Whether you need short- or long-term adaptations to help you pursue your love of hunting and fishing, finding out about the choices that accommodate those with special needs has gotten much easier now since the NRA has launched a database listing such outdoor adventures.
“Since the Adaptive Shooting Program launched in the summer of 2015, our phones started ringing with members requesting assistance in finding accessible outdoor opportunities, while at the same time on the other line we had contacts from all over the outdoor industry saying they would love to get more involved in the adaptive community,” Dr. Joe Logar, manager of the NRA National Adaptive Shooting Program, said.
The database marries the supply-and-demand sides of the equation. With it being online, the information is available in a dynamic, searchable fashion. That means the list can easily expand and be updated as more outfitters publicize the offerings that fit customers with different needs.
It’s hard to estimate how many people require some sort of adaptation to enjoy hunting and fishing, partly because no one has ever taken such a census and partly because of the fluidity of life that results in some people falling into and out of the category as time goes on.
Regardless of the numbers, one reason adaptive shooting has been more in the public eye in recent years is because such adventures have been proven to help wounded veterans on the road to recovery. “The most obvious [way it helps] would be the physical benefit of getting out, breathing the fresh air and experiencing the rush of excitement that comes from spotting game in the field,” Logar said. “The other is social. They connect—or reconnect—with people who enjoy the things they enjoy.”
But the notion of adaptive shooting expands way beyond serving wounded veterans. Adjustments can be made for something as simple as allowing someone with a broken ankle to pursue their sport, or helping a person recovering from a stroke get back in touch with nature. Consequently, outfitters have come to realize that accommodating customers at all levels of ability is not just good business, but also provides a vital service.
“The outdoors have been known to possess a calming power for thousands of years,” Logar said. “Is it the agelessness of the trees, rivers and mountains that shows us how short our time really is? Or is it Mother Nature’s absolute indifference to us that allows us to find a little perspective? We may not be able to answer those questions, but we can say for certain that the benefits are real.”