Wheelchair user shooting HFT

Discussion in 'UKAHFT Questions and Answers' started by DougyJ, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. DougyJ

    DougyJ New Member

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    Location:
    Inverclyde
    Club:
    North Ayrshire Shooting Ground Air Rifle Club
    I am slightly different to the majority who shoot HFT as I am a full time wheelchair user.
    I live and shoot in Scotland and will do my very best to shoot all courses that I can.
    Balance is an issue as I have a spinal cord injury and have lost the use of some of my abdominal muscles although I am reasonably strong in my arms.

    My wheelchair is what is termed as energy efficient and doesn t have arm rest on it. When I shoot, obviously all of my shots are from a sitting position. Depending on the terrain and the angle the chair is at I can sometimes rest my elbow on my tyre (for supported shots)

    I was wondering if I would be able to adapt something to put on my chair so that I could use when others are taking prone shots.

    The last thing I want to do is cheat so I thought I would ask the question before trying to develop anything.

    What I was thinking about was trying to attach a mono-pod or something similar if allowed.

    Any information or guidance would really be appreciated.

    Regards

    Dougy
     
  2. Pete_Shearer

    Pete_Shearer Member

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    Location:
    Teversal
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    Don't see any difference from the pcp shootings who rest the butt of their rifles on the ground and brace the front with hand on posts - make life soo easy
     
  3. rick

    rick Member

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    Years ago Jon Sykes of Hydrographics fame who is also in a chair used to shoot the NEFTA FT winter league and other comps. Jon was allowed to use a cushion resting on top of his wheelchair armrest to support the gun for the sitting shots, kneelers he rested an elbow on the arm and for standers he shot with the rifle unsupported by any part of the chair. Even sat in a chair with a mono pod clamped to you chair you will never be as stable as someone laid on the floor gun held against a peg and the butt resting on the floor.

    If you started winning you would deserve it.
     
  4. Scooby

    Scooby Pete Dutton

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    Hi Dougy,

    UKAHFT can only really reply as if you were going to shoot the UKAHFT national shoots as affiliated & non affiliated clubs don't have to follow any rules or guidelines we set.

    So lets assume you were attending a UKAHFT national shoot...... the first thing we'd have to do its discus with the hosting club to see whether or not the course is suitable for your safe access/egress as everyones safety is paramount & the nature of the sport means we are shooting over terrain & in positions that may not be suitable for a wheelchair

    As to you modifying your chair we wouldn't have a problem if you fitted a post sticking up to act as your peg..... Ideally we'd need to meet you so that we could decide how you would be allowed to take your positional shots & also if the height of the pole needed to be limited but we would consider the following:

    Prone - holding the pole using any body position in the chair

    Unsupported standing - arms unsupported on the chair

    Supported standing - touching the pole & any other part of the chair

    Unsupported kneeling - only the leading arm resting on the chair but not the pole

    Supported kneeling - only the leading arm supported on the chair & pole.


    Hope that helps
     
  5. DougyJ

    DougyJ New Member

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    North Ayrshire Shooting Ground Air Rifle Club
    Many thanks for taking the time to reply Scobby, it really is appreciated and should help me when approaching other clubs and also to take this to SARPA.

    Regards

    Dougy
     
  6. Deadlydad

    Deadlydad New Member

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    Location:
    Renfrewshire, Scotland
    Access will be a more difficult problem than adapting the rules to put you on a closer to level playing field. As your club rep I have brought the issue up at SARPA meetings in the past, and I know that everyone will be happy to help as far as adopting rules for wheelchair users is concerned. The changes both Scooby and Rick have mentioned in their replies are along the same lines as what was discussed at SARPA. The terrain at most clubs grounds will be a much more difficult problem to overcome, but it is something that all clubs should be seriously considering in order to make our sport available to all. If you inform me of any changes you make to your chair I will take the information to the SARPA HFT League Manager, to insure it would be included in the rules we shoot to. You are, as far as I know, the first wheelchair user to take part in our sport and are therefore the tip of the sword as far as other wheelchair users getting involved. :D
     
  7. raygun

    raygun Non member

    Maybe not much help but to "add to the pot".

    Some on here will remember "MAD MARK" Brewster (RIP Mark).

