A Redefined Hunter: Funding for Adaptive Equipment
After a paralyzing ranching accident when I was 16, I had to learn to redefine my life. My future suddenly looked nothing like I had planned, and the outdoors became a scary, inaccessible view from my new wheelchair. I realized very quickly that if I didn’t redefine my life, someone would do it for me. Labels, stereotypes, and hearing over and over how you can’t do something anymore can wreak havoc on your confidence and do permanent damage to your soul. Fortunately, over time I began to understand the vital importance of creativity and courage, and my adventuress spirit returned. The outdoors didn’t have to be intimidating, but I did have to do things differently than I had before.
When I began dating my husband in 2005, he quickly introduced me to the world of shooting and hunting. Growing up in Indiana, my family didn’t hunt, so this was a new experience for me. I started to research adaptive equipment and ways to make hunting not only doable, but successful. Before my accident I was a four-sport athlete, and I hadn’t lost that competitive nature. I didn’t just want to learn how to hunt; I wanted to learn how to hunt and be the best I could be. I had traded in basketball courts and softball fields for a new stadium- the great outdoors.
I knew that this new adventure would be a financial investment, but I was not prepared for the sticker shock that came with many of the pieces of adaptive equipment. Not to be deterred, I looked for funding options that were available to a civilian like me living with a disability. I had come across many options for veterans living with a disability, which is well deserved and important, but it was more difficult to find options for those who haven’t served in the military. You can try out hunting equipment all day long, but if you can’t afford it, it can be a discouraging endeavor. Here are some great options that I discovered:
- The Outdoor Ability Foundation: These grants are awarded to assist people living with a disability to go towards the purchase of adaptive equipment. http://www.outdoorabilityfoundation.com/
- The Action Track Chair Foundation: These grants are awarded to assist people living with a disability to go towards the purchase of an Action Track Chair or Action Track Stander. http://www.actionmobilityfoundation.org/default.aspx
- The Challenged Athletes Foundation: These grants are awarded to assist people living with a disability to go towards the purchase of sporting equipment. http://www.challengedathletes.org/site/c.4nJHJQPqEiKUE/b.6449023/k.BD6D/Home.htm
How about you? Do you know of other funding sources for civilians who need adaptive hunting equipment? If so, please send them to me at [email protected]. Thanks!