An estimated 1.7 million people with severe physical handicaps enjoy hunting and shooting sports in the United States.
One local organization is doing everything it can to help disabled hunters.
“Hell or High Water Outdoors” hunting and fishing adventure company knows that it can have a tremendous impact on people with disabilities.
Ben Mallon, founder of this non-profit organization, is dedicated to taking handicapped veterans, terminally ill kids and other seriously injured individuals on waterfowl hunts on the Texas coast.
“We started out primarily focusing on veterans and veterans with disabilities and introducing them back to the outdoor life and giving them a sense of purpose again, showing them they can do things they thought were over within life due to their disabilities,” said Mallon.
The vision was to make what seems like an impossible feat possible for hunters like 24-year-old Jeffery Watkins, who became paralyzed after an unfortunate work accident 4 years ago.
“It makes me feel great,” Watkins said. “I am just blessed to be able to still get out here you know, not as much as I like to, but hey, if I can get out here at all, it is a blessing.”
The free service that started 4 years ago, also gives veterans a chance to not only hunt but also a chance to connect with other veterans.
“It is just another way to let loose of all the pent-up energy and frustrations with everyday life, and it just makes everything worthwhile,” said U.S. Army Recruiter James Huckaby.
“It’s just getting out here with like-minded people again and getting out and spending time,” Army veteran Billy Harrison said. “It’s not about shooting birds or even looking for birds, it’s just about being here.”
This is the way that “Hell or High Water Outdoors” can share the love of this sport with folks who might have a tough time getting on the water.
“We like to inspire others to try it. We’ve got interest now from all over the country with people wanting to do the same thing, getting some of these wheelchairs out there and get them back in the action. Just because they are on wheels now instead of their feet, doesn’t mean it has to end for them,” Mallon said.
“Hell or High Water Outdoors” uses custom-built equipment specifically designed to serve their clients. They focus primarily on providing complete hunting and fishing adventures for individuals living with disabilities and terminal illnesses. However, their efforts do not stop there because they also help those individuals in various other ways such as procuring wheelchairs and other necessary medical equipment.
For more information on how you can donate time or funds visit their website here.