This article was in the DesMoines Register today. I love reading stories like this one.......
Fort Madison man now helps other hunters with disabilities
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
April 1, 2006
Gary Scholl lost his eyesight to diabetes between 1977 and 1983 and resigned himself to the idea that he would never hunt or fish again.
Scholl, 61, of Fort Madison, sold all his sporting goods for hunting and fishing believing those favorite pastimes were over for him.
But in 1990, after a friend sent him an article in a bow hunting magazine about a blind hunter, Scholl decided to give it a try.
"I bought a bow for 50 bucks, and Jim (a friend) helped me build sights. I shot my first arrow as a blind person on Memorial Day of 1990." said Scholl. "I tell you what, it felt like being reborn. It felt so good."
He and his friend practiced and scouted. On Nov. 10 of that year Scholl killed a six-point whitetail buck.
"It has been one after another since then," said Scholl, who has 13 deer mounts hanging on the walls of his home.
Because Scholl is completely blind, he requires a special sight that is used by a hunting partner who aims for him.
He has fashioned sights not only for himself, but also for other blind hunters, such as Donley Weaver, 36, of Wind Ridge, Pa.
Scholl sent Weaver a bow sight five days after Weaver called him. Weaver had obtained Scholl's name from the Physically Challenged Bow Hunters of America.
"He really helped open bow season back up for me," said Weaver. "I've never had good sight, but a few years ago I lost my sight completely."
Weaver used to go out in the woods and just sit. "Gary gave me back a purpose to be out there," he said. "I'm getting all choked up just talking about it."
Scholl now serves as a board member for the Physically Challenged Bow Hunters.
"People who lose their eyesight think they are not able to do anything anymore," Scholl said. "They have to have the will to go do it. If a person wants to join with the Physically Challenged Bow Hunters, we have a whole trailer full of adaptive equipment for different types of bow hunting."
Scholl is still hunting deer, has been bear hunting and has worked at hunting turkeys.
"I've shot one in Missouri and one in Iowa with a shotgun, that was actually easy," Scholl said of his turkey hunts. "But since I started hunting with a bow, I haven't killed one yet."
One of the tough aspects is getting people to accompany him on the hunt, since he needs a partner to aim for him.
"You can't just teach someone to sight for you in a few minutes, it takes me a couple days, and it's best if they know how to bow hunt," he said.
Scholl particularly enjoys antelope hunting. A group of handicapped hunters got together in Wyoming in 2002 with the help of volunteers and several organizations.
"It was just a matter of those guys knowing we were coming, when we would be there, setting up ground blinds, " Scholl said.
Volunteers drove the hunters to the blinds, and left them with their guides and radios to wait for the antelope. That day, 19 out of 20 hunters were able to shoot an antelope.
"I got a nice 12-inch buck that first year and a small buck and a doe the second year," Scholl said. "This September will be the fourth year."