While paroozing my Twitter feed, I came across this little article posted by the Huffington Post. Here are the opening few lines: Montana wildlife regulators suspect more and more people are faking disabilities to take advantage of privileges granted to disabled hunters, so they want to remove one of those perks in hopes of curbing abuse. Permits to hunt from a vehicle, called PTHV permits, are given to Montana hunters with certain disabilities certified by a doctor, chiropractor, nurse or physician’s assistant. The permit allows a disabled person who can’t get around without assistance to hunt from a self-propelled or drawn vehicle. In some prime hunting areas, those permit holders are allowed to drive along roadways normally gated and closed to all other vehicles. They are also allowed to shoot cow elk without buying an additional antlerless elk license, even in some areas where licenses aren’t available to the general public.
I did a quick Google search and found this pic in this article about hunting. There were tons of photos to pick from that featured folks in wheelchairs with nice looking bucks in front of them.
First, let me give you some back ground on me before I parse this article. I have been involved with Maine Handicapped Skiing and studied accessibility issues in my undergrad program. I worked with a girl, now *gulp* almost 20, who is visually impaired and does more stuff then I would dare to do – my Mini rock climbs, runs track and field, takes dance classes, volunteers at a local animal shelter, is in college studying to be a drug and alcohol councilor, she finished a triathlon last summer and, oh yea, is going to the OLYMPICS in Russia to compete in downhill skiing. Really, she is untra-abled and not disabled by any means. Mini opened my eyes to how normal folks with a disability are. There is really nothing that they can not do, with just a little accommodation.
When I started my new job in August, there was a film festival near by and someone sent me the link to one of the movies called The Harvest. Click here and then watch the trailer. If you dont tear up, you are not human.
My take: anyone who wants to hunt, should be allowed to (assuming they are qualified, have their license etc.). I know how excited I was (and still am) about my hunt this season. That is a thrill everyone should be able to experience. I did a quick search of the Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife website and didnt see anything for a disability permit – Rabid Outdoorman: Do you know of anything????
Montana’s issue is that people are abusing the law and ruin it for the rest. That could be the case for able body people too though. Poachers, idiots shooting dogs… all of these things ruin or tarnish the act of hunting and the tradition of it. While I am not 100% ok with letting the folks who are hunting from their truck get special access to land and roads that other hunters don’t, I think they have every right to hunt.
But – there are enough of you that read this little blog, and cover a variety of States… do you guys have anything like this? Do you have issues like Montana? Im curious now.
I knew of some special regs for disabled or elderly hunters. For example until last season crossbows could not be used in PA unless you were unable to muscle through the ergonomics of pulling a regular draw. I have also occasionally come across signs on games lands allowing for ATV travel for handicapped persons. Then there are special rates for fishing and hunting licenses for seniors and veterans, which I totally agree with.
You've got me thinking though, I want to take a look at the regulations book and see. Everyone should have the right to hunt, but I would hope there are ways to fairly enforce who is allowed exceptions to the normal rules of the seasons and land…
Right. I think I would exemplify Michigan's issue in regards to PA. I highly doubt I could muscle through pulling a bow. I know I would not be able to keep it steady if I saw a deer. But, I shouldnt be qualified to get a special permit because of it.
Disabled individuals are afforded free fishing licenses and able to use crossbows during archery season and legally shoot from a vehicle . . . as long as it isn't moving. I need to check in more to the hunting regs but I believe that is a free license as well BUT you need to apply for it.