Predators & Small Game
Real(Tree) People: Trevor Baucom
Last year, Smith & Wesson announced that Trevor Baucom would be joining its elite shooting team. Baucom, an Army veteran, is not the first former military member to shoot on the team. He is, though, the first team member who rolls up to the firing line in a wheelchair.
Baucom served in the Army for 13 years, a career cut short when the Blackhawk helicopter he piloted crashed during a nighttime assault mission in Afghanistan. Paralyzed from the waist down, he returned to the U.S., to his wife, Jill, and their three children and to rebuilding a life for himself and his family.
We are honored Trevor talked to us about hunting and shooting and his life after the crash. He lives in Clarksville, Tenn., but you probably won’t find him home every day, as he travels the country competing, coaching soccer, helping at Wounded Warrior events and hunting.
When did you start hunting?
After I came into the Army. I grew up in the city near Dallas, Texas. My first hunt was a whitetail hunt at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. Jill’s not the biggest fan of venison, so I usually turn it into jerky and the kids and I – we’d eat it all day!
If you had an outdoor bucket list of species that you’d love to hunt, what would you choose?
Probably mule deer. Get out on some of those hunts out West. But, that’s a problem, though, because you really can’t do that in a wheelchair. Maybe elk … try that out. I really just like to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
You mentioned that you have a good friend who helps you when you hunt?
His name is Jeff Lamprecht. He’s still in the Army. I met him on the last deployment and I didn’t really even know him. After my crash and after I got out of the hospital, he came over to the house and just started helping out. … We had guys in the house, just completely tearing it up to make it wheelchair accessible, and he came over one day when Jill was clearing out a walk-in closet to make it into an elevator, and he just jumped in and started moving everything.
My rehab was one hour and 20 minutes away, three times a week, and neither one of us wanted to leave the contractors alone in the house. Jeff had come back from deployment to have some surgery on nerves in his elbows, so he volunteered to drive me down there and back for two-and-a-half months. That’s six or seven hours a day! And then without even asking me, he set up a hunt. … The only day that he could set this hunt up was the night before he had to go to Afghanistan, and with his wife and daughters at home, that says a lot to me. He’s a good friend.
What camo do you wear?
I wear a camo jacket in a blind and I wrap an Army poncho liner on my legs if it’s cold out.
You have to take special care with extremities, don’t you?
I can’t sense heat or cold below the waist, I can’t feel anything below the waist, and that’s why I have that blanket with me. I just wrap it up and hopefully it’ll keep my legs warm enough and I can keep on going.
You just keep on, don’t you?
When you get an injury like this you can either be pissed off about it and bitter, you can sit around and pout about it and say, “Why me?” or just deal with it and live. If it weren’t for Jill, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the stuff that I do. She has put up with more than any wife should have to. The kids, they had no say about me being in the Army. My 13-year-old has picked up most of the “man chores” in the house. All the kids have done more, and it stinks that they have to do that, but they’ve done well by it.
Do you wear camo to wear a lifestyle statement?
I have a Realtree hat at the house, and I’ve had it so long and it’s dingy … and some hats just don’t work and some always work.
Where have you hunted?
Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. I’ve got a hunt set up this fall in Texas through Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA). They did a range day in San Antonio last Veteran’s Day. I was at that one. On June 16, they’re having another range day in North Carolina and I’ll be going to that.
What they are doing is really good. Through them I met a guy in San Antonio that owns Triple H Ranch, and they do HAVA hunts, and he has offered to take me out hunting. They have some really nice deer down that way. There are a lot of people supporting HAVA and so that’s why I’m in with them, helping them out at range days, helping to spread the word, help them draw more of a crowd.
What’s going on with your Smith & Wesson career?
We’ve already done the SHOT Show, the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) Indoor Nationals and now, the NRA Show and Annual Meeting. In May we have the Bianchi Cup in Columbia, Mo. We’re looking at shooting Bullseye at Camp Perry. We’re doing a couple of HAVA events and the Steel Challenge World Shoot in Florida in, I want to say, it’s October [He looks over at Jill]. She says it’s November, and she’s probably right and I’m probably wrong.
Why is Smith & Wesson a good fit for you?
