Most hunters who head to dove fields on opening day Sept. 2 will pull on their boots and tromp through grass and dirt to their shooting positions. But getting into position is not so easy for hunters who use wheelchairs.
That’s why N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen and Paralyzed Veterans of America, with support from a community volunteer effort called Back in the Woods Again, got together to create a wing shooting event on private property near Carthage.
Along a field planted in April, volunteers have leveled shooting positions with plywood stations that will allow wheelchair-using shotgunners to join the thousands of hunters who will target doves.
“A traditional opening-day dove hunt is a big thing for a lot of people,” said Ed Mays of Louisburg, president of N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen.
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All of the event slots are filled. The participants are veterans with VA disability ratings of 70 percent “service connected” or higher. Some were wounded in Vietnam and others more recently in the Middle East. They will be assisted by families and volunteers.
“It’s as much of a social event as it is a hunting opportunity,” said Dan Watkins of Fuquay-Varina, who works with Paralyzed Veterans of America. “It does take a concerted effort to provide places that individuals in wheelchairs can get into.”
Hunting access for disabled people is limited, and, Mays said, many who might like to hunt can’t afford to because of low incomes and high medical expenses. The support of Van Products of Raleigh, a provider of mobility equipment, helped make this hunt possible.
Watkins said other events will be held. A Sept. 15 deer hunt with Back in the Woods Again volunteers is full.
Dove hunting: The 2017-18 dove season runs Sept. 2-Oct. 7 and Nov. 22-Jan. 15. Download the N.C. regulations at www.ncwildlife.org/Licensing/Regulations.
Wildlife: Fans of Garner artist Duane Raver can bid on prints Sept. 9 to help the nonprofit Serve the Need in Johnston County. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and live auction at 7 at Horne Memorial United Methodist Church, 121 Second St., Clayton. Call 919-218-4010, or visit www.servetheneedjc.org.
Hiking: The Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail has openings in a 1,175-mile one-day hike on Sept. 9. Go to www.mstinaday.org.
Photography: Upload entries by 5 p.m. Sept. 1 for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition. Go to www.ncwildlife.org.
Boating: Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron will conduct an America’s Boating Course safe boating and skills course Sept. 16 and 23 at Resurrection Lutheran School in Cary. Contact Tom Taylor at 919-266-1860 or go to www.rsps.org.
Deer hunting: Sessions are filling, so register soon for N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Wildlife Federation deer hunting and processing seminars in Raleigh and Fayetteville. Go to www.ncwildlife.org.
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