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Wheelchair-bound hunter bags his buck - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wheelchair-bound hunter bags his buck

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HINESBURG, Vt. -

Bagging a deer isn't easy -- just ask any hunter who went home empty handed this season.
But a Hinesburg man got his first this season, and he did it without the use of his legs.

"A Sunday drive gone wrong in May," recalled Chris Chaput. "My wife and I -- girlfriend at the time -- were going down the road and something happened with the car and next thing I know, I'm in the hospital and I can't walk."

The 37 year-old Hinesburg began using a wheelchair 17 years ago after what he calls a fluke accident. But he refused to let his disability prevent him from doing what he loves. "I was going to find a way to hunt," he said.

Chaput began deer hunting at the age of nine and concedes he wasn't good before the accident.  Despite decades in the woods, he never bagged one. He ended his drought in a big way one week before Thanksgiving. "This was like the gold medal for me," he said.

Chaput set up in the woods on private property in Starksboro. He's licensed to hunt from his truck -- and made a bit of noise as a buck came into sight. The deer noticed and broke into a run. "I pulled, squeezed the trigger and the deer disappeared out of sight," Chaput said.

Then a new challenge began -- how to get his kill up an embankment and back home. Chaput's' father in-law, Dave Etsey, was tapping trees behind his home and answered the call for help he never expected. "I couldn't believe it. It just doesn't happen," he said.

They used ratchet straps to pull the deer up an embankment. "David proceeded to use my knife to start to gut the deer," Chaput said.

"And I say, 'alright, where do I start?'" Etsey recalled.

"And I said, 'I don't really know, I've never really gutted one before," Chaput said. "It was a little trial and error but we got it out."

They called friends to walk them through the process and then brought the carcass to the game reporting station. Along with the nine-point rack, the buck weighed more than two-hundred pounds. "That's the whole story and I'm sticking to it," Chaput said.

Chaput said he may start embellishing the story in year's to come, but for now, all of the details are true.

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