January 3, 2014
A few hunters in wheelchairs are taking care of the increasing deer population in Fluvanna County and helping out the Sheriff’s Department in the process.
“We started talking about what we could do to try to address the thinning of the population here in a regulated way and a safe manner,” says Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington.
On Friday morning members of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen of Virginia went out to Pleasant Grove in Fluvanna Co. for the 2nd Annual Deer Hunt.
The Fluvanna Co. Parks and Recreation Department set up a private hunt, allowing them to access the woods in their wheelchairs and shoot a few deer.
“Hunting season, everyone is out hunting so everyone is running deer, so they're running everywhere,” says Washington. “But just in general the deer population in the county has grown tremendously, so this will definitely help with the population.”
For people in wheelchairs, hunting is difficult without being able to get up high in a tree stand. However, several special tree blinds were set up for the hunt, lifting the Wheelin’ Sportsmen to a better view.
“This little blind allows me to see a whole lot more movement,” says Robbie Thomas, who has been unable to walk since he was 17-years-old following a car accident.
“I feel like I've overcome a lot of difficulties,” says Thomas. “I've done everything and more.”
Thomas stays active with tennis, skiing and teaching physical education for elementary school students. The hunt is one more activity he can enjoy and hopes to shoot at least one deer while he’s out.
The Wheelin’ Sportsmen is a national organization affiliated with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). It is one of the largest wheelchair sportsmen groups in the country.