A major player in getting people with disabilities introduced or returning to nature is Wheelin’ Sportsmen a hunting heritage program of the National Wild Turkey Federation. This is important to know when you visit the Wheelin’ Sportsmen website because if you aren't aware, you will think we are talking turkey.
Wheelin’ Sportsmen provides all people with disabilities opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. NWTF chapters host Wheelin' Sportsmen events across the United States that help participants gain a sense of independence by learning to stay active in the outdoors on their own in between Wheelin' Sportsmen events.
Events are held in each state and you can find your state by Clicking Here. You may be able to find the coordinator for your area at the event sight as states are typically broken up into sections. Additionally each states site differs and the number of events vary by participation.
So what do they offer? Great question. Wheelin’ Sportsmen offers a wide variety of activities from fishing to hunting and shooting depending on the participation level in your state or area. In case you haven’t picked up on it, participation drives the group in your area and funnels resources from NWTF to your chapter for events. The more you do, the more events will get planned.
Robin Clark of the famed Clark Gun Rest is the State Coordinator for Virginia’s chapter. I spoke with him about the Wheelin’ Sportsmen activities in his state. He reported that due to the growing number of participants, they provide numerous opportunities virtually year round in Virginia.
Robin also gave me insight to the program at a more national level. In the upper tier of directors is Mandy Harling, NWTF Hunting Heritage Program Coordinator - East Region, who handles events in the eastern portion of the country while Teresa Carroll, NWTF Hunting Heritage Program Coordinator - West Region, heads up events for the western part of the nation. These two fabulous ladies have the sheer pleasure of making sure that each chapter has the resources they need to operate and grow.
What I love about this program is that it takes away any excuses anyone might have as to why they are not being active. If a person needs an able bodied helper to shoot, fish or hunt, then they have events designed just for that. So, not only do you get to enjoy nature, you also get to gain a friend. The events are at no cost to the participant except for whatever licenses are required by law. Weapons and ammo can be provided. It’s always a good idea to check with the event coordinator to be sure of this fact and on the availability.
If you really want to go hardcore, there is a membership available with NWTF. Of course there are many benefits to becoming one like, discounts on multiple items, a subscription to Turkey Country magazine and helping wild turkey conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage. For a complete list of benefits, Click Here.
In closing, the ball is really in your court. Never let excuses define you. Break through the barriers. Drop the fear. Stop thinking of what living might feel like and begin experiencing it. Contact your local chapter and be a participant!