Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America, & Barnett Crossbows. Hosted by Doug Bermel – Shooting Coordinator for Bowhunting.Net.
By: Doug Bermel
As a disabled bow hunter I and other disabled hunters have to deal with the many obstacles, problems and issues just to get out and hunt. One of the hardest things to deal with is accepting what has happened to make us disabled and then be able to move on with our lives. Having a strong positive mental attitude is vital in helping overcome the situation nature has handed you. When something does not go right or you can’t find anyone to help, it is very easy to throw in the towel and give up. Sometimes it is just all the little nagging things that pile up and force us to say enough is enough, it’s not worth it. But if the hunting spirit is strong and you keep striving to find a way to make things work, they will.
Having to depend on others may be hard but necessary to get the disabled hunter into the field.
Believe me where there is a will there is always a way. You might have to change the way you do things and look at it from a different position, but there is usually a way. This is where a positive attitude comes into play. You can't look at situational problems and say 'I can’t do it'. If you really want to continue to hunt you will have to look at the situation and come up with a plan to make it work and most times the solution is to call on family and friends.
Family and friends can be a big help with helping you stay focused and positive. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one, together you might just come up with a way to resolve your situation. Sometimes all that is needed is some strong reinforcing and the light goes on and you say 'yea I can do this'. It's hard having physical problems that really hinder your ability to hunt independently. Many times you may feel as if you have reached the end but then someone comes up with an idea or helps you or you hear about a new product that can get you back in the game. There are many ways for you to find things that might help you to get back in the field. Joining the PCBA or other organizations that work with the disabled or just talking to other disabled hunters and finding out what works for them and the internet is a vast resource for discovering things to make our lives easier.
Don't give up, find products that allow you to adapt.
Just remember that you are not alone. There are many disabled hunters out there and some in worse shape than you. I have friend, who as a result of a diving accident is paralyzed from the neck down. He still bow hunts just a little different than most. He had a crossbow mounted on the wheelchair and on the stock there is a cup that he puts his chin into so he can move the bow in position for a shot. Attached to the bow is a sip and puff trigger release system that allows him to shoot. He has taken several animals with this setup and is truly an inspiration to all. Faced with a tremendous blow he has learned to adapt and the main reason was his positive attitude and help from family and friends.
If the spirit is strong and the will is never bending there is always a way.
There are a lot of issues the disabled must address just to get out and hunt. It takes a lot of time and work to get dressed, get to the hunting spot and get set up. I can see how easy it would be to just give up and say it is not worth it. But staying positive keeps us in the game. We realize that life has dealt us a bad hand but with a positive mental attitude we can overcome all obstacles
Keeping a positive attitude helped the author take this great trophy while in Africa.
So when things seem to be stacked against you and you want to give up, remember that having a strong mental attitude might give you a way to see things clearer and help you pursue your dream to bow hunt.
Another area where a strong mental attitude comes in is when that moment of truth comes and you need to make the shot. In next months column I will talk about the things I learned when I was a Paralympics pistol shooter.