Disabled Hunters Gather in Nelson County

Published: December 2, 2011  |  Source: wset.com

Shipman, VA – Some people hunt to provide food for their families. Others do it to be out in nature. Friday in Nelson County, one group of hunters say they went out for a chance to feel whole again.

It takes a little extra work to get Robbie Thomas into the specially made handicapped-accessible blind. But once inside, he’s like any other hunter.

“I don’t think it is any different at all,” said Thomas of Stafford.

Thomas has hunted since he was nine. But a spinal cord injury in high school has limited his opportunities. He drove from Northern Virginia for this hunt.

“Just getting out here and doing stuff that you’ve always done, you know it takes away the disability look or the disability feel,” said Thomas.

This first-year program is sponsored by Greentree Hunt Club. Several months ago, the club solicited applications from handicapped hunters. More than 100 came in the first week.

“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done as a club, It makes us all feel good,” said Greentree Hunt Club President Pete Rose.

“I like being outdoors, better than sitting around and doing nothing,” said Glenn Smith of Grottoes, VA.

Smith hunts every chance he gets. This is his second time coming to Nelson County.

“If you want to get out and do things, you can do them in wheelchairs and if you don’t, then you can be a hermit and stay in your house or whatever,” said Smith.

Greentree plans to continue the handicapped program next year and add even more blinds.

Thomas says he’ll be here.

“You do what you want to do regardless. If you don’t know how to do it, then you go find a way to do it,” said Thomas.

Most of the disabled hunters are paraplegics, but Nelson County has hosted one hunter who is legally blind.

We’re told the guys didn’t get any deer, but they still had fun.

Reporter: Jeremy Mills | Videographer: Jemon Haskins