Disabled Deer Hunters

Deer-HuntersThere are many Disabled Deer Hunters that hunt trophy whitetail deer. A disabled deer hunter may need a little help from other deer hunters off and on, while hunting whitetail deer. I would like to introduce you to a good friend and neighbor. His name is Bob Konu. On September 5th, 2007, at the age of 19, Bob suffered a serious, disabling accident while chopping corn. He was helping his father and uncle harvest field corn for the family dairy farm in Northern Minnesota.


The Day of The Accident – What Happened?

I remember the day very well. I was working in my new garage. I was building stair railings for the dry storage loft. Another neighbor, Roy Sampson – a steel worker & welder, had stopped by to visit. We heard emergency sirens. A fire rescue truck went racing by my driveway followed by an ambulance. We ran out to the end of my driveway to see where it was going on. Roy was concerned as his parents, both retired, lived a short distance away. We noticed that the emergency vehicles went by his folks driveway. Roy was relieved that the emergency did not concern his parents. Shortly we heard the sirens stop. We knew the problem wasn’t far off. Then my neighbor, Jerry – Bob’s uncle, who lives across the road from me, raced over in his pickup truck. He seemed distressed; he said Bob’s caught in the corn chopper. I asked where, and is he OK? He didn’t know but said Bob’s dad, Mark, was over there trying to get him free. I said to Jerry: “We need to get over there and see if we can help!” I jumped in Jerry’s pickup and Roy followed in his car. Bob (who has chopped corn many harvest seasons) had been chopping corn in a rented field, less than a mile away. His dad Mark, had been shuttling the wagons of chopped corn silage back and forth, to and from the farm where Jerry was blowing it into silage bags. As we pulled in the field I could see that the rescue EMT’s were working to stabilize Bob. Bob had lost his right leg to just below the knee in the chopping drum. His left foot had been cut almost completely off just above the ankle. He saved his own life by grabbing and holding onto a support bar on the chopper. Both of his legs were jammed and stuck in the chopper. It seems that the belt feeder that feeds the stalks of corn into the chopper had grabbed a shoe lace of Bob’s boot as he tried to UN-jam a corn stock by kicking at it. Yes, Bob made the mistake of leaving the power takeoff running while trying to free-up a corn stalk that had jammed the chopper feed. Luckily another close neighbor had been outside and heard Bob’s screams for help. He called 911 and shut down the tractor and it’s power takeoff which ran the corn chopper. With help from the rescue squads, all those who showed up at the scene, and Roy’s knowledge of metals and brute strength, we were able to free Bob in about 45 minutes as the EMT’s kept him stable. A Life Flight Ambulance Helicopter from St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, MN was called and in route. It landed in the corn field within a hundred yards just as we were able to free Bob. He was in shock and in critical condition. After surviving many surgeries, with many days of therapy and hours of rehab — with a new set of prosthetic legs; Bob is again able to hunt whitetail deer.

Disabled Deer Hunting Techniques and Strategies

Over the years I have built several deer hunting stand sites for hunting deer with both bow and rifle. I never dreamed that one day they would be used by my good friend Bob Konu; now a disabled deer hunter. With some of these deer hunting stands that Bob can use I have built and installed incline ladder steps that reach up to the standing platform; there is also a seat for sitting. Without too much effort and struggle, Bob can climb up and into these stands. His determination to hunt deer is the key here. He wants to hunt deer and will do what it takes. Bob also makes use of deer grunt calls and attractant scents. While hunting from open stands, he utilizes complete camouflage. We have placed tree branches with leaves around the stands platforms and seats. This helps conceal his not-so normal movements as he positions himself for shot opportunities. He stays aware of wind direction and sun angles; picks deer hunting stand sites accordingly. We have also set up range makers. For a disabled bow hunter, or any deer hunter, it is important to know the range of any whitetail deer you are trying to harvest. Bob doesn’t have a rangefinder, so we use old arrow shafts (small sticks will work just as good) stuck in the ground with a short piece of blaze orange marking tape tied to the top. We set these at the yardage of each bow site pin; cheap and effective.

Deer Hunting Blinds – Used By Disabled Hunters

This past summer I also set up two deer hunting blinds for Bob to hunt deer from; from these blinds Bob can cover his choice of clover or corn fields. Within these deer hunting blinds I set up comfortable chairs with cushions for seating and a bow holder or a premeasured rifle rest.

Blind on the edge of a chopped corn field

I feel that Hunting blinds are a great way for disabled deer hunters to hunt deer. It only takes a little effort from some deer hunting buddies to set these blinds up. One of the things I have done is groomed and set up 4-wheeler parking spots in thick brush close to the deer hunting blinds. I bought camouflaged ground blind material made from burlap that Bob can wrap around his Honda 4-wheeler to help conceal it. When using a 4-wheeler, it is important for a disabled deer hunter to get to a hunting stand or hunting blind early. This extra time will help the deer hunting area to settle down as the peak shooting times approach. I also believe in using a comfortable chair and cushion inside the blind for hunter comfort. In November, when it gets real cold here in Minnesota, I also use a small propane fish house heater in the hunting blind for added warmth.

Disable Deer Hunter Safety

If you are a disabled deer hunter, apply the same principles of safety as other hunters do. Try to hunt with a deer hunting partner. Carry a cell phone for help. If you are lucky enough to shoot a deer, you may need help finding it. Call a friend or family member right away, they will share your excitement and want to help. Always let others know where you will be hunting and what time they can expect you back at your hunting camp. Bring extra food and water to your deer hunting stand/blind site. You need to stay warm and comfortable; plan for it. If hunting from above ground, always wear a safety belt and use it properly. Use maps and GPS equipment if needed. Deer hunting areas look a lot different in the dark and especially when going back in the opposite direction. Don’t mix medications and alcohol.

Associations and Organizations

If you as a disabled deer hunter are having problems finding deer hunting opportunities, join a deer hunting association or organization in your area. Go to their meetings and banquets. Get to know the other deer hunters. Within a short time you will make new friends and develop relationships that will open up hunting opportunities for you. Join the NRA if not a member already. You don’t have to be 20 feet or more in the air, clinging to a tree in a perfect hunting area, to shoot a trophy whitetail deer. There are many strategies for deer hunting that can and will work for you. Remember this: The one thing that you can predict about a whitetail deer is that they are unpredictable. You just never know when and where one will walk by; especially during the rut. If you’re not out there, you’re not in the game. Good luck and stay safe when deer hunting.