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Adaptive hunting / fishing

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Adaptive Hunting/Fishing


One of the first concerns when people with impairments begin participating in outdoor recreation activities is access and mobility. While most able-bodied individual do not think twice about how they will get to a location to hunt or fish, this can be a large challenge for an individual bound to a wheel chair. As society becomes more aware of access ability concerns, more and more parks, which include docks for fishing, have began making these wheelchair accessible. Various wheelchair options are available to allow for traversing rough terrain whether in a manual or powered chair. Boats can also be outfitted with various adaptive devices to allow for easy wheelchair access, and to assist others with limited mobility to easily board and securely and safely ride in a watercraft. In most states persons over a certain level of disability are allowed to hunt from within their vehicle.



Almost every aspect of fishing can be assisted using adaptive technology and the degree of assistance can be catered to each individuals needs in order to create the most enjoyable experience. Holding the rod, casting, and reeling in the line can all be adapted to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to participate. Adaptive technologies can be used to allow any range of individual to fish: from those with limited grip strength, to fully automating the process to be controlled by sip and puff controllers.

Holding the Rod

Various methods exist to assist an individual to securely hold the reel. One of the simplest methods is a wrist strap to secure the rod to an individual with limited or no grip. Fishing poles with long butts are commonly helpful to allow the use of a wrist strap along with a limited grip. The Strong Arm is one commercially available option the can be found in various models to accommodate those with varying degrees of grip strength. For individuals with higher involvement that do not have bicep or shoulder muscular control a wheelchair mount can be added to hold the fishing rod. Upper extremity amputees have the option of using a specialized terminal device for their prosthesis or simply securing the device to their residual limb using one of the previously mentioned options.

Image:wheelchair fishing pole holder.jpg Image:amputee fishing pole.jpg


Casting adaptations also cater to people with a wide variety of impairments. One of the simplest methods to allow for easier casting is simply a trigger operated reel. These reels make it possible to easily cast using only one hand and are available at nearly all fishing stores. For individuals with higher levels of motor impairment, such as quadriplegic patients, casting adaptations such as Van’s E-Z Cast with are triggered with little upper body movement and require no wrist or finger movement. Other similar devices can be battery operated and allow for casting based on users head movements or sip and puff switches.

Reeling in the Line

Retrieving the line is another concern for many adaptive anglers. One of the simplest adaptations to a reel to allow for someone with limited grip strength to retrieve the line is simply a larger crank or handle on the crank. These grips are larger than a normal grip on the crank lever, and are similar to other adaptive grips. . Reels such as the Strike Fighter allow the user to fish with one hand by using leg muscles to pump the rod and retrieve the line. For those who cannot manually retrieve a line using an available upper extremity battery operated models also exist. The Elec-Tra-Mate and John’s Reel are battery powered options that can run off the user’s wheelchair power source or their own rechargeable battery and retrieve the line automatically or according to user commands given by sip and puff controls. Terminal devices are also available for amputees who desire to crank the reel with their amputated limb.



Similar to fishing, adaptations for hunting are usually widely varied in the amount of assistance given based on the individual needs of the user. Adaptations are available for almost any weapon, so it makes hunting an option for individuals whether they desire to hunt with a bow, rifle, or shotgun. Many times problems with grip strength can be solved with a wrist strap. Terminal devices are also available for amputee outdoorsmen who wish to fire a weapon safely. In many cases, the use of a lower caliber weapon can assist in making the aiming and firing multiple rounds safely and securely. Many adaptive blinds can be commercially purchased to allow those in a wheelchair or who cannot access a tree stand to maintain a stationary camouflaged location easily.


Various stands exist to assist with holding and aiming the weapon. These stands can be as simple as a barrel stand for a rifle, used by many able bodied marksmen, or as complex as a joystick or sip and puff operated wheelchair mount. Joysticks and head controls are available in many of these stands to allow for accurate aiming of the firearm. While adaptive weapons are available it is also possible to modify the firing mechanism of the weapon to be controlled by simply pressing a button or by sip and puff controls so the user does not even need to have finger flexion capabilities. People with impaired balance may also want to consider an assistive aid to help support them while standing or to shoot from a seated position. arm dove hunt 2.jpg

Scoping adaptations are also available for those who cannot use a scope in the traditional manner.



Strong Arm-

One Armed Dove Hunt-

Mounted Crossbow-

Elec-Tra-Mate Reel-

Adaptive Fishing Equipment-