Pheasant Hunting In Wheelchairs
Duane Townsend, left, shoots a pheasant at Special Friday Pheasant Hunts, sponsored by Southern Tulare County Sportsman's Association, at Lake Success Recreation Area in Porterville, Calif. A Utah man who has been in a wheelchair for more than three decades has created a pheasant hunt for people like him who need help getting into the outdoors. (Chieko Hara/The Porterville Recorder via AP, File)
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By Associated Press

A Utah man who has been in a wheelchair for more than three decades has created a pheasant hunt for people like him who need help getting into the outdoors.

Clint Robinson broke his neck after being thrown off a horse at a rodeo 32 years ago. He’s done his best to keep getting into the outdoors to hunt and fish, the Daily Herald in Provo reports.

The event he calls “Wheelchairs in the Wild” pairs people that have physical disabilities with hunters who help them with whatever they need. Many go in off-road vehicles.

“What we’re trying to do is get new injured, handicapped people back out into the field, trying to get them back out, enjoying the outdoors and wildlife that’s out there and show them that there’s other things that they can do besides sitting in the house doing nothing,” Robinson said.

The youngest hunter at last year’s event was 13-year-old Missy Cowley who has spina bifida. Her father loves to hunt but didn’t know how accommodate her wheelchair. Her mother, Cindy Cowley, said it was amazing to find a program that allowed her daughter to go hunting.

“We always told her when she was little, you can do everything you want to do … but we just got to figure out a way,” Cindy Cowley said. “(But) we really did not know how we were going to get her up there to (hunt).”

Missy Cowley said it was a great experience that also allowed her to meet other people who use wheelchairs.

“I was like, this is awesome. I can actually do it,” Missy said. “It was really fun. And I love being outdoors.”

Division of Wildlife Resources law enforcement officer Jerry Schlappi, who helped with the event, said Robinson is a perfect role model showing other wheelchair users with disabilities that they don’t have to give up what they love.

“He’s never let his disability or whatever slow him down,” Schlappi said. “I think his whole thing is just giving people an opportunity and showing them that they can still do it.”

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  1. Anyone who has spent time in a wheelchair or has had to care for some one confined to a wheelchair, know the many, subtle obstacles that had to be overcome to make Wheelchairs in the Wild a reality.

    Great story that almost made me tear.

    Thank you for posting this!

    • One of my lifelong friends experienced a mishaps that left him wheelchair bound for a time. Took a couple of years, but he eventually got back to using a walker, then only a cane. Watching not only the physical struggle, but the emotional angst at the loss of full mobility he once enjoyed was sobering for me. Caused me to not only be even more grateful for my own abilities, but see others around me in a (hopefully more mature) light.

      That being said, I’ve encountered some wheelchair-bound individuals who are in better spirits than most fully-able people. To be honest, I’ve never seen anyone with a chair or cane at any range in my life, so this program mentioned in the article is heartwarming and something I certainly can support.

      • “Watching not only the physical struggle, but the emotional angst at the loss of full mobility he once enjoyed was sobering for me.”

        I had a small dose of that last year with my shattered ankle, and it was frustrating as hell, and I was just in a walker.

        It was an eye-opener, and I just had a tiny dose…

    • When I was in high school in Indiana the town I lived in was very small, even for Indiana standards. The largest company in the town was Braun Corporation and they retrofitted mini vans so that people in wheelchairs could have transportation. It was started by a guy who was confined to a wheelchair as a child and he went on to become a millionaire and was an example of the great things that people with physical limitations can do.

      I use to ride by the company often when I was in school hating seeing a place where people worked and made lots of money, but as I got older I realized the good that was being done in that place in giving people who lost a part of their independence some of it back all while employing people in a small town.

      It’s unfortunate we lose people like Ralph Braun in the world because more people like him make it a better place.

  2. Wow. I don’t know which I should do more…congratulate those involved in such a great project, or ask where I can get my own tank-track wheelchair in Fire Engine Red! I’m kinda respecting the guy in the photo with the Transformers style chair and the shottie. That’s testosterone, right there, for any Starbux Soi Bois readying this.

    I’m fully able bodied, but would love to give one of these the ‘ol ‘Tim Taylor (from Home Improvement)’ upgrades and drive that puppy to work at full speed in the bike lane, with the tracks humming off the asphalt. Don a set of aviator’s goggles, a Mad Max motorcycle helmet, a Betsy Ross up on a whip post, and push the throttle up to keep up with traffic the few short miles from my house to my job.

    Come screeching in sideways on an e-brake skidout into my parking spot. Yeah, that would start off my day right.

    • Pardon my oversight…I hadn’t read the pic’s caption closely enough.

      Tip ‘o the hat to you, Mr. Duane Townsend. 🙂

  3. Pretty awesome.

    Also, from a distance, those dudes look like mini AAA platforms… which, from a bird’s point of view, they kinda are. Doing awesome things while looking badass = double awesome.

  4. Shooting Ranges like Small Businesses usually aren’t wheelchair friendly. And one Gun Store within 2 miles of where I live makes it impossible for anyone in a wheelchair to even access. Deciding to put there business on the Second Floor with no elevator access…

  5. This is outstanding. Some 22 years ago I needed reconstructive surgery to be able to keep walking and was laid up on bed rest for a period of months. I never forget how close I came to living the rest of my days on wheels, instead of walking on my own two feet. As it was it took a full year to regain full strength and normal mobility. Tons of physical therapy, stair climbing, etc.

    So hell yes, it is a very fine thing indeed to help out these people less lucky in Life’s Lottery of “Tag! You’re Screwed!”.

    • Agree. Last year we seriously had to consider whether I would keep my right leg due to one of those flesh-eating super-bug infections. Did some thinking about what life would be like and how I would adapt. Had cared for my mother-in-law during her last years when she was wheelchair-bound, so, we knew the drill. Very sobering. She never asked about going hunting. 🙂

      Happy to say, I recovered, kept my leg, and remain in good health.

  6. Famed outdoorsman Tred Barta spent a lifetime doing what some folks only dream of. Then suffering a spinal stroke put him in a wheelchair. His attitude was get back up and deal with it. He died in a car crash just a couple of weeks ago up in Canada. He was on a hunting and fishing trip !

  7. Do a Google search for “all terrain wheelchair” and then click on “Images”.

    There are wheel chairs for the beach with big balloon tires and umbrellas. Tracked sit-down and stand-up wheelchairs for off-road. Gun mounts for those who cannot hold a rifle or shotgun up anymore, but can still swing and aim with support. All sorts of motorized big wheel, tracked and even six-wheel models. Non-powered models for strong arm athletic wheelchair bound athletes that are made for rough terrain.

    If you so disabled and rich, you could fill a garage with specialized wheelchairs for every recreational pursuit.

    Ain’t inventiveness and capitalism grand!?

  8. Great story. But where is the Link? I’ve read similar stories like this before. The eco fascists have a hard time making up reasons to stop visitor access to wild areas when it comes to building trails for handicap visitors.
    Sadly I’m sure the democrats will write a law to outlaw the sig arm brace.

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