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.
Special platforms are being built at selected sites by Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers to support hunters in wheelchairs.
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 Wednesday.
The Coeur d’Alene River District’s deadline to apply for access to roads is Friday.
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.