Opportunities for Enhancing Fishing & Hunting for People with Disabilities
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On September 21, 2001 a new law went into effect that is designed to provide a mechanism for enhancing access to fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities for permanently disabled individuals. We believe this landmark legislation provides the flexibility needed to effectively provide for the needs of the diverse community of disabled hunters, anglers and trappers in Maine. It brings Maine to the forefront in regards efforts to enhance access to these highly valued outdoor activities.
About the Committee
The law authorizes the Commissioner to issue a special permit to a person with a permanent physical disability. The permit allows that person to hunt, trap, or fish at times or in a manner otherwise prohibited by Maine law in order to enhance access to hunting, trapping, or fishing opportunities. It also directs the Commissioner to establish a Disabled Hunter, Trapper, and Angler Advisory Committee to provide advice and assistance that will promote and enhance access to hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities for permanently disabled persons. The Committee will meet twice a year to review requests from individuals with disabilities for special authorities. It will make recommendations regarding each application, as well as other matters that may be of interest to the Committee. The law specifies that the committee be composed of four disabled persons; a licensed physician; a representative of a state agency that works on disability issues; two statewide organizations representing hunters, trappers, or anglers; and one interested person.
How do I apply for the permit?
The law requires a letter signed by a licensed physician clearly stating the nature of the person's disability, the permanence of the disability and the extent to which the disability affects that person's ambulatory ability or endurance; use of one or both hands, arms, or legs; or sight or hearing. The Commissioner or agent of the Commissioner must meet with the applicant in person to discuss the applicant's needs. All of the information on file will be reviewed in consultation with the committee before a decision is rendered regarding any special authorizations.
Applications may be obtained by downloading and printing the application, see Special Permit Application.
You may also email, write or call the department for an application at Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Information Center, 284 State Street, 41 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0041 - Telephone (207) 287-8000
In addition to the Advisory Committee process, the law allows for specific permits to be issued as follows:
Blind (fish only)
Residents over 16 years of age. Provides for a complimentary license to fish. Must show certified evidence that the applicant's visual acuity for distant vision is 20/200 if the widest diameter of field vision subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.
Provides for a resident complimentary hunting and fishing license, and certain hunting permits to resident disabled veterans who are not otherwise ineligible to hold that permit or license. A special letter from the Veteran Administration is needed, specifically stating the applicant either 1) is a veteran with a service connected disability evaluated at 100% or 2) is a veteran with a service connected disability evaluated at 70% who served in a combat zone during any armed conflict in which participants were exposed to war risk hazards.
People with Cognitive Disabilities (fish only)
Complimentary license to fish to any person with cognitive disabilities as defined in Title 34-B, Section 5001. A statement from a licensed phsychologist is needed, certifying that the applicant has completed a general intelligence test as required by the Department of Mental Health and scored below the mean score of 70, or a written statement from Maine Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation documenting that the applicant meets the requirements of Title 20-A, Section 7001, Subsection 3 and is receiving services from their Department on that basis.
Provides for a complimentary resident hunting and fishing licenses to Maine residents suffering from the loss of, or the permanent loss of the use of, both lower extremities. A physicians statement is needed certifying that the applicant has loss of, or the loss of the use of, both lower extremities. This license is available to nonresidents from states that provide a reciprocal privilege to residents of Maine (New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts).
Other Complimentary Licenses:
Patients and Inmates at Certain State Institutions
Free fishing privileges.
Patients at Togus VA (fish only)
Allows inpatients at Togus VA Hospital to fish without license in the inland waters within 25 miles of Togus
Group Home Residents and Students With Disabilities
Permit to fish without a license for periods of not more than 3 days as long as the fishing activity is conducted as part of an educational program. While fishing, all patients must be supervised by a member of the facility's staff or a volunteer supervisor, or the patient's must be carrying a valid pass from the group home or hospital which clearly states that he/she is a patient at the facility and authorized to fish under a Group Home Fishing Permit issued to the facility. Staff and supervisors are not covered by the permit and must possess a valid fishing license in order to fish.
Existing Statutory Authorizations
Shooting From a Motor Vehicle
Allows paraplegics and single or double amputees to shoot from motor vehicles that are not in motion.
Provides for a license to be issued to individuals who have lost both arms, or the use of both arms to hunt with an unconventional weapon, as long as they can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the commissioner, proficiency with the weapon, including knowledge of safety skills and responsible hunting practices relevant to that weapon.
Fly Fishing by Person Who Has Suffered the Loss of an Arm
Allows a person who possesses a valid fishing license and has suffered the loss of an arm to use any type of rod and reel to fish with a fly on waters open to fly fishing only. For the purpose of this subsection, "loss of an arm" means the physical loss of the arm at the wrist or above.