Physically disabled son and hunting options

workethic

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
49
Hello again everyone! As I wrap up the planning on my hunts this year my thought continually wander to how I am going to plan for my son's future hunts. He is 7 years old and has distal arthrogryposis (I may have spelled that incorrectly) Basically the cartilage in his feet and ankles is like bone. He has undergone surgeries to help with mobility and to correct the deformities. He also has physical therapy 2-3 times per week. He can walk well, but cant physically run or jump and has problems with stability. He also has very little muscle on his lower legs, but has an extremely strong core, back and thighs (his calf muscle development is a result of the arthrogryposis). I want him to experience any forms of hunting he wants, but I also want him to find his limitations on his own. I wont be setting them for him, but I dont want to set him up for failure either. I am using these next 5-7 years to find places I think he could at least handle physically, but at the same time find his limitations. Primary species would be deer and elk. I know he can handle going to eastern montana for deer, so there may be some future in elk hunting there if he can draw a tag. I was also thinking that he may have to get used to late season hunts in the west as animals tend to move lower in elevation making the terrain a little less rugged. I can see future problems with him carrying a heavy pack as well. There is also the issue of finding a good boot for him as his feet still have some deformity and he has more surgeries in his future as he grows, but I will tackle that when it's time. This little guy is my hero and gives me hope every day. I have never heard him complain about his feet or use them as an excuse. I have learned a lot from his attitude and how he sets his mind to do something even when the odds are against him.

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on this situation? Steps you may take or areas you would consider?
Thanks in advance!
 

MattB

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Sep 29, 2012
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Stand hunting would be a good start, and then maybe some short spot/stalk in easier country.

Good for you to let him find his level. IMO the worst thing a parent can do is define for them what they are incapable of. Outdoor write Bill Krenz had a great saying (paraphrasing) "don't let the things you can't do keeping you from doing the things you can do."
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
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84
Take a look at arizona for youth hunting seasons. Units 6/10 are good for cow kid hunts. They have a great mentored youth hunting program (rabbit, javelina, deer and elk) and there units you can pick that are relatively easy and other ones that crank up the terrain.
 

Rich M

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Jun 14, 2017
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Orlando
Antelope are actually pretty easy when you break from the stigma of spot and stalk and road hunting. Find an area they work through and they'll be back tomorrow.

Might be an easy hunt for you guys.

Best wishes!
 
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HoneyDew

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Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Messages
99
Antelope are actually pretty easy when you break from the stigma of spot and stalk and road hunting. Find an area they work through and they'll be back tomorrow.

Might be an easy hunt for you guys.

Best wishes!
Antelope would be a good start. Get him used to longish rifle shots on relatively flat ground. Work up from there.
 

Fridaythe13th

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Aug 8, 2018
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Minnesota
Take a summer vacation to Colorado. Test his skills and gain some confidence walking mountain trails. Have fun
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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Nebraska has very cheap non-resident over the counter options for youth. The average landowner here typically is open to kids hunting, especially during the late seasons.
 

archp625

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Jan 17, 2018
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St. Joseph, Missouri
I do not want to look at your son as having a disability. He can do anything he puts his mind to. On a side note I would still start a kid on an antelope hunt to gauge their interest. Its a fun cheap hunt. My son is only 2.5 years old. I hope to get him out to hunt antelope when hes 5. Not as the shooter but as a co-captain and camping mate.
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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I do not want to look at your son as having a disability. He can do anything he puts his mind to. On a side note I would still start a kid on an antelope hunt to gauge their interest. Its a fun cheap hunt. My son is only 2.5 years old. I hope to get him out to hunt antelope when hes 5. Not as the shooter but as a co-captain and camping mate.
Nebraska non-resident youth deer permits are $8. The tag is good for several months and covers many different weapon options. I'm not aware of any tags cheaper than that or that offer more flexibility. I agree antelope is fun and typically pretty easy but it's a lot more expensive to gauge hunter interest.
 

MTPipeliner

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Apr 8, 2020
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Small game like rabbits and squirrels are great for kids to get some experience on and can be as challenging as you want to make it.
 

hodgeman

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Mar 4, 2012
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Delta Junction, AK
Duck hunting is a total hoot.

He can be physical with limited walking by paddling canoes, etc. and waders are pretty forgiving to all sizes and shapes of feet.

As a bonus, there's usually a whole lot of shooting to be done which most kids like.
 

Shraggs

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Jan 24, 2014
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567
Location
Zeeland, MI
Having two special needs boys of my own (very different scenario than yours), I completely agree with the above comment about a trip to Colorado to test physical limitations.

break a hunt down into the elements first and create trips or events to gauge or set milestones of mastery for him. Hiking and camping at elevation will provide a lot of learning about his ability. Shooting, yes from a bench, but quickly transition to field conditions from real world conditions, etc. as he matures he may conquer some and not others. Then you’ll have better data to know if stand hunting is the best and not something he will feel slighted on vs elk hunting say. Maybe small game or birding is too much uneven ground walking, but still hunting squirrels with a 22 is doable. Etc.

Not to knock at all the post of the wonderful machines used to get handicap folks into nature - he sounds like he’s determined and this may not be something I present to him unless he researched and proposed it.
I’d be hopeful my kid wanted to hunt, but maybe he’ll like hockey or chess, idk. You know let him see your joy and want to be apart of it and subconsciously steer his interest.
 

Terrence M

Newbie
Joined
Mar 2, 2020
Messages
4
I’m not much of a help on lower 48 big game hunting but if you guys live near decent duck hunting I’d take him out for that. Should be plenty of action and a great way to get him into the outdoors. Even now I’d take a duck hunt in the marsh with my dad over running around in the mountains chasing big game but everyone has their own preferences.
 

dtrkyman

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Oct 2, 2014
Messages
574
Turkeys, accessible typically, can be had in easy terrain and are interactive!


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