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ATV ‘wheelchairs’ to be available for disabled N.C. hunters, anglers this fall

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently worked with disabled sportsmen to field test nine new all-terrain wheelchairs, or “track chairs,” at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center in Fayetteville.

It’s planned for the vehicles to be available for loan at no cost to handicapped hunters and anglers sometime this fall on a first-come, first-served basis.

The “Action TrackChairs” were tested at four activity stations – fishing, archery, air rifle range and wildlife watching – to assess the machines’ capabilities and provide input on user guidelines and an operational manual that the Wildlife Commission is developing for the general public. The chairs also were driven on different terrain and at different speeds to evaluate their maneuverability.

“With treads instead of wheels and a top speed of 5 mph, the chairs are designed to go just about anywhere – on loose soil, over woody debris, over gravel and across muddy terrain, which increases outdoor opportunities for the disabled,” said Kristopher Smith, director of the Pechmann Center. “After trying out the chairs for a couple of hours, participants let us know how well they performed under different circumstances.”

Eleven sportsmen with varying levels of experience and expertise at fishing and hunting attended the evaluation. While they said they felt safe in the chair and it worked well over different types of terrain, the majority of participants recommended a trial run before first-time users go into the field.

After the Commission has completed user guidelines and an operational manual later this summer, it will distribute the track chairs to four wildlife education centers and some game land depots where they will be available for loan.

Instructions on borrowing the chairs and their locations will be placed on the Commission’s web page after their development.

The track chairs cost $10,200 each and were donated to the Commission as a result of efforts by members of the N.C. Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, as well as several businesses.

Observer News Services

Application period open for S.C. lottery deer hunts

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has opened the application period for deer lottery hunts on public lands. The deadline for applying is August 15. Beginning this year hunters must apply and pay fees online at SCDNR’s website. Paper applications no longer are available. The waterfowl/quail lottery links will be available in mid-September and the wild turkey application period will follow in late January of 2015 for hunting next spring.

The agency will notify only the primary applicant of the deer lottery results for a group hunt. Whether selected or not, notification of the results will only be mailed to the primary applicant. The team members will be listed and selected primary applicants will receive hunt instructions, preferably by using an e-mail option. For more information contact Patty Castine at (803) 734-3609. ONS

Catches Of The Week

• A 44-pound blue catfish boated and released at Lake Monticello by Dieter Melhorn of Gaston County.

• A 28-inch red drum, his first, by Chris Pinto of Gold Hill while fishing in the surf at Corolla. The fish was released.

• A 50-pound wahoo off Hatteras Village by Ryan Lay of Matthews.

• A 34-inch red drum, his first, in the surf at Buxton by Taylor Barney.

• A sailfish boated and released off Hatteras Village by David Mack of Knotts Island.

• An 88-pound Tarpon at Bogue Inlet Pier by Chester Garrett of Clinton.

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