Wheelchair Shotgun Shootout

shotgun shootout
L to R: Jared White, Bryan Hatch, Rick Werry, Porter Hancock, Clint Robinson is hidden at the end of the trailer, and Greg Larson. Photo: Ed Helmick

Several times a year, the Chairbound Sportsman Organization schedules a pheasant hunt for wheelchair bound folks. Before the pheasant hunt, it is helpful to practice shooting clay pidgins catapulted into the air. For several years now Fred Barber has been hosting such an event at his Payson Farm. Fred has a long history of helping wounded warriors and handicapped sportsmen and this is the story of a wonderful Saturday morning for six guys in wheelchairs.

After folks found their way to Fred’s farm west of Payson, there was a little socializing and then it was time to load up for the short trip to the field where the shooting practice would be held. Fred’s son was operating the farm tractor with a platform extending from the bucket at the front of the tractor carefully lifting each wheelchair and participant to a flatbed trailer. Four men in their wheelchairs were towed by the tractor to a field where clay pidgins would be shot. A fifth hunter arrived late and drove directly to the field, where he positioned his wheelchair at the end of the trailer.

The shotguns were loaded and biodegradable “clay pidgins” were ready to be slung into the air for action targets. During the next two hours, hundreds of clay pidgins were launched and about half of them were shot down. Nobody was keeping score, it was just a matter of “ready, aim, shoot” and repeat. Then the trailer was towed back to Fred’s house and one by one everyone was offloaded. Fred had the grill fired up cooking hot dogs and hamburgers with all the trimmings. It was a great day for these folks who sometimes feel a bit handicapped in their passion for the outdoors and hunting.