Hunters team up, help each other
WINDSOR TOWNSHIP — Twenty-year-old Addie York of Tennessee got to see something veteran sportsman and hunter Buddy Fry has yet to see — two bobcats in broad daylight in the woods of Lawrence County.
“It was exciting for everyone in this county,” Fry said. “And I’ve been hunting since I was 10 years old.”
On Thursday York, who suffers from spina bifida, came up to Ohio to join in the annual Wheelin’ Sportsmen bow hunting, a three-day event open to those who have challenges with mobility or other health issues.
“We pair up a disabled person with at least one able-bodied person, depending on what their needs are,” Fry said.
This year none of the 14 hunters were in wheelchairs, but still did need to have a helping hand.
This is one of two Wheelin’ Sportsmen events, an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The other is the springtime fishing event held at Lake Vesuvius.
“Some people will have heart conditions,” Fry said. “We have people with knee replacements, hip replacements.”
Guides helped the hunters hold the bow or erect the tripod-shaped shooting sticks used to sight the weapon. They took hunters on ATVs to locations they couldn’t reach on their own.
“They can’t walk up a hill or it’s a half mile off the road,” Fry said. “We can assist them. We assisted one boy who couldn’t hear. There could be deer behind him, coming through the leaves and he would never hear it.”
This was the ninth year for the bow-hunting event that brought hunters from Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, besides Ohio.
“I personally get a satisfaction being able to help somebody do what I can do easily and they have difficulty with it,” Fry said. “I am blessed. I have good health and good mobility and can get out anytime I want to hunt. They can’t get up and decide they want to go out like I can. They can only do it with somebody to help them.”