Meetings will Review Proposed Changes to Disabled Hunter Permits

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State Fish and Wildlife officials today announced four public meetings to discuss proposed changes to the state’s permit program for disabled hunters.

The Permanent Disability Permit allows hunters and anglers with a disability to hunt or fish under more flexible rules than those governing able-bodied hunters and anglers. The number of permit holders has increased dramatically since 1999, when about 600 people held these permits. Today, more than 17,500 hunters hold PDPs -- more than 6 percent of the approximately 272,000 licensed resident hunters.

The Commission last year directed ODFW to create an advisory committee composed of disabled and able-bodied hunters to review the Permanent Disabilities Permit Program. The committee’s recommendations will be presented and public comment will be taken at the following public meetings, all scheduled 7-9 p.m.:

Monday, Sept. 26: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave. N.E., Salem

* Tuesday, Sept. 27: Blue Mountain Conference Center, 404 12th Street , LaGrande.

* Wednesday, Sept. 28: National Guard Amory , 875 SW Simpson Avenue , Bend .

* Thursday, Sept. 29: ODFW Regional Office, 4192 N. Umpqua Highway, Roseburg.

Committee proposals under consideration by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission would require disabled hunters to re-apply every two years for a permit that allows hunting from a parked vehicle and taking an antlerless animal during some buck deer and bull elk seasons. The committee also recommends moving to a bi-annual permit instead of a permanent permit.

Other proposed changes include:

* Change the name of the permit to “Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit;”

* Require all permit holders to renew bi-annually;

* Modify the application form;

* Improve the definition of “brace;”

* Improve the definition of “road” for all hunters; and

* Include ATV in the definition of vehicle within administrative rules that address shooting from a vehicle.

The committee studied the definition of “disabled” for the purposes of the Permanent Disability Permit program, and examined the program’s operations and associated social issues to develop recommendations that will help reduce enforcement problems.

All comments received at the public meetings will be provided to the Commission Friday, Dec. 2, at its regular monthly meeting in Salem. Members of the public also may testify at the December Commission meeting on the proposed changes or may submit their comments in writing by Oct. 15 to: PDP Review, ODFW, 17330 SE Evelyn Street, Clackamas, OR 97015, or by email to Chris.A.Wheaton@state.or.us.