A lifelong hunter recently had the opportunity to spot and stalk his first wild game animal thanks to pure determination in the Mankota area.
Bobbie Cherepuschak, was born with spina bifida, a condition that affects the spine. Despite his condition, Cherepuschak found an interest in hunting from a young age.
He explains that as a child, his father’s coworkers were avid hunters.
“They would always send home ether sausage or different cuts of meat through all the animals that they harvested throughout the years,” he said. “When I got close to the age that I could legally hunt, I took my hunter safety course and never really looked back after that.”
Cherepuschak further explained that in his 20 years of hunting, he has only ever able to hunt from his truck, as legally, he was not able to shoot off a quad or side by side vehicle.
That was up until 2018, when he won an all-expenses paid Pheasant hunt trip to Mistatim, SK and wanted to experience the hunt in a new light.
Cherepuschak remembered seeing a mobility chair used by other hunters on YouTube, and decided to dig a little deeper.
A new set of problems arose when in addition to the cost of the specialized chair, called ‘Action Trackchair,’ the small vehicles were classified as a side-by-side utility vehicle, meaning it was illegal to shoot from one in the south part of the province.
A year later, in the summer of 2019, Cherepuschak approached the Ministry of Wildlife in Saskatchewan, with the help of NDP Leader, Trent Wotherspoon.
Immense progress was made the following year, when they passed the law to use the action trackchair for the 2020 season.
That same year, with the help of fundraising and the generosity of others, Cherepuschak raised enough money for the purchase of the chair that would help change his life.
Cherepuschak said that with the passing of the bill however, many small rules were enforced for use of the chair, that didn’t make sense to him and others using the vehicles.
“Myself, plus another few guys, they kind of brainstormed a bunch of things that they've seen wrong with all this and they went to the ministry and discussed it further,” he stated. “And then the ministry actually basically did away with all those other rules that they initially placed on the use of the chair.”
Some of the initial rules, had to do with not understanding how sturdy and safe the action trackchair really is Cherepuschak said.
He explains that the chair is essentially built like a tank and is virtually impossible to tip.
Original guidelines for use of the chair included, wearing a blaze orange helmet, a slow-moving triangle affixed to the back of the chair, another hunter accompanying you at all times, and that you could not hold or shoot a gun while driving the chair.
Those specific rules have been absolved tor the 2021 season.
Excited to hunt in the bush for the first time, Cherepuschak had a feeling that this year would be special.
For the first time, after 20 years of hunting, Cherepuschak was finally able to spot and stalk a wild game animal on his own, a mule deer in the Mankota area, in zone 2 east.
“It’s a feeling that I just, I couldn't explain, still to this day,” he said. “Like a month later I'm still playing the images in my head of what happened that afternoon or that morning I should say.”