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WHEELCHAIRS DON'T PREVENT HUNTERS FROM CHASING GATORS

Groups organize hunts for people with disabilities.

Two paralyzed hunters from Georgia have stalked game in Wyoming, Africa and Alaska. Now they have taken their wheelchairs onto the St. Johns River in North Florida to hunt alligators.

Tim Stanfield of Valdosta, Ga., bagged a 12 1/2-foot gator last week with the help of two trappers who brought the reptile close enough to their boat for Stanfield to strike it on the head with a bang stick, a stick has a bullet in its tip.

"It was a challenge. I had to hit him three times before the bullet went off. My legs were shaking," said Stanfield, 51.

Stanfield's legs weren't the only thing shaking, said trapper Curtis Lucas, who helped organize the hunt about 30 miles west of Daytona Beach.

"His wheelchair started to tilt, and we were scared he was gonna become meals on wheels," Lucas said.

Stanfield and Dennis Knox are both paralyzed from the waist down. They belong to the Wheelin' Sportsmen and the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation, two organizations that organize hunting events for people with disabilities.

"It gives us a chance to get back in the woods," said Knox, who broke his spine in a 1993 motorcycle crash. "It means a lot to us."

Stanfield broke his neck when he fell out of a tree at age 14.

"We are not trying to prove anything to anyone," Stanfield said. "We are just enjoying what everybody else enjoys."

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