A Challenging Hunt

Todd Branin installing the triggering device for Kyle Sorenson Photo: Ed Helmick

By Ed Helmick

When a sportsman talks about a challenging hunt you are normally dealing with issues of rugged terrain or bad weather. When Kenneth Vaughn of the Chairbound Sportsman Organization talks about a challenging hunt it is about the special arrangements and volunteers needed to make a hunt possible for a handicapped person. They like to experience the outdoors and the experience of hunting like the rest of us who are not as physically challenged.

One such hunt occurred a few weeks ago for Kyle Sorenson.

Kyle is a 22-year-old quadriplegic, paralyzed below the neck from a car accident that occurred 3 days before his 8th birthday. He uses a ventilator and speaks well with a good memory. His cousin Jason Peel has been an active hunter despite a work injury that left him a paraplegic for the past 18 years since the accident. Having participated with many outdoor adventures with the Chairbound Sportsman organization Jason wanted Kyle to experience a hunt. Arrangements were made for a ram sheep hunt on the ranch property of Dave Shepard near Levan, Utah. This was Jason’s first time to hunt for ram sheep.

On the morning of the hunt, Kyle was accompanied by his dad Gary Sorenson and nurse Mario. Tony Thurber provided a 4 seat ATV and Todd Branin provided a “puff trigger device” to fire the rifle. This is a device that attaches by a Velcro strap to the rifle and electrically pulls the trigger activated by Kyle sucking on a tube (despite the fact the device is called a puff trigger). It took a while to get everything set up with the triggering device which is battery powered. After everything was rigged up Kyle and Jason did some impressive target practicing. Then it was off in a small convoy of ATVs to venture up the mountain looking for ram sheep.

Kyle on the right and Jason on the left with their ram sheep.
Photo: Ed Helmick

It is called a hunt because it took a while to locate the game. Then while the gun was being set up, the pair of rams went out of sight in a ravine. Now more searching and waiting, but the gun and triggering device were ready. Then, the sheep were spotted again. After waiting for the best shot both Kyle and Jason got a ram sheep. The animals were loaded into a couple ATVs and it was back to the initial staging area for a lunch prepared by the Shepard family.

After the event, Kyle’s dad wrote a note to Kenneth Vaughn that Kyle was beaming from ear to ear with a big smile and he can’t stop talking about it. Now he wants to go again. He was thankful for what the Chairbound Sportsman Organization does. It gives new meaning to a challenging hunt.

Chairbound Sportsman provides a great service to those who may otherwise have to miss out on hunting. If you are interested in donating, volunteering or seeking a hunting trip, visit their website at www.chairboundsportsman.org. Or, all Kenneth Vaughn’s at 801-499-9770 he is happy and available to talk about Chairbound Sportsman.