Shooting hope

Published 11:32 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

People with disabilities aren’t know for their skills — this weekend they are.

All this weekend, the woods in and around Pike County will be filled with disabled hunters who are looking for a chance to land a prize buck, thanks to a special organization.

Outdoors Without Limits, an organization that allows disabled hunters back into the woods, has been around for five years.

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This is the second year the Pike County Chapter has played host to this event.

“The main focus for this is on the fellowship, not the harvesting of an animal,” said Dee Dee Garvin, a regional director for the organization.

“People from all around the United States come to be a part of events like this and it’s a way that people with disabilities can come meet other people with disabilities and help each other out.

“It really is a special event,” Garvin added.

This year’s event had more than 130 disabled hunters, more than 300 volunteers helping.

Most of the volunteers spent their time in the woods as guides for the disabled participants.

“This is about helping people with disabilities getting back into the woods to be able to hunt again,” Garvin said. “We want them to be able to concentrate on their abilities, not their disabilities.”

“We can’t do anything without our volunteers who have come from all distances to be a part of and help out and make sure that everyone has a good time this weekend.”

The first prize of the night came in thanks to Zachary Grice of Dothan.

Grice, who is 21 and has Down syndrome, was able to drop a five-point buck from 40 yards away.

“It was fun and exciting,” Grice said after posing with his buck. “I felt so good and glad after I got him.”

The weekend’s events began on Thursday with a “Kick off dinner,” followed by a hunting and fundraising events on Friday.

The hunters and their guides will be on the hunt all weekend long.

Scott Thomas, who not only is an OWL National Board member but also a former NFL player, has been with the organization since it first began.

“When I first started out as a guide, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

“But it really changed my views on things and it was something I wanted to be a part of from then on out,” Adams said.

Adams, who traveled down from Athens, Ga., went on to say that the organization is a blessing not just to the disabled participants but also to the people who help out.

“Something like this helps able-bodied people to realize that life is not that bad and to be thankful for everything.

“It really is a lot of fun to come out to events like these – I really enjoy it,” he added.