As the symptoms of my MS have worsened, I have had to make many modifications in order to enjoy the outdoors. Thanks to my friends and family, we have been able to adjust many existing devices without spending the frightening amount of cash that seems to be attached to most medical items. As time passes, I will add to the pictures of these adaptations here.
My current hunting rig
This is a fishing rig a friend of mine designed. It's a bite control modified Electramate reel that my son mounted on the side of my chair.
I've had some problems getting the scope in position for a good sight picture with my newest shooting setup. Ken Snyder, a good friend from Oregon, designed and built this adaptive base to bring the scope where I needed it. This invention will work great for vision impaired shooters as well as for blind shooters who need a spotter sighting over their shoulder. Ken's got a wealth of knowledge in design and fabrication and is very interested in working with both disabled shooters and anglers in any direction they might wish to adapt. Ken can be contacted by email.
I've been shooting for a few years aiming with a tab at the back of the stock, but a kind neighbor made things a whole lot better for the 2010 hunting reason. My old rig worked ok but I was very limited as to how much area I could cover. He combined a couple rests and added lots of parts and built me a joystick controlled rest. Now I've got lots of motion using my mounth on the joystick. When I get about where I need to be, I do the fine aiming with my chin and use a sip and puff trigger. The rig worked well for aiming at several deer. I harvested one with it in late season.
As my good hand got quite a bit worse, I needed to find a way to shoot without normally squeezing the trigger. Brian at BeAdaptive designed the switch to allow me to activate the trigger with my mouth. I wear a shooting pad that my wife sewed velcro on to hold the stock of the gun in place. Between some shoulder movement and using a small tab connected to the stock, I've got some motion for aiming. Works great with my Nikon ProStaff.
And here's the same setup when turkey hunting in the spring.
I obviously had to make a lot of changes for archery hunting as well. I use the same sip-n-puff trigger setup on the crossbow. The first 2 pictures are of the Horton I used to use. You can see the tab at the back of the stock I use to aim as well. The final picture is me at my setup with my TenPoint crossbow. I harvested my first doe hands free in the fall of 07 with the crossbow. 08 gave me a nice buck with the crossbow and a doe with the rifle.
Here is the Invacare Panther Scooter that I use to get around in the woods. I still need some more aggressive tires but a little duck boat camo paint dressed it up well.
Here are the holster and scabbard I use. Both are Nimrod accessories and are very well made.
I needed a rest for my gun on the scooter and, while there are a lot of neat products out there, I couldn't afford them. My wife and I ended up spending $60 for an inexpensive rest and the nice folks at Bay Steel and Fabrication came up with a way to fasten it to the scooter.
Here is the same rifle rest on my wheelchair. We spent $11 at the hardware store on steel pipe and fittings to attach it to the chair.
I had to come up with a different rest design for the shotgun so we built one like this. The rest itself swivels and the upper part where the gun rests also swivels, giving a lot of maneuverability.
My crossbow rig is shown above. Nobody made a good device for crossbows like the Game Tracker, so my wife and I played with a threaded piece of steel and some cam cloth tape. With the help of the "shop guys" at school, we attached it to the crossbow. Thanks again Jerry and Roy. We came up with the above outfit and it has worked well on several deer.
You've seen this fellow's Binocular holder on my hunting adaptations page but I had him make one for me that mounts directly to my wheelchair. It works great!
Scot Browne, Inventor
Here is an 8x8 shooting house that we built as the scooter does not climb up into my old tree stand well. It stands about 3.5 feet off the ground, and the ramp is about 25 feet long. I open and close the door with a rope setup. We painted the inside black so that the profile does not change with the windows open.
My friend Steve had this cape and mittens custom made at Bemidji Woolen Mills. Both are very warm and easy to put on.
Some adaptations a person can do are pretty simple. From time to time, I use a walker in the woods but didn't like the bright aluminum finish of it so we covered it with camo cloth tape and my wife make a bag for the front of it.