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Hunters find no barrier to their sport

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By Stephen Thomas

CLERMONT - The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Bernheim Chapter recently hosted its eighth Wheelin’ Sportsmen event.

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The program offers handicapped hunters an opportunity to enjoy the sport with plenty of assistance from NWTF volunteers.

NWTF Bernheim Chapter President Eddie Orozco said 36 hunters participated.

With the help of donations, contributing sponsors and members from other area NWTF chapters, Wheelin’ Sportsmen clears paths for wheelchair accessibility, sets up blinds and offers forest guides.

NWTF Bernheim Chapter member Bill Streble said each Wheelin’ Sportsmen participant receives a free hotel room for the weekend and provided meals.

Streble and Orozco thanked Bernheim Forest for always assisting NWTF and offering hunting areas for the event.

“They’ve been great to us,” said Orozco. “They’re always supportive. I’m glad they’re also happy to help with this event.”   

Orozco said applicants came from as far away as Alabama.

“We’ve always been able to accommodate them,” said Orozco. “We’ve never turned anyone away.”

Wheelin’ Sportsmen participant LaDonna Brock traveled from Richmond for her first event as a member of the NWTF Lexington Longspurs chapter. She first began hunting in April.

Brock suffered from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound over 13 years ago. She began shooting again in April by using the same gun.

Luck was on Brock’s side during the event as she bagged a 62-pound doe. NWTF volunteers skinned the doe and stocked Brock’s own cooler with the deer meat.

“It’s good for winter food, I have my winter meals set,” she said. “I think it’s pretty cool for wheeled (participants).”

“You give these people a chance to get out and hunt, and they really go for it,” Streble said.

Orozco said the Bernheim Chapter was the first NWTF group in Kentucky to offer such an event.

For more information on the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program visit www.wheelinsportsmen.org or www.nwtf.org.