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Wheelchair Hunters Aren’t Giving Up on Outdoor Opportunities

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Yes, quadriplegics can hunt too, as more wheelchair hunters are taking advantage of modern technology.

Hunting is a love that can’t be taken away from anyone, including those that have been in an accident and are stuck in a wheelchair.

Zak Baldwin, a current student at Reardan High School in Reardan, Washington, is not only “just” living proof—he’s proof that a wheelchair can’t take away the opportunity to do what he loves.

When Zak was 7 years old, he was hit by a car while riding his dirt bike near a friend’s house in Reardan. He was wearing pads and a helmet, but the vehicle threw him into a barbed-wire fence, which caused a spinal cord injury, leaving Zak a quadriplegic.

At the time he was a fourth-grader, and has since continually leaped over several obstacles, surprising the majority of his doctors.

One thing Zak loves to do is hunt, but as you can imagine, it’s a bit difficult when his extremities are paralyzed. Luckily, modern technology has enabled him to adapt special equipment to his wheelchair, and he’s able to hunt using his mouth.

Zak has a special scope connected to his laptop, and a hunting rifle that uses a sip-and-puff mechanism, which allows him to pull the trigger.

Zak bagged his first doe a few years ago, and bagged his first buck this past year. Not only does he shoot his animals, he and his mom eat all of their game. He has also had the fortune of shooting a wild turkey.

With his obsession of the outdoors, he is finding that his injury cannot take away his love and respect for nature. His mother has continually provided opportunity for Zak, attempting to give him as normal life as possible for her son. They are in the process of rigging a fishing pole to the wheelchair, which will be used similarly to that of the rifle.

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Just recently, Zak was able to connect with another person who suffered from a spinal cord injury, Casey McKern, from Kettle Falls, Washington. With assistance from many resourceful individuals, a program called Casey McKern’s Pay It Forward Program was started to help those who have also suffered spinal cord injuries.

Zak and Casey have become good friends through their love of hunting and the outdoors. Their passion for hunting cannot be taken away by anything and they continue to push the odds with updated hunting equipment designed for quadriplegics.

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Wheelchair Hunters Aren’t Giving Up on Outdoor Opportunities