Hunters with mobility challenges get to do what they love, thank - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Hunters with mobility challenges get to do what they love, thanks to the kindness of others

Hunters with mobility challenges get to do what they love, thanks to the kindness of others

The Wappapello Lake Mobility Impaired Deer Hunt started years ago with just two hunters. This year, they hosted 19, giving these hunters a chance to do what they love. The Wappapello Lake Mobility Impaired Deer Hunt started years ago with just two hunters. This year, they hosted 19, giving these hunters a chance to do what they love.
BUTLER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

It's all about tradition, and the camaraderie shared year after year.

"My dad raised us boys to hunt and fish," Randy Wallis, of Poplar Bluff, said.

"I started hunting when I was 9 years old," Marty Powers, of Campbell, said.

It's part of who they are.

It's also something they look forward to, something at one point these men thought they'd never do again.

At the age of 17, Wallis had a diving accident.

"I went off a swing doing a trick didn't work out...landed on the bank broke my neck," he said. "From that point on I've been in a wheelchair. That was July the 8th, 1969."

It left him paralyzed from the chest down.

While the accident changed his life, it has never defined him.

"It's a matter of what do I want to do and how can I do it," Wallis said. "Hunting has always been in my life."

Thanks to the kindness of others, it still is.

"It's just a wonderful opportunity to be able to give back to your community," Natural Resources Specialist Eric Lemons said..

The Wappapello Lake Mobility Impaired Deer Hunt started years ago with just two hunters.

This year, they hosted 19, giving these hunters a chance to do what they love.

"It's for those who have been born with difficulties, or have become hurt through the military or whatever the circumstance that may have taken place in their life," Lemons said.

Powers has been a part of this since the beginning.

"Last year I didn't see nothing, guess I bragged too much," Powers said with a laugh.

He's the life of the deer camp.

He always has a smile on his face, even when some would say he doesn't have a reason to smile.

"Got hurt on an ATV four-wheeler, flipped over and broke my neck," he said.

That was 25 years ago.

Everything changed. He was afraid he wouldn't get to do the things he loved, like hunting.

"It really hurt me when I got hurt to think I wasn't going to get to do it no more," Powers said. "It's hard to find a place to hunt to get these wheelchairs in and out then you got to have someone bring you and dress your deer."

 Not to mention his inability to grip a gun.

"I can't bend my fingers, but I can lift the gun and look through the scope," he said.

With a special device, he uses his mouth.

"Clamps on the trigger guard, and hook it to a 12 volt battery, turn the switch on, sip on the straw just barely...and it'll fire." he said.

The word "can't" is not in Powers' vocabulary.

"It bothers me, but what do you do about it you get busy living, instead of busy dying," Powers said.

When the hunters headed out to their blinds the next day, they were very successful. In fact, Lemons said the hunt was the most successful event to date with 19 hunters harvesting 15 deer.

Wallis shot a doe, and couldn't have been happier.

"All the volunteers, they're great people...they're dedicated to helping us have a great time," Wallis said. "It's exciting to come back and see a couple other hunters got theirs you get excited for them."

"We just kinda have a good time," Powers said. "If we kill a deer, it's a bonus. It ain't about killing deer, it's about hunting them."

It's something these hunters can now do thanks to the kindness of others, and their never give up attitudes.

The mobility impaired hunt is supported by the following, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri National Guard, Wake Foundation, Outdoors in the Delta, Independent Living Center of Southeast Missouri, SNT Taxidermy, plus many other volunteers.
 

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