Local TV host helps visually impaired girl take first deer
BENNINGTON >> A visually impaired 13-year-old Pennsylvania girl was able to take her first deer with the help of a local sportsman.
And Aubree Hoster didn't take just any deer — she took a 30-point trophy whitetail buck.
Hoster will be featured in an upcoming episode of "The Future of Hunting," a show which began on local access cable and now airs on a handful of national networks, according to creator Kevin Hoyt.
"It was always her dream to take a deer. She was very excited," Hoyt, the host of the show, said Monday. "I think a big part of it was that her family was there and after she took the deer, we all celebrated."
The episode will air on Catamount Access Television (CAT-TV) in early 2016, he said. The episode will then air nationally on The Pursuit Channel, Time Warner Cable Sports and The Hunt Channel, and also be available on Roku, in the fall of 2016, according to Hoyt.
Hoyt said he connected with Hoster through the organization "Moment of Peace Adventures," a nonprofit whose mission is to send youths, 18 and under, who have a severe physical disability or a life threatening illness on a hunting or fishing trip, according to its website.
Hoster has juvenile glaucoma, according to Hoyt, and has no vision in her right eye and only has 10 percent vision in her left eye. She's able to see about 16 inches in front of her, he said, and also has other medical issues.
Hoyt and Hoster, along with her father Matt, mother Suzanne, and brother and sister Cole and Blaise, went for the hunting trip in the Wilderness, a hunting ranch in the western Pennsylvania town of Everett, on Oct. 9.
To help Hoster find the deer, a special iPhone attachment was attached to the rifle scope, Hoyt said. The phone and attachment allowed her to see more clearly.
"It worked like a charm," he said.
Other than the special attachment, the technique she and Hoyt used to take the deer wasn't too different from what a person with sight would use, Hoyt said. The adults spotted the deer first and helped her get into position until she found it in the scope. She was able to shoot the deer — a Père David's deer, specifically — and harvest it by herself.
For Hoyt, it's all about promoting hunting for the next generation.
"The participation rate has fallen off the face of the map," he said.
The goal of the show, which premiered locally in 2000 and went national in 2013, is to lead by example, he said.
"I want people to see the passion that I have for it," he said. "I want to increase awareness of hunting and also spread the science of it to people who aren't hunters themselves."
For more information, visit "The Future of Hunting" on Facebook or email Hoyt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.