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NY outdoor organizations seek disabled archers for hunt

From New York Bowhunters Inc. and Outdoors Unlimited Inc.

-- Last fall, New York Bowhunters, Inc. (NYB) and Outdoors Unlimited Inc. (OUI) held their 13th annual physically challenged hunt and are now making preparations for the 2010 bowhunt to be held this fall. The hunt typically takes place over a three day weekend, with food and lodging provided.

The organizations are seeking the names of disabled hunters who would like to be considered for this year's bowhunt.  The 2009 hunt included 10 disabled hunters, 8 of whom harvested deer and/or turkeys during the bowhunt.

The 2010 hunt will be held in Edmeston, N.Y., Oct 22-24 for 12 disabled hunters.  

“Many people have the perception that as they age or become disabled that the only recourse available to them is the use of a crossbow. However, nothing could be farther from the truth,” according to NYB President, Gary Socola.  The organization has a long history of working with these individuals and educates them about the available adaptive equipment they can legally use to bowhunt with in NYS.

New York has a Modified Archers Permit and Modified Crossbow Permit available from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for hunters with disabilities.  “New York was ahead of its time by creating these two permits.  Their use virtually allows all individuals with differing levels of disabilities the opportunity to bowhunt in the woods each fall,” Socola said.
 
OUI President George Bolender, himself a quadriplegic who was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 1991, uses legal adaptive equipment to bowhunt in NY. “Since getting back into bowhunting in 1993 myself, OUI and NYB have helped literally 100s of disabled bowhunters in NY to return to the deer woods and not one of them required the use of a crossbow.  There are many, many equipment alternatives available to the disabled hunter,“ Bolender said.

OUI prides itself on its ability to provide adaptive equipment to disabled hunters who cannot afford to purchase such equipment on their own.  

In referring to the 2009 disabled hunt, Bolender said four bowhunters harvested four turkeys with their bows. Harvesting a turkey with archery tackle is the pinnacle of any bowhunting career.  “To have four turkeys harvested by hunters in wheelchairs, that was just amazing to me.  That was truly the icing on the cake!”

Jim Sadecki of Connecticut has taken several deer with his bow since 2006.  Jim, an Air Force veteran, was blinded in an accident and thought he would never bowhunt again.  After contacting NYB, Jim was set up with adaptive equipment and invited to the annual physically challenged bowhunt.  Thanks to NYB and OUI this veteran is back in the woods bowhunting each fall.  

Besides hosting the annual physically challenged hunt, NYB also has a Camo to Camo Committee that annually sends hundreds of gift boxes to US troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and also sends injured veterans on all expense paid bowhunting adventures.  This year’s recipient, U.S. Army Sergeant Stephen Valyou will be bowhunting for antelope in Wyoming.

New York Bowhunters, Inc. was formed in 1991 to promote bowhunting, educate hunters and non-hunters, and to fight anti-hunting legislation.  They created a CD entitled “Adaptive Equipment for the Physically Challenged and Aging Bowhunter”, which is available directly from NYB. Disabled hunters interested in the 2010 physically challenged bowhunt should contact NYB at P.O. Box 1157, Canandaigua, NY 14424, by phone at 585-905-0961or email at nyboffice@newyorkbowhunters.com.  To learn more about NYB or to become a member, visit the website at http://www.newyorkbowhunters.com/ 

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