Assisting the Different-abled
Wounded warriors brave the rain on first day of mobility-impaired hunt
They have served our nation during the cold rain. There was no reason they couldn’t enjoy their sport in the rain, either.
Forty-four military veterans, 30 of them wounded warriors, matched with their landowner-sponsors Friday for mobility impaired deer hunting in Laurens and Newberry counties. This is a project of the SC Department of Natural Resources with many sponsors, including local motels that give the visiting veterans special room rates.
Sponsors, DNR officers and National Guard personnel had the chance Friday to mingle among the men and women who have served the nation with distinction.
The veterans can return to the woods on Saturday, if they choose to do so, and the weather was much more cooperative on the second day of November’s first weekend. Locally, veterans also are invited to the Clinton High School Veterans Day observance this Friday morning, and to the Joanna observance on Saturday morning. Veterans Day will have its official, national observance Sunday, Nov. 11; it’s always the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, that’s the date marks the end of World War I.
Officers and members of VFW Post 5932 attended and served at a Friday pre-hunt barbecue lunch at the Clinton National Guard Armory to talk to the participating veterans. Among the information they presented was the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1.
Clinton High School presented The Colors and The National Anthem, and the event participants enjoyed bluegrass music and prize give-aways.
This was the 24th annual hunt for Laurens and Newberry counties.
Veterans attending the event-opening barbecue were served at their places at long tables set up in the armory drill hall. Some veterans are confined to wheelchairs, and many landowners who offer their venues for hunting have set up elevated wheelchair-accessible platforms for the hunters.
Many hosts for this special hunting opportunity also are veterans.
The mobility-impaired hunt for Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties was Oct. 26-27, and the Laurens and Newberry counties hunt was Nov. 2-3. Deer hunt applications and liability waiver forms are accessible on the DNR website.
The department also offers a way for disabled people to use a vehicle in designated wildlife management areas. According to the DNR website:
Mobility Impaired Vehicle Permit
The Mobility Impaired Vehicle Permit (MIVP) allows permanently physically disabled persons enhanced access to selected portions of DNR-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The Mobility Impaired Vehicle Permit is issued only for properties owned by DNR and only for access for activities that are appropriate uses of SCDNR properties listed in SCDNR Policy #203.04. Appropriate uses are hunting; fishing; wildlife or other natural resource observation; wildlife or other natural resource photography; environmental education; and environmental interpretation. Applicants with temporary disabilities are not eligible for MIVPs.
The MIVP allows:
--The named permit holder and one assistant riding in the same vehicle with the permit holder to operate a vehicle in some DNR-owned WMAs on roads not open to the public.
--The permitted vehicle to be operated only on established, well defined roads specifically identified on the MIVP.
--The permit holder access for the areas as specified on the permit during specific time periods of use within stipulations found for each WMA in the SCDNR Rules and Regulations for Hunting and Fishing or SCDNR Property Use Regulations Brochure for each WMA accessed.
The MIVP is valid from the date of approval until the following June 30, and must be in the physical possession of the permit holder when engaged in the permitted activity and must be presented to any law enforcement officer or SCDNR personnel upon request.
The MIVP does not allow:
--Access to WMAs when they are closed due to weather or other emergency closures.
--Hunting or fishing without the required licenses and permits.
--Operation of a vehicle off of the designated road (i.e. not on firebreaks, within wildlife openings, fields or food plots).
--More than one assistant or person in or on the vehicle with the permit holder.
--Vehicles of any type not authorized by the MIVP.
--Parking in a manner that obstructs roads, gates or firebreaks.
--Contact the regional wildlife coordinator for the SCDNR Property you wish to access.
--Complete all information on the mobility impaired vehicle application.
--Have a license physician complete the certification of disability form. For questions or concerns regarding this application please contact the Chief of Wildlife at 803.734.3887.
--Mail completed application to the regional wildlife coordinator. Upon approval of your application, your permit will be mailed to you from the Office of the Deputy Director, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.