gun – you pull the trigger when you bite on the strap. Chest mounts or straps can be used to stabilize the gun.

These support systems are used by wheelchair accessible hunters who have upper body mobility but may lack the strength to hold a gun or bow for a long period of time or cannot pull a trigger.

These mount to the arm of a wheelchair or sit underneath the wheelchair cushion with the mechanism between the legs. Those mounted to the side or arm of the wheelchair are used by hunters with upper body strength and mobility, but need help for long term hunting.

Cushion mounts are used by hunters who lack strength and mobility. Often times wheelchair accessible hunting also means you need to use a wheelchair backpack to conceal items such as medical bags or oxygen tanks for privacy.

What type of wheelchair you use will depend upon your abilities. Do you need an all terrain wheelchair, or a power assisted wheelchair or a power wheelchair? What are the advantages and disadvantages of them? Are you energetic and strong or do have a lot of back pain and the jarring of rough terrain would take the joy out of your hunting trip? If you want to hunt, fish, camp, or go to the beach then the track wheelchair may be for you. It operates on a track system with wide tracks. The battery on this wheelchair can be charged from any generator.

Although expensive, the power assisted wheelchairs may be what you need if you want to stay fit, but need a little boost when going up or down hills. The Alber Company from Germany has developed this unique technology.

The National Rifle Association is a good place to find out about wheelchair accessible hunting. To learn about the latest legislation checkout the NRA-ILA website at http://www.nraila.org/

Paralympic Competition

The goal of Shooting is to place a series of shots inside the center ring of the bull’s-eye. The target is made up of 10 concentric scoring rings with a score grade of one to ten, the central ring score is 10 points. In the final, the rings are subdivided into more score zones with 10.9 being the highest possible score. Shooting is a test of accuracy and control, in which competitors use pistols or rifles to fire a series of shots at a stationary target.

Athletes compete in rifle and pistol events from distances of 10, 25 and 50 meters, in men's, women's and mixed competitions. The rules depend on the gun, the distance, the target, the shooting position, the number of shots and the time limit. Competitors accumulate points for the value of their shots.

Each competition consists of a qualification and a final round. The score in the final round is added to the athlete’s score in the qualification round. The winner is the competitor who gathers the most points by the end of the competition.

Shooting first became a recognized medal sport in 1976 at the Toronto Games and is currently practiced in 60 countries. Shooting is divided into rifle and pistol events, air and .22 caliber. The rules governing Paralympic competition are those used by the International Shooting Committee for the Disabled.

These rules consider the differences that exist between disabilities allowing ambulating and wheelchair athletes to compete shoulder to shoulder. Shooting matches athletes of the same gender, with similar disabilities, against each other, both individually and in teams.

Paralympic shooting competition is open to male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation/limb loss, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke.

Classification System

There are three classification systems; for shooters able to support a gun without a stand, those requiring a support, and blind shooters (those whose sights seek sound emitting targets). Further sub-classifications are determined by wheelchair backrest height, depending upon the athlete’s pelvic and back strength.

Shooting is governed by the IPC and coordinated by the IPC Shooting Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). These rules take into account the differences that exist between Shooting for the able-bodied and Shooting for persons with a disability.

To learn more about Paralympic shooting contact the official website at www.ipc-shooting.org

Summary

If you want a twist to wheelchair accessible hunting and love competition you may want to contact some local gun clubs to see what is available in your area for target shooting, even though it may not be at the Paralympic or Olympic level of competition. The important thing is that you are able to pursue your love of the outdoors and the sport of shooting or hunting. Young or old, male or female can enjoy the sport.

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