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It was a hunt that played out like so many.
Ainsley McGinty, 8, of Madison was hunting with her father, Chad McGinty, in Choctaw County. A doe walked into the food plot in front of them about 4 p.m. The deer stood broadside at 50 yards and Ainsley put the crosshairs of her rifle scope on the deer’s chest and fired. Her first deer went down.
However, getting to that point was a challenge. Firearms were new to Ainsley and seeing through a scope was a frustrating task.
“My daughter had never shot firearms up until this year,” McGinty said. “The gun fit her fine.
“She was able to get on the scope and the gun just fine, but she would tell me, ‘I see it, but now it’s black.’ She would get the crosshairs and then they would fade away.”
McGinty wasn’t sure what was causing the problem. He said it could be that she is a new shooter or that she wears glasses. Whatever the problem was, McGinty had to solve it.
McGinty purchased an adapter that attaches a smartphone to a rifle scope. Once set up, it allows the shooter to look through the scope using a phone’s screen in photo or video mode. It was the ticket to success.
“I bought it and she was sold on it,” McGinty said. “It’s the ease of use with a new shooter — getting the crosshairs lined up and shoot by themselves. With this, she doesn’t have a problem — they’re there.”
As far as shooting a rifle with or without a smartphone goes, McGinty said nothing changes.
“When I sighted the gun in I shot it without the phone,” McGinty said. “After I set it up I shot it with the phone on it and it was the same point of impact. It doesn’t affect anything as far as the point of impact on the scope.”
The adapter made Ainsley’s hunt a success, but many others are seeing the benefits. Opie Thomas is the national director of Hope Outdoors. The organization provides hunting trips for children with disabilities. For some, hunting without the technology-fueled system would be next to impossible.
“When a person is a paraplegic they can’t get down on the scope,” Thomas said. “When we use smartphones on the scopes it looks exactly like you were looking through the scope.
“They can see everything we see. The main thing I use it for is to help people. I’ve used it with all types of people. There was a kid that was legally blind, but he could put it right up to his eye and see it because it’s so bright.”
Viewing a phone’s screen also allows Thomas to make sure a hunter is on-target before pulling the trigger.
“I’ve seen kids who see a deer and aren’t even looking at the crosshairs,” Thomas said. “This helps me control the situation.”
Adaptors aren’t without drawbacks. The phone can get in the way of the bolt handle when using a bolt action rifle with a 90-degree throw. Also, on higher-recoil rifles, it can be jarred out of position after a shot. But the drawbacks are minor compared to the doors the adapters open for hunters with challenges.
“They feel like they can’t do it,” Thomas said. “With this, they can.”
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