    Mark wanted to shoot some HFT comps and asked if we could help out. At the time the ground we used was fairly level, with reasonable access to the pegs. A section of our current ground is similar. This is important as some grounds would find such access impossible.

    On some of the shoots we had a club "volunteer" to haul, push,drag Mark and his wheelchair around the course. At other shoots his son did that job.
    We put no restriction on how Mark would shoot and every shot was taken from his chair. When setting the course we had to ensure each target could be seen from a chair.

    It was a successful exercise and Mark much appreciated it. I'm not suggesting any formula but just saying what we did to enable Mark to shoot. The Paralympics demonstrates how difficult it can be to attempt to get any kind of level playing field.
    Maybe the approach we took could enable some wheelchair bound competitors to take part.

    ATB
    Ray.
     
  8. Steven842

    Steven842 " if yar crap yar crap "

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    Location:
    Dunfermline
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    Alloa & district RC
    I shot with dougy and his son last weekend . It was a pleasure shooting with them and seen first hand the disadvantage he had when shooting from his chair With not being able to rest his rifle on anything

    When shooting on slightly UN level ground and shooting from the chair he had no support at the back other than his shoulder and nowhere to rest his elbows at the front add a bit wind into the equation and its double the challenge .

    I think some sort of v-shaped crook should be allowed bearing in mind some targets on a course were/are pretty UN accessible for wheel chair shooters .

    Steve
     
  9. skires

    skires Well-Known Member

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    This is a sensitive and difficult subject.

    Over the last 11 years on HFT courses I've seen people with 1 arm, 1 leg, walking aided with 1 or 2 sticks etc.

    There has often been questions about disabled and wheelchair users.

    There is probably a difference between letting people 'have a go' and people competing. Apart from the physical issues of someone in a wheelchair getting around a HFT course there's the issue of the firing position at the peg. Most people with the high quality pcp rifles of today could hit all kill sizes at respective ranges at the zero range shooting from a comfy prone position. That's not really what HFT is about. Course designers have long since learned that it's a totally different shot on a course when you have to get high up on the peg to get over a hump etc ... or you are shooting in a dip with your shoulders high and your feet high but your waist is low in the dip ... or you have to get just a few inches off the peg to get around an obstruction. Even supported shots can be different every time as you have to try and find the best angle/position on that tree because of branches etc. I've complained about shots where you have to be able to float in mid air ... and I still think there is no need for those ... but no one wants each shot to be on a flat area where you can take the shot using the perfect prone stance.

    So a lot of the competition and skill in HFT is about finding and using the best position at the peg. Wheelchair users will find it difficult enough but they will not be shooting the same course as non wheelchair shooters ... ie those little details that the course setters have put into each shot.

    So it's great to try and let wheelchair users have a go ... but will they be able to actual 'compete' with the other shooters ... even if they can physically get the chair around the course? Will they want that? Will they want to be allowed to 'have a go' but not be competing in the sport?

    That isn't meant to sound disrespectful or harsh. Quite the opposite.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  10. DougyJ

    DougyJ New Member

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    Location:
    Inverclyde
    Club:
    North Ayrshire Shooting Ground Air Rifle Club
    Many thanks for the interesting replies, it is good to see it from other peoples point of view.

    With regards to what skires has said, I fully appreciate that course designers for HFT have to create a course suitable for a varied range of positions but I would like to to compete where I can and not just take part.

    I know you do not mean this in a derogatory fashion but why should I not be allowed to compete when I can get round the course?

    I totally get what you mean about the difference of a prone position and sitting as it may be deemed that I have an advantage being slightly higher up and therefore have a clearer view of the target but there are many other challenges, such as lack of abdominal support. Having a spinal injury at the ten thoracic vertebrae means I have limited trunk control and when going round a course I do try as much as possible to push myself. My son is an invaluable help to me and he shoots as well (16 years old) so when we both get to a peg it has an effect on both of us. My arms are often pumped with lactic acid and I therefore find it somewhat of a challenge getting settled and this is before I get my breathing regulated. I am not trying to use any excuses, this is my choice and I really love the sport. I also shoot vermin on a farm so shooting is something I love to do.

