Bowhunters pack their vests with lots of gear before heading afield, but most don’t carry a 2-inch braided string to attach to their bowstring’s D-loop. Most hunters also couldn’t draw a 72-pound bow using only their teeth and one arm, which makes Joe Wiseman’s bow-shooting technique all the more phenomenal.
Wiseman, of Howard City, Mich., lost use of his right arm – and nearly his life – in an ATV accident at age 19. Despite losing use of his dominant hand 11 years ago, he found a way to continue bowhunting and shooting archery.
Wiseman took up archery at age 12, but had to relearn it after his accident. That meant scouring the Internet for the best way to adapt his bow. Most archers draw the bowstring using their three middle fingers or a mechanical release. Wiseman, however, nocks the arrow, clenches the braided string between his teeth on his right side, and pulls back on the string while extending the bow with his left arm. For target archery, Wiseman’s draw weight is 62 pounds. When bowhunting, he draws 72 pounds.
In mid-March, he won first place in the Best Bow Hunter Freestyle Limited after the National Field Archery Association Indoor National Championships, beating competitors who didn’t have visible disabilities.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that the former thrill seeker who “Always had to be the biggest, the fastest, the baddest…” is now the most accurate when it comes to archery.
Over a two-day period, he scored 291/29 and 293/30. The first number represents points amassed out of 300 possible, and the second number reflects how many arrows found the white part of the target, nearest the bull’s-eye …
What astounds fellow archers is that Wiseman shoots lights out with a bowhunting bow, and not a more sophisticated “target” bow with a scope and other target-enhancing accouterments …
And this: He hunts game from a ladder stand, again, no small feat to climb with one good arm. This past year, he scored a doe, a buck and two turkeys with arrows.
With Michigan’s hunting season for wild turkeys opening April 21, Wiseman won’t have to wait long to put his skills to further use. In many states, the hunting season for wild turkeys opens earlier. Before hunting, always check the regulations in the state you plan to hunt.
Check out this video of Wiseman in action: