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'You get everything back': Adaptive hunting organization makes hunting accessible to all

Hunt 2 Heal was started by a motorcycle crash survivor.

BITELY, Mich. — Sitting at a whiteboard, Carson Nyenhuis and Searra Inman discuss the plan for the evening. After ending their morning hunt empty-handed, they're hoping to come back with a deer to show for the night.

Both Inman and Nyenhuis are wheelchair bound. Having each survived motorcycle accidents, they share a bond over their paralysis, but also their love for hunting and the outdoors.

In the recovery after his accident, Nyenhuis became depressed, unsure how he would carry on and missing his old life. One weekend, his friends carried him out to a hunting blind and they spent hours chatting. They didn't hit anything, but he says the trip was incredibly successful.

"Getting back out and being in the woods was everything," Nyenhuis says. "It lifted my spirits and my whole attitude."

That hunting trip was years ago, but it taught Carson a powerful lesson, one that he wanted to share with the world. If hunting and being outside was able to help him — it could help others too. 

That's why he created Hunt 2 Heal, a non-profit organization making hunting trips possible for people with disabilities. 

Sat on 650 acres right outside of Manistee National Forrest, the Hunt 2 Heal cabin is fully accessible for multiple families to spend the weekend. The trails through the woods are wide enough for wheelchairs or even vans to drive to the blinds, and each blind can fit multiple people, wheelchairs included. 

The cherry on top? None of the visitors pay a dime for the experience.

"Getting a deer is just a bonus, the whole point to coming out here is just to be one with nature and have that healing power of the wilderness," Nyenhuis says. 

"They come out here and it opens their eyes to the possibilities of what they can do, that’s priceless. That right there can change someone’s whole attitude from maybe not wanting to live to living extra."

Searra Inman is one of those people living a little extra. Prior to her accident, she spent almost every weekend during hunting season in the swamp with her father.

After that accident, the swamp had "too many barriers" for her to go in her wheelchair, but the H2H property made it possible for them to get back on the hunt together.

"You gain everything back," says Chris Inman, Searra's father. "Especially with the outdoors."

"My dad won't admit it," Searra says with a chuckle, "but when those little moments come he’s just like, 'I love my daughter,' and I love my dad."

Hunt 2 Heal is currently taking applications for spring 2022 turkey hunting until Dec. 31. Applications for fall 2022 deer hunting are open until July 2022. 

You can find that application on their website.

RELATED VIDEO: 'I can't walk, but I can fly': Adaptive ziplining program sends disabled people soaring through the trees

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