The Conservation Department and disabled hunters are finding ingenious ways to overcome roadblocks to enjoyment of the outdoors. Kelly Barfoot of Kansas City likes to participate in Conservation Department managed deer hunts.
Barfoot has an exemption and is allowed to hunt with a crossbow rather than a longbow. When he hunted at Peck Ranch in Carter and Shannon counties, he was assured that the Conservation Department had set aside an area of the refuge for disabled hunters, and he was allowed to use a road for access to a hunting area that is otherwise isolated.
"My father and some friends were able to take me back in this area and put me in a tree stand," Barfoot said. "The people at Peck Ranch suggested areas where I would have the best opportunity of seeing deer." Barfoot didn't get a deer at that managed hunt but said he had a great time anyway.
Barfoot also hunted at the Drury-Mincy Conservation Area in Taney County. "One of the staff members there had done an admirable job of building me a blind with bales of straw, camouflaging my blind with tree limbs and leaves, as well as cutting down small trees to make shooting lanes," he said.
"On opening morning I had two does come right up the trail in front of my blind, allowing me to take a shot at the closest one. While my crossbow did shoot straight and true, the doe was quite perceptive in that she ducked under my arrow after hearing the string release.
"I never did get another shot that weekend, but I saw several more deer. While it would have been nice to have bagged a deer, I must reiterate that just having the opportunity to be out and seeing deer is a wonderful experience. I have high praise for the Conservation Department employees who helped me."
The Conservation Department has a number of fishing and hunting areas that include accessible fishing docks and waterfowl blinds. For a list of these areas and facilities, write "Recreation for People With Disabilities," Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102. Contact Conservation Department offices for information on special managed hunts.