A dad didn’t want this young son to miss out on the rite of passage of bagging his first deer just because the boy has cerebral palsy. So, he built a special hunting rig that could aim and fire despite his disability.
Lucas McCormick was born 10 weeks premature and weighed a little under 2 pounds. Doctor’s diagnosed him with a severe form of cerebral palsy and he spent his 11 years in a wheelchair. But he’s still a young boy, and his parents weren’t going to treat him any differently than they do his younger two brothers.
“It’s been a lot of doctor’s appointments and a lot of therapy,” his mom Kayla told Outdoor Life. “But he doesn’t see himself any differently, and we don’t either. We’ve always just treated him like any other kid, and he does all the things that he wants to do … just a little bit differently.”
Lucas first wanted to hunt when he was 3 years old. His dad, Dan, built a special ground blind in their Pennsylvania backyard that would allow his son to join him on hunts. It had a wheelchair ramp and heater. He even rigged Lucas’ first rifle, which wasn’t more than a standard rifle with a shoestring tied around the trigger. Dad would aim and tell Lucas when to pull the string to fire the weapon. That was fine at first, but it’s not the same as bagging your own buck.
Lucas Gets a Chance to Hunt On His Own
Last year, the McCormicks worked with Hunt of a Lifetime. The nonprofit helps kids who have disabilities like cerebral palsy to hunt and fish. The group took him on a bear hunting trip in Wisconsin. That was the first time Lucas got to use a rifle he could operate on his own. The gun was modified for someone with cerebral palsy to operate. He didn’t bring home any trophies from that trip, but Lucas fell in love with the rifle.
Unfortunately, it was wildly expensive. So, Dan set out to build his own, which mean he’d need to come up with an affordable way to replicate all of the features that allowed his son to use it. He added a digital screen to a rifle with a switch that he hooked to a door lock actuator. Lucas could press a button to fire the rifle and see what he was shooting at on the screen. It’s an ingenious setup that required some special 3-D printed parts from a neighbor. But it worked perfectly.
Earlier this year, Lucas scored his first buck, and he’s been hooked since. I mean, just look at that face.
He goes hunting often with his dad and younger brother, Beau. He even wants to start a hunting YouTube channel. Deer season ends today in Pennsylvania, but his dad said Lucas is already excited for next year.
Happy hunting, Lucas.