For disabled hunters in South Dakota, permits are available

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks offers a few options for hunters who have a temporary or permanent injury.

These options allow these people to continue to practice the sport of hunting. One option is for those with an injury that does not allow them to fire a bow. A crossbow license is available to them. Another option allows hunters to be able to fire from a stationary vehicle.

The crossbow license is available to anyone unable to shoot a bow with a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds. These injuries may be due to loss of one or both arms, loss of arm function or range of motion in one or both arms, birth defect, injury , illness or anyone who uses a wheelchair to get around. The license allows a hunter to use a crossbow, but the rules of the crossbow must be followed. Crossbow rules are on the form. The crossbow license must be in the possession of the holder to be valid.

The Vehicle Shooting Permit for Disabled Hunters allows them to shoot from a stationary motor vehicle. Eligible hunters could:

  • Having lost one or both legs or having temporarily or permanently lost the use of one or both legs.
  • Need a wheelchair for mobility.
  • Being physically unable to walk without the aid of another person, prosthesis, brace, crutch or any other device intended to support or assist the person in walking.
  • On portable oxygen.
  • Unable to walk more than 300 feet without assistance or rest due to arthritic, neurological or orthopedic disease.
  • Have been diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder.
  • Have been diagnosed with Class III or Class IV heart disease.
  • Being limited by lung disease.

Firing from a vehicle license has certain restrictions, including that:

  • The vehicle must be stationary.
  • Firing from a federal or state highway or across any public road is prohibited.
  • When hunting big game from public road rights-of-way, the holder must obtain prior written authorization from the owner or lessee of the immediately adjacent private land.
  • Firing from a snowmobile or other motor vehicle used to hunt or pursue any game is prohibited.
  • The use of any motor vehicle is prohibited on land owned, leased or controlled by GFP.

These permits allow hunters to enjoy the outdoors despite an injury that would limit their ability to do so. If you are unsure whether you qualify for one or both of these permits, please contact your local GFP office or the nearest conservation officer. These permits can be viewed on the GFP website.

Joe Galbraith is the District Conservation Officer Supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

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