The Paralyzed Veterans of America got a head start on pheasant season today. The Birds-Bucks-Berries lodge opened up its preserve land for this special shoot.
This is the 6th year the BBB lodge has partnered with the Paralyzed Veterans of America and other volunteers to make sure paralyzed veterans and other paralyzed individuals are able to join in on one of South Dakota's favorite past times.
"This is part of the Midwest, this is why we live in South Dakota, so we can go hunting," said Vietnam veteran Mike Olson.
Olson said he has gone pheasant hunting for over fifty years, starting when he was 12 years old. When he was injured during Vietnam, his thoughts quickly went to hunting.
"It was one of my early questions, if I would be able to shoot again or not," Olson said.
Today, Olson had no trouble wielding a 12-gauge shotgun, but others needed a little help from volunteers or clever contraptions.
Harlan Temple had a gun holder attached to his chair that propped up the barrel of his gun. He also had a partner to help aim and pull the trigger.
The hunt also required some special chairs. An avid hunter in Marshall, Minnesota designed
Action Track wheel chairs after his son was paralyzed in an accident.
The action track stander and action track chair are made with special tracking that allows disabled individuals to maneuver tough terrain. Today the company brought three chairs down to Parker for the veterans to use during the hunt.
JoAnn Weller, the owner of BBB lounge, said they chose a hunt location that was pretty easy to navigate.
They also make sure that preserve land is full of pheasant to give the hunters a pretty good chance of bagging a bird.
"My aim, well that varies from day to day, of course the wind doesn't help much either," said Temple.
The wind was a major factor on the open range, however, most hunters did manage to find a bird.
"Even with all the misses I put in the air, I might find a bird here or there," Olson said.
Temple even said his chances of shooting a bird are like winning the lottery. But he said it's all about having fun. Something all the participants affirmed.
"It's a lot of fun, I look forward to it every year," said Steve Thompson.
"Just seeing the birds and the deer and the pheasants and everything else and just being outside and seeing God's nature is amazing," Temple said.
Olson said it's they don't just enjoy the hunting, but also the great people they get to spend the day with.