    At the weekend as Steven has already said, Declan and I had the privilege of shooting with him and he helped a great deal getting me round the course. He was a fantastic help, not only with getting around but with encouragement too which is a real bonus. The club we shot at, Cloybank did EVERYTHING possible to make me feel welcome and they even got Andy who was not shooting to accompany me around the course to help if required. He was exceptional and it was brilliant to have him also helping physically and also with encouragement. Cloybank were so welcoming and I couldn't have asked for more.

    I do not expect the world to be flat, exactly the opposite but all I am asking it that I am allowed to use a bit of assistance when shooting, providing I am not breaking any rules. Obviously if I was to start shooting really high scores (very unlikely) it might have to be looked at.

    Please don't think I am having a rant, I am just trying to point out some of the issues that I have and how I would like to overcome them if possible.

    I really do like the sport of HFT and everyone I have met have been really great with encouragement, just like this post so I would love to continue shooting where courses are accessible.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond

    Regards

    Dougy
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  11. skires

    skires Well-Known Member

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    Dougy

    Thanks for the reply

    I'm really not trying to discourage you fella. Goodness knows that it won't be easy for you given the problems you've stated. Shooting from a chair with the issues you mention will be difficult enough. I'm not suggesting for a second that you will have it easier than the able bodied people shooting prone.

    The point that I was trying to make was that HFT is basically a prone shooting sport. Most of the shots are taken that way. In addition to that the course setters make it more difficult by putting targets in positions where a normal, comfortable prone position isn't possible. A simple 35 yard 25mm kill target would be quite easy in a normal prone position. Put the peg so the shooter is lying slightly downbank and then having to shoot up at a steepish angle because that 35 yard target is high up a tree and that now is not an easy target. I'm not saying it would be easy for you in your chair but you are not taking that shot as it was intended by the course setters and how most of the other competitors would take it. I can think of lots of examples where you wouldn't have been able to get to the peg. So you may be allowed to shoot it from a few yards away. That's fine but you are again not shooting the same target.

    So are you actually shooting HFT? Or are you shooting a HFT course from a wheelchair? Can you accept that or do you want to be competing? You'd be competing against yourself and the course and your personal best ( to be honest that's what most of us do ) but you wouldn't be shooting the same course as most others.

    That's why I said there's a difference between someone 'having a go' and someone competing in that HFT shoot. If you are happy with that and you can get around the courses safely then go for it fella and enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  12. DougyJ

    DougyJ New Member

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    Location:
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    Club:
    North Ayrshire Shooting Ground Air Rifle Club
    Hi skires

    I know you are not trying to discourage me, quite the opposite.

    I see what you mean about shooting the course from the chair or from a predominantly prone position as many of the targets are set up this way.

    You are absolutely correct about shooting against myself and trying to beat my personal best and also my son as we have a healthy competition between us for just about everything. Some of the courses I have shot including my own club I have had to take the shot from further back as it was just not safe for me to get closer to the peg without the risk of falling over. I do understand that this is not the same target but it is more difficult or it is easier?????? I totally get the fact that some targets are going to be more difficult from certain positions due to a downward slope or branches in the way but this could be exactly the same for me from the chair.
    If the target is already on a downward slope, I too have to deal with that incline and this is likely to be more difficult for me as I don't have the abdominal support, therefore it is much more difficult. There have also been targets that have been visible from a prone position but from the chair there was a tree or another obstacle in the way, but I am happy to deal with that.

    Some you shoot, some you don't.

    Cheers
    Dougy
     
  13. Deadlydad

    Deadlydad New Member

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    Location:
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    "When setting out courses you must place targets and pegs to allow for both right handed, left handed and Junior shooters taking part in the event" This line is taken from the current UKAHFT course format. In Scotland we use this course format also, as I believe do other countries. The format is very good, but perhaps it should include wheelchair users in the above quoted line. Being a course designer/builder I know the effect it will have on obscured/off the peg style shots, but we have no options in my mind as we must provide every shooter with the chance to take part. I would be interested to hear (read) what Scooby or Sparky think we could do to insure HFT is accessible to all, and yet not to easy for the top shots. By that last sentence I mean, if I put out a shot which is visible for both right handed, left handed, junior and wheelchair user, then I cannot disguise the range of the shot by making the shooter have to shoot through a tight hole in branches or other obstacles.
     

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