From Our Challenger:
Background: Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of taking service members with disabilities on an array of outdoor adventures. One of the hardest tasks we’ve experienced is taking someone with limitations of lower limb amputations off the beaten path for hunting. Managing terrain is one thing but being able to maneuver after harvesting game is even more difficult. The most recent example was when I took a marine veteran with a double amputation at the hip hunting. After successfully harvesting two elk, the service member was able to help in the field dressing but became quickly fatigued by having to hold heavy parts of the animal all while trying to properly dress it. This was the second time I have seen an individual who truly wants to participate but is physically limited.
What I witnessed happening was that the service member was relying on a large amount of shoulder strength to carry on the tasks. What I’m proposing is a device that would eliminate the strain upon the individual in holding and maneuvering a large game animal while trying to field dress it. What I have done in the past is use an inexpensive device that attaches to the trailer hitch on a vehicle. This device usually has a winch like device that hooks on to the game and is able to elevate it off the ground for safe processing away from the dirt and ground conditions. This is a feasible solution for someone with two legs that can stand upright. This is extremely difficult for someone lower to the ground.
The best way to visually describe this device would closest to a camera tripod, however it could be made of thicker rigid aluminum or light steel. The service members that I’ve taken on hunts resented that they were not part of the full process. One service member told me he encouraged to just sit back while others did it for him. I know that these men and women are capable of so much more with just the right tools. Speaking to other hunters (fully abled bodied), they saw this as something they would consider having even though they don’t experience the same challenges as others. The implication is that a device of this nature would be useful to anyone.
Challenge: To create a tripod like stand that is adjustable from 3-5 feet tall at most with a strap or cable. The strap or cable would attach to the leg of an animal essentially lifting it in an upright position. It would not have to be in the air or very high off the ground at all. Just holding a hind or front quarter one leg at a time would allow someone with a disability to work close to the ground independent of having someone do it for them.