Making Hunting More (Wheelchair) Accessible

» May 9th, 2013

Perhaps it’s too simple to be true, and I’m sure my failure to adhere to proper norms of language-correctness will be on sad display here, but I’ve generally thought that humans who are in some way burdened with a physical handicap are more prone to empathize with the most vulnerable among us. It kind of stands to reason that those who must deal daily with the challenge of a physical setback would be especially likely to empathize with suffering in general and, as a result, be inclined to help reduce that suffering. This is not to say that having a handicap is required for such empathy.  Only that it would predispose one in that direction.

Having said that, it’s not terribly difficult for commercial culture to reduce our benevolent tendencies to hash. And when you meld commerce, animal killing, and charity, forget about it. You would think that, say, a wheelchair bound military vet might have lost the urge to harm others–maybe even innocent deer. Well, come to Texas for a sobering reminder that some of us won’t let the passion to kill animals go gently. Not only can the wheelchair bound continue to hunt and kill, but, in Beaumont, they can do so through the generous acts of charity from 100 students at Kountze High School. As part of a trade class, they recently constructed nine deer stands for the Texas Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Read more here.

Having been alerted to this story, I hunted around for other examples of wheelchair accessible hunting stands. Turns out there’s a whole line of gear called “adaptive wear” that’s designed in part to allow “adaptive hunting, fishing, and camping items for those that have a loss of limb function and/or mobility but who still want to enjoy outdoor pursuits.” One such item is “the Beanstalker Hunting Stand (pictured above). Another is the “E-Z Pull Trigger Assist.”

Amazing how the quest for commercial innovation and the benevolence of charity excuses and obscures human brutality.



12 Responses to Making Hunting More (Wheelchair) Accessible

  1. John T. Maher says:

    This says a lot of weird things about American (and East Texas) culture: 1) the prosthetic reaffirmation of masculinity following the psychic or literal castration event in a cultural war as well as a collective fear of emasculation; 2) reifing the value of disabled in society through rituals such as woodland game assassination;; the right of access for differently-abled (see Merleau-Ponty); 3) the lack of “humane” standards in hunting as, depending on the disability, the disabled individuals my not physically be able to “kill with one shot” despite the prosthesis; 4) the objectification of animals in Carol Adams terms as something to be penetrated by a “pointillist” (a type of psychiatric disorder characterized by the need to penetrate others by stabbing, shooting, etc.) male culture which fetishizes the ritual of penetration as a male-affirming bond (I assume most of the disabled shooters are male; guns as recreational and not a means of survival; 5) nature as something to be conquered via technology when the human body alone is insufficient; 6) the need to put the disabled, historically characterized by American society as mutilated freaks on display: here they are hoisted high to be watched by other hunters and admired for their perseverance — no one would bother to watch a non-disabled hunter (or a diabled man in a wheelchair in the street) but here is a voyeuristic spectacle as much about able bodies gawking as the disabled as shooting critters; 7) and the lack of any higher use society may have for the disabled individuals it created than putting them on display on a prosthetic metal tree stand and telling them to shoot away at animals who are ritually “punished” by a pan-opticon like old testament man-god with wrath in the form of a gun as a surrogate for the anger of the disabled individual at American society for sending him/her to be mutilated in a colonial war.

    Please add to list, I am sure there is more . . .

    • Paul says:

      WOW ! that was obviously to get my and others handicap hunters reaction and it work , i found it humorous because you can’t be serious or you have a A B I

  2. Mary Finelli says:

    It’s not just Texas. See, for example:

    I like the message that Deer Hunter and such movies sent.

    • Rebecca Stucki says:

      Thank you for that link to the policies of MY wonderful “recreational” state, Mary, where, not only are those provisions made for blind hunters, but also where today the Governor signed a bill which puts the sole determination of which are to be game species in the (not impartial or scientific) hands of a seven-member, politically-appointed commission (six of whom are hunters) in order to proceed with a wolf hunt, AND waives fishing and hunting fees for members of the military. One would think those in the military might have empathy, too – or at least wouldn’t want to witness even more senseless killing, but I guess we are living in a dream world. Texas aint got nuthin on Michigan, James. Our woods are full of cowards with guns.

  3. How do disabled hunters get dead animals who weigh 150 lbs. or more to their vehicles? This must all be by proxy. The disabled hunters must get assistance while hunting. Please don’t tell me that they have a machine or device for that. And how do they deal with injured animals, animals who are not killed in one shot? Frequently, hunters follow injured animals further into the woods to “finish them off”.

  4. Bonnie says:

    Oh Jennifer, those final words in your post, “finish them off”, had me shuddering in horror. I can’t imagine then how the poor suffering animal must feel as those awful human footsteps approach.

    • ingrid says:

      I hear you, Bonnie. It’s also standard practice in a sport like archery to wait 30 minutes to an hour before even beginning the track. The reason is to let the animal fall somewhere and “bleed out,” as opposed to chasing her, spooking her and then losing her entirely. Prolonged suffering is then actually built into the sport. Tracking can take hours or overnight, and the loss rate of injured animals in some forms of hunting is abysmal. It’s a fallacy promoted by the hunting industry that fast, clean kills characterize the majority of hunting. In some cases, this is true. But more often than not, an animal, whether it’s a duck or a deer, must be “finished off.” I wish I hadn’t seen as much of this as I have.

      And, to the topic of this post, although I understand you can’t paint any group of humans with a broad brush, it still baffles me, too, how anyone who has suffered through injury, war or other travesty, can choose to inflict further suffering on others. I understand personally the emotional complexities underlying trauma, but I don’t understand the choices people make in response.

    • Bonnie – It is a horrible thought for me too. It is murder, after all, just done differently than on a farm.

  5. TVK says:

    There’s definitely a lot that’s messed up about this, and John T. Maher’s comment covers a lot of those bases. However, there’s no reason to assume that because someone is disabled in some way that they are naturally disposed toward empathy, especially if a species difference is involved. It’s even possible that, for some people with disabilities, the desire and need to be considered equal to and as valuable as normatively-abled people might even reinforce speciesist assumptions. That being said, disabled people are not a monolith. There’s no reason to assume that they would be particularly disposed toward empathy. I seem to remember a post in which you said had tended to associate women with empathy. Women are not a monolith; people with disabilities are not a monolith. The capacity for empathy will vary with the individual.

    • James says:

      I hear you. But at some point sweeping analyses requires me to fall back on sweeping generalizations. Hard to say much of anything if it’s all individualized. Sorry if it’s too much so, but I guess I’d argue that saying woman and the handicapped are, in general, more prone to empathy is, at the least, arguable.

  6. Elaine Livesey-Fassel says:

    Beyond sickening to contemplate!!! Those persons who find pleasure in killing are beyond my ken in every sense!!! They and their ilk belong to another tribe of being that I find contemptable!!! And will be the deaath of us ALL – Man and Animal, wild and domestic, land and air and marine!!!

  7. CQ says:

    Anyone remember the brouhaha that developed when, in 2005, a Texan named John Lockwood set up an Internet hunting site that he hoped would provide an authentic hunting experience for disabled persons? Even Safari International and the NRA opposed it. Remote-control hunting has since been banned in many states. See

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