I got involved with this whole thing because the place I was doing the rehab was right next door to the Shooting USA production studio. So I was in and out, doing rehab three times a week, and I ran into Jim Scoutten there, and so we started talking. Jim’s got a son who is an Army Ranger, and I did my first five years in the Army as an Army Ranger. He had the idea to do a show on handicapped guys with concealed carry, and then, that turned into, “Hey, let’s try to open up the shooting sports to people with disabilities.”
For Smith & Wesson, and the shooting industry, it opens up a new market – to sell to people with disabilities. But, it’s also reaching out and helping people. The goal is to try to bring people with disabilities out, get them involved in a sport that they can compete in.
Smith & Wesson gave me this opportunity. Several other companies have jumped in to help me in this endeavor. Atlanta Arms and Ammo has kept me supplied with ammo for training and competition. Safariland built the holster rig I use as well as my wheelchair gloves. Ithaca Gun Company is getting me into shotguns and sporting clays. Nevco Targets helped me with steel targets for training and The Outdoor Channel is going to get us on the air to spread the word and get the message out that people with disabilities can compete in the shooting sports.
Tell me about your M&P.
It’s just fantastic. The one that I use for production competition is a 9mm Pro Series, and I’ve got a little more than 30,000 rounds through it and I’ve had three jams. One malfunction was magazine induced, so I tossed the magazine. The slide stop on one side broke, and that was a problem with the early M&Ps and they’ve since fixed it. Once I cleared that malfunction, it ran perfectly with half a slide stop. And the third one, I didn’t clean the gun until about 7,000 rounds and so it finally failed!
Tsk tsk …
Yeah, so I wiped it down and it’s running like a champion. You can’t ask for anything more reliable.
I just signed with Ithaca Shotguns. I’m going start getting into the trap and skeet stuff. I’ve not done that before … I’m going to spend a lot of time with their shotguns. Nashville actually has one of the only handicapped-accessible sporting clays facilities in the country. Every year they have a fundraising shoot there for people in wheelchairs, and they bring a lot of teenagers in wheelchairs and give them a professional instructor, and then, the kids compete.
Especially for younger kids, they’re sitting in school, they’re maybe the only ones in wheelchairs and they’re getting stared at and they don’t know how to handle that, and it let’s them see that there are other people going through the same thing. It also helps to build their body core and self-esteem. It’s just like a kid who is overweight. They have to deal with the same thing. And it gives them a new group of friends and something they can compete in.
So I’m looking to help expand that.
Did you ever think that you’d be a spokesperson like this for a major company? You’re changing people’s lives.
Nah. I coach a traveling soccer team, too, and I roll up to the field and I know people wonder, “How the heck are you going to coach?” … I can’t demonstrate, but I have to figure out a way to show them. Parents request me all the time.
Before I was in a wheelchair, my kids and I played ball every day in the back yard. And, I’d go out to the school and have lunch with them.
Do you eat the hot lunch?
No way, I pick up Subway. I never was a fan of school lunch, but I do like to go out to recess with them!
What do you wish the hunting industry would make for disabled hunters?
There are new things coming out all the time. Smith & Wesson is in the process of buying me a motorized wheelchair with tracks that is built to take people confined to a chair like myself, out into the woods. The inventor’s son is paralyzed so he invented this to help him.
There is a trigger mechanism called a sip and puff trigger made for quadriplegics. They are able to actuate the trigger by blowing into a straw. There are lots of other neat little inventions. In my opinion, the biggest need for disabled hunters is a friend to help. It takes someone to help them into the woods, to help them set up, and to help clean and drag the harvest. Access to accessible land is also crucial.
On the veteran side of the house, organizations like HAVA (Honored American Veterans Afield) work to get disabled veterans into the woods. Landowners give access to their property and guides take disabled vets out on hunting trips. Without that the organization would not be able to get veterans out hunting. The organization holds “range days” for disabled veterans and their families. The range days are hosted at various places. There are some demonstrations and several members of the industry like Smith & Wesson donate firearms and personnel. Veterans and their families get to go from one station to another and shoot various firearms and see some of the adaptive equipment that is available.
Smith & Wesson donated $50,000 to HAVA at this year’s SHOT show. That money goes to purchase things like the track chair and other adaptive hunting supplies. They also use the money to pay for travel for veterans on these trips.
Submitted on August 14, 2012