bfisher recently posted of the delight of helping kids. I've done a bit, but my greatest challenge came from a 24 year old "kid." Boomer is a kid if you were to meet him. He is short, 5 foot is stretching things maybe. He is both mentally and physically impaired. I forget the name for what his impairment is. He doesn't see like us. He doesn't understand things like us. And on-hands training with Boomer is exactly that, "hands-on," form him,if you will, to get the instructions ingrained. And ingraining can be a every shooting session.
Boomer's hands are small and to the point kid's releases are almost too big for him. Two years I worked with before his first real hunt. The hunt was a Pronghorn hunt both donated and guided by one swell person, Brad Jones. Not only did Brad donate and guide the hunt, but also had the Pronghorn processed and head mounted for Boomer.
And Boomer's mom, a real 24/7 mom considering the way Boomer is. M&R Bow Strings helped at the last minute when Boomer's bow string failed. Roger must have shut down operations to get the string to us as fast as he did. Figure the call, the time of the call, and string to us in two days from Southern Illinois.
And I'm sure Barry can tell you that cracking down on student, kid, or in my case, a impaired kid isn't something we like to do, but need to in some form. Boomer's attention form is short...sometimes backwards. Now, Boomer dearly loves archery, but when he gets in these moods (and I know he can't help it).... Day before leaving Boomer came up with one of his moods. He is sincere is that he wants to, but his attention needs grabbed more than a bullhead bird dog that won't quit (best I know how to put it). Anyway, Boomer is flinging arrows. Flinging, not shooting. His mom is always present and it's; "What can we do, we leave tomorrow evening?"
So I crack down on Boomer. "Boomer, it's this way. Every arrow is going in the bull's eye or you're going to be here all night. Your mom can leave right now and when you get every arrow in the bull's eye I'll take you home." Mom acknowledges; "Your heard Sonny. He means it." His mom "leaving the shop helps."
Boomer looks almost to cry and I'm feeling like some worthless bum, but it's got to happen. No flinging. Killing shots. I've drilled humane kills in Boomer's head forever and here we are again. So dead line is upon us. Boomer; "I'm going hunting." Me; "Not if I tell your mom, No. She's gone, it's me and you. You can do it and I know you can. Now get with it or it's going to be a long night. I'll tell you, Boomer looked gut shot. Now, he knew I meant it.
The first 5 shots were not good and neither were the next 5. "Boomer, you know what you have to do. Do it." 2 arrows get in and 3 close. "Nope. Not good enough." Next 3 arrows get in and one so-so and one maybe close. "Boomer, I know you can do it. Don't give me that look." Next 3 get in and 2 close. Then 4 get in and 1 so-so. Finally, I see the change in him. Five bull's eyes from 20 yards. "I did it!" "Yep, you did. Now do it again just to make sure." Boomer gives the whipped dog look, but goes to the line. "Show me, Boomer." He stands like a rock. 5 bull's eyes come. There is some hugging (I still can't use to) and some praise given. And I call out to his mom. So I get another hug from mom. Lord! I want to crawl in a hole when such happens.
I get a call. "Boomer did it!" Lots of this and that discussion takes place and mom says Boomer is walking about two feet off the ground. Finally, I chat with Brad Jones. I take it he is more excited than Boomer. And then Brad hadn't been around Boomer like me and is just astounded by a person so...not like us. Brad tells of Boomer downing the Pronghorn with one shot straight through the heart. And much has been talked of since and Boomer's achievement noted here and there in newspapers and the such. Now, I understand a hunting magazine may give forth a article on Boomer and his hunt. More, Brad Jones was so taken with Boomer he has donated a Mule deer hunt to Boomer. And I understand he may be taking on more of the handicap and impaired. I wish him well.
Here's a pic of Boomer, his mom and his Pronghorn.