Outdoors

Disabled hunters can sign up for special vehicle access on forests

A gate blocks the road to the Brewer Mountain Route, one of four routes that are closed to motorists but which forest managers plan to open for disabled hunters who obtain special access permits. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
A gate blocks the road to the Brewer Mountain Route, one of four routes that are closed to motorists but which forest managers plan to open for disabled hunters who obtain special access permits. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

HUNTING — Handicapped hunters in the Inland Northwest are making inroads to decent hunting opportunities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests as well the Colville National Forest and two timberland companies.

Deadlines are approaching to sign up for several of the opportunities to drive motorized vehicles behind otherwise locked gates.

Hunters with certified disabilities can apply for access to hundreds of miles of otherwise closed roads on the Colville National Forest and Idaho Panhandle forests as well as Forest Capital Partners lands.

Inland Empire Paper Company also participates, although the road access is not exclusive to handicapped hunters.

The program allows hunters with disabilities to use a motorized vehicle on the designated roads, which are usually closed to motorized use year-round.

Several special platforms are being built by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers to accommodate hunters in wheelchairs at specially selected sites.

The Sandpoint Ranger District holds a drawing to select disabled hunters for special access behind gates on three roads during big-game seasons. The deadline to apply is Sept. 28.

The deadline to apply for access to roads on the Coeur d’Alene District is Sept. 30.

Generally, hunters must provide a copy of their disabled hunting license and handicapped vehicle hunting permit, make, model and year of the vehicle to be used, and the name of the hunting assistant.
  

Washington contacts include:

  • Colville National Forest, (509) 446-7500. Hunters also can sign up at the BLM & Colville National Forest Information Desk, 1103 N. Fancher in Spokane Valley.
  • Forest Capital Partners timber company has designated areas in Stevens County with access coordinated by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, (509) 487-8552.
      

Idaho contacts include:

  • Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District in Fernan, (208) 783-2363.
  • Sandpoint Ranger District, (208) 63-5111.
  • Bonners Ferry Ranger District, (208) 267-5561.
  • Craig Mountain Wildlife Area on the Snake River, coordinated by Idaho Fish and Game Department, (208) 799-5010.

Read on for details on disabled hunter programs on the Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene Ranger Districts:

Sandpoint Ranger District Offers Disabled Hunter Access

Forest Service officials at the Sandpoint Ranger District have announced that they will once again allow qualifying disabled hunters to hunt behind gates in three locations – Upper Cocolalla Road 630B1 in the Cocolalla area, Johnson Creek Spur Road 278F in the Clark Fork area, and Cat Tail Road 1359 off the High Drive Road.

According to Erick Walker, Sandpoint District Ranger, the program allows hunters with disabilities to use a motorized vehicle on the designated roads, which are usually closed to motorized use year-round.  Walker said the program is available to hunters who hold both a “Disabled Hunting License” and an “Idaho Handicapped Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit”.

Qualifying hunters interested in participating should apply at the Sandpoint Ranger District Office located at 1602 Ontario Street in Sandpoint.  Applications must be in by noon on September 28 for opening days (antlered or any elk) of Elk Season.  A drawing will be held at 1:00 pm to determine who wins the opening days.  Hunters will be allowed access for three consecutive days.

Applications for all other days of elk and deer season will be accepted starting October 3 on a first come, first serve basis.

Hunters will need to provide a copy of their Disabled Hunting License and Handicapped Motor Vehicle Hunting permit, the make, model and year of the vehicle to be used, and the name of the hunting assistant.

Sandpoint Ranger District office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  The office is closed on Federal Holidays.

For more information on the Disabled Hunters Access program call the Sandpoint Ranger District at (208) 263-5111.

For more information about the Disabled Hunting License or Handicapped Vehicle Hunting Permit, contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Coeur d’ Alene at (208) 769-1414.

Coeur d'Alene River District DISABLED HUNT PROGRAM TAKING ‘SIGN UPS’

Qualified Applicants May Sign up for Special Access Areas until Sept. 30, 2011

SMELTERVILLE (September 16, 2011)— The Coeur d'Alene River Ranger District’s Hunters with Disabilities Program is currently take sign-ups for the 2011 Hunting Season through September 30.  Disabled hunters may sign up at either the Forest Service’s Silver Valley Office in Smelterville, or Fernan Office in Coeur d’Alene.

To be eligible for this program, applicants must sign up in person. Applicants need to present a Handicapped Person's Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit (orange card), a valid Idaho Disabled Hunting License and a big game tag when signing up.

The Forest Service is allowing motorized access for hunters with disabilities during the General Elk Season (Oct. 10 – Oct. 31) in the following two areas:  Clover-Haystack Mt. Area (Roads 6544, 6545 and 944) and Idaho Gulch Area (Road 1505).

A random drawing will be held at the District's Silver Valley Office on Monday, October 3, after which all applicants chosen will be notified with the dates for which they were selected.  Selected hunters will be allowed two consecutive days to hunt within one of the two disabled hunting areas.  Those not chosen will be placed on a waiting list, and thus given a chance to hunt if there are cancellations.

For more information about the Disabled Hunters Access program, please contact the Silver Valley office at (208) 783-2363 or the Fernan office at (208) 664-2318.  Both District Offices are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information about the Disabled Hunting License or Handicapped Person’s Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit, please contact the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game in Coeur d’Alene at (208) 769-1414. 




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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