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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Opportunities for the Disabled Outdoorsman.

North Dakota along with many other states have expanded the opportunities for the disabled to enjoy the outdoors, whether that be fishing, hunting or just getting out there. You do not have to look hard to find a place, events or opportunity, all you need to do is go to your state's game and fish page and there will be a page dedicated solely for this purpose. The following are opportunities in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

The North Dakota Game & Fish (NDGF) has a great page for all of this information. The NDGF has a track wheelchair that is available at no charge for use at department sponsored field events. The tracked wheelchair is also available for offsite use up to 72 hours.

NDGF also provides special permits for shooting out of stationary vehicles and shooting crossbows. For both of these permits there are applications that need to be filled out by your physician, you and the Game & Fish.

There are also many opportunities in North Dakota provided by the Game & Fish Department for the disabled to fish many different waters in North Dakota. On their website they have a map that shows all of the handicap accessible fishing facilities. These fishing facilities have accessible fishing piers and accessible restrooms.

The NDGF page also has links to nonprofit organizations in North Dakota that are catered towards people with disabilities. These nonprofit organizations include Injured Military Wildlife Project of North Dakota, Wounded Warriors Guide Service, Twist of Fate and Sporting Chance.

North Dakota Game & Fish:

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a great page that has many outdoor opportunities for people with disabilities. The DNR accessible outdoor page has three categories starting with accessible "Places to go" including state forests, parks, trails and wildlife management areas. The second category are accessible "Things to do" including assessable state park trails, assessable camping, hunting and fishing. The third category is "What to know."

Here is a great page that shows all of the accessible campsites, lodging and trails in Minnesota state parks.

Here is a link to the special permits that are available in Minnesota for fishing, hunting and state park use.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Accessible Outdoors page:

The South Dakota Game Fish & Parks (SDGFP) has quite a bit of opportunities for disabled people with outdoor interests. On their ADA/Accessible page they have permits to use crossbows and permits to shoot out of stationary vehicles. The SDGFP has a Designated Shooter Permit. This permit allows a designated shooter to legally hunt or take game on a disabled person's behalf. They have reduced fees for disabled South Dakota residents who qualify. There are Game Production Areas and State Parks that are enhanced for accessibility.

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks ADA/Accessible page:

The Wyoming Game & Fish Department has quite a few permits and licenses available to disabled individuals. Wyoming is a crossbow friendly state so that is one less thing you have to worry about. Their   Game & Fish has a great link that explains everything that is available to residents and nonresidents. Here is the link: 
https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Permits/Forms-Applications/WGFD_DISABLEDPERMITS

Wyoming Game & Fish Disabled Forms and Applications page:

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have quite a few opportunities no matter what you want to do outdoors. If you are a disabled resident of Montana you receive a 50% discount on camping fees. If you are a Montana resident you can also apply for a Disability Conservation license. Another license for residents is a Lifetime Fishing License for the blind. Nonresident and resident have to apply for shooting out of a stationary vehicle permit and to modify archery equipment permit. This information can be found here:

Montana also has a Crossing the Barriers Implementation Plan that has worked to remove outdoor barriers for the disabled since 1989.

Many hunting opportunities exist in Montana for hunters with disabilities. For the most up-to-date lands that are available for hunting contact the Regional Fish, Wildlife & Parks office where you want to hunt and they will be happy to let you know what is available.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Outdoor Recreation Opportunities page:

I have been lucky enough to take part in some of these organizations, events and have used some of the permits. I have in my possession right now crossbow permits in North Dakota and Minnesota plus shooting from a stationary vehicle permit in Wyoming and North Dakota. These permits are there to make life easier. And they are easily obtained with the correct information. All I have to say is that the opportunities are great and hopefully if you or you know someone that might be interested, get involved or let them know.

By Clint Lindemann

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