Wheelchair doesn’t limit New York state hunter [with gallery]

Published 1:35 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

David Grice is bound to a wheelchair, but that hasn’t stopped him from traveling all the way from New York state to participate in the Physically Disabled Deer Hunt in Covington County

Grice is lives in the Finger Lakes, specifically Honeoye, N.Y. He learned about the local deer hunt from the organizer Dirk Price.

“I have been here two times out of the four times they held the hunt,” Grice said. “I grew up in a suburb in Rochester, N.Y., then I moved about thirty miles south. I am friends with Dirk and we have kept in touch over the years, so I put my name in the hat for this year and it was drawn. We have been on other hunts all over the country together.”

He said that he enjoys coming to Alabama to hunt because of the weather.

“It is beautiful here,” Grice said. “When I left home it was five degrees, so it is nice to get out here and not freeze.”

Other than the weather, Grice said that he loves the camaraderie of the hunt.

“You get to know other disabled hunters,” Grice said. “You get to know how they hunt, what they do, what they do different than I do? That’s the biggest part, is being able to connect with other hunters. The diversity of the hunt is also great. Like, where I’m from of course we have trees, but here trees are different. So I really enjoy the diversity.”

Grice said that it is not all about the deer when it comes to this hunt.

“To be honest with you, the deer here are not quite the caliber of deer that I hunt back home,” Grice said. “But that doesn’t matter, that’s not what I’m here primarily for. Sure, I want to put my tag on a deer, but I’m here for the friendship. Like two years ago there were people that are still coming and I look forward to seeing those friends again.”

It’s a long way from New York state to South Alabama, but Grice has traveled farther. His favorite place to hunt, he said, is Africa.

“There’s no question, Africa has to be my all time favorite place to hunt,” Grice said. “In my neck of the woods, there is a big outdoors show called The Great American Outdoors Show. When I was there, I was with one of my boys and we were walking around all these different booths and my son stopped me and asked, ‘Hey Dad, you ever thought about hunting an elephant?’ and I kind of chuckled and said no, but then he insisted that we talk to somebody at the event about how much it would cost and how to do it. Then all of a sudden Africa was in our reach.” 

Grice has been to Maine to hunt bear, Wyoming for antelope and elk and big game fishing in Texas.

He advises people that are interested in coming to the Physically Disabled Hunt that it isn’t all about the hunt.

“Getting out in the field and hunting in hopefully nice weather, is always a treat for me,” Grice said. “I know the landowners do a really great job putting this on, and I really appreciate that, I do. I appreciate all the hard work they do, but we get to compare notes with other disabled people during this time. I mean, I get to see how a blind person hunts. Just because I am in a chair doesn’t mean I know how a blind person hunts. How does somebody with one arm hunt? I don’t know, but at this hunt, I am able to find out. There is just so much fellowship that goes on here.”