Sunday, September 22, 2013

WMA Accessible Archery Hunt 2013

On Saturday I had the pleasure to go hunting with Whitetail Management Associates of Pittsburgh.  They set up a special doe hunt for four hunters with disabilities.  All of the members gave up their first day of archery season to get us into blinds, drive deer and assist us hunters with disabilities.
The day started early for our host Ryan, he was up at 2:30 AM putting a whole pig on the smoker, and getting everything ready for our arrival at 5:00 AM.  We would be hunting on his farm where he built several ground blinds specifically for wheelchair users.
After saying hello to several volunteers which I have met over the years, we were off to the ground blind.  By 5:30 AM, Beth and I were sitting in the middle of an apple orchard waiting for a mature whitetail doe to walk by.  The weather forecast was severe rain, but the rain had not started yet.
About 7:00 AM we were able to spot this buck 20 yards from my blind.  Unfortunately it was Doe only, so all we could do was take pictures.


By 8:00 AM several doe had been by the ground blind, unfortunately my limited mobility kept me from taking an ethical shot.  That did not stop Beth from taking pictures.
9:00 AM brought the rain.  This rain would continue all day until 8:30 PM.  I felt really bad for the volunteers who were driving deer to the hunters.  They never complained and could not do enough to assist us.  They were successful in pushing at least 11 deer close by me, but again I could not take the shot.  At 11:00 AM they came to take us back to the barn for a lunchtime feast!
I quickly learned that one of the hunters (Mike) who happens to be a double amputee was successful in taking two doe with his Tenpoint crossbow.   Zach and Bob had the same results as me, seeing lots of deer but were unable to pull the trigger.

Lunch was fantastic and I was able to speak with two Pennsylvania game commission officers about their work in the commonwealth.  One of the officers, Jack, told me an interesting story about recently rescuing a buck from a well and another buck that was tangled in a soccer net.  I also spoke with a few of the hunters who will be joining me this year on my bow hunt in Illinois. 
After a few hours in the barn enjoying the great food and camaraderie of the other hunters, we loaded up in the rain and headed out to a new location using a portable blind.
The evening hunt was almost an exact copy of the morning.  I was seeing lots of deer; unfortunately I was unable to get on them.  Hunting with a disability can be very challenging which makes the rewards that much sweeter.  Legal shooting light eventually came and I had to quit for the day.
Some people may not view this hunt as being successful, because I did not harvest a deer.  I know it was successful because I had the opportunity to hunt with great friends and experience bow hunting again in Pennsylvania.
Thank you to all the volunteers at Whitetail Management Associates for all you do for individuals with disabilities every year.  I’ve made some great friends within your organization and really appreciate everything you do for conservation and the sport of bow hunting.

Friday, September 20, 2013

2013 Elk License Results

I was not awarded an Elk license in this years lottery.  The game commission has the results online today. You can check your status by going through their website HERE .  Good luck to all the hunters who were lucky enough to draw a Pa Elk tag.  Be safe and shoot straight! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Final Preparations for Archery Season

The final preparations are being made for opening day.  Because I am OCD, I like to make a list and check it 25 to 30  So far I have:

Bought Doe license
Crossbow sighted in 20-50 yards
Range finder batteries replaced
Clothing washed in scent free detergent
Broadheads on bolts
Trailer completed
New Adapted Brace

To do yet...

Charge Action Trackchair
Change flashlight batteries
Check Roho seat cushion

Pack Backpack  (cocking crank, knife, drag line, gloves, head net, hat, zip ties, camera, scent free wipes) add tools (wrench, pliers). Sharpie pen.  Spare BMF trigger activator, poncho, one gallon ziplock bag.  Snacks, water, straws, fork.

Change urinary bag, add zip tie
Put bolt into Seat plate
Load Action TrackChair / tie downs.  Tighten spare tire nut
Spare ground blind, stool

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trailer is Complete

All of the welding has been completed on the trailer!  The spare tire and tie down bracket's were completed this weekend just in time for the hunt on Saturday.  It was a huge project, but it turned out great.  Thank you Boo and Jess for all your hard work.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Airport Follow-Up

The Allegheny Airport is having a lottery for bow hunting permits this year.  I mentioned it here and  thought it would be great if they included some spots for hunters with disabilities.  So I contacted Senator Matt Smith with the suggestion.

His office just called and said they thought it was a great idea.  The Senator likes the idea of helping hunters with limited accessibility and is working with the airport authority to secure spots in next years lottery for hunters with disabilities (it was to late for this year).

It always pays to make people aware of the issues hunters with disabilities face.  Gaining wheelchair access to prime whitetail areas is exciting news!  Thank you Senator Matt Smith !

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Canvas on The Trailer

The canvas is on the trailer to transport my Action Trackchair.  A little more welding on the tie downs/spare tire brackets and it's ready for opening day!  No more rolling down the highway with a blue tarp covering my wheelchair. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Are you Ready?

I did an article for Wild this month, please check it out !  It describes how I get ready for archery season with my Tenpoint crossbow.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Google Maps for Deer Hunting

I like to use google maps as part of my scouting process.  It lets me write in stand and bedding locations along with marking trail and travel routes. It's a free bird's eye view of your hunting location.

It's also a great safety net to allow family or friends to know your exact hunting location and plans for each hunt.  Good luck and be safe in your hunting locations.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

20 Days to Go

Bow season starts September 21st here in Pa. and I am already so excited.  I have been shooting every week and estimating yardage.  Checking trail camera's and making plans.

The trailer is at the canvas shop getting a custom cover built, list are being made and gear replaced from last season.  My ground blind is up for the 1st day and deer are walking by it today I'm sure.

This week I shoot my broadheads, tighten all the nuts and bolts on my Tenpoint crossbow and wait...

Laundry needs washed and put in scent free bags, batteries for the range finder and flashlights need replaced.  Time is ticking down, are you ready?