HUNTING AND FISHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPORTSMEN WITH DISABILITIES
The Department of Fish and Game, in keeping in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the State Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), has been providing sportsmen and sportswomen places that are accessible to those with disabilities.
The DFG has developed numerous fishing and hunting sites accessible to wheelchair users and other disabled persons. Examples of these sites include wheelchair access on piers, spots along streams where a fisherman can park a vehicle and fish, waterfowl hunting blinds that are wheelchair accessible, and a special pheasant hunt for wheelchair users.
All Fish and Game publications will be available in Braille, large print, or some other alternative format when current supplies are used up, and there is TTY (teletypewriter service) and/ or 711 (Relay Service) available.
Currently, the Department is looking at creating even more opportunities for sportsmen and women, including nonhunters such as birdwatchers, fish hatchery visitors, and photographers.
To make it easier for all persons, the Department's website, http://www.dfq.ca.gov, is in compliance with ADA. Those with a visual imparity such as color blindness or who need large print can access the site. Some licenses are currently available over the internet, and one can look up which wildlife areas have mobility-impaired accessible hunt blinds or where the closest disabled accessible fishing pier is located. Hunting and fishing regulations are also accessible via the website.
Examples of hunting opportunities in the San Joaquin Valley are mobility-impaired waterfowl hunt blinds on Mendota, North Grasslands, and Los Banos wildlife areas. These blinds have been constructed on ponds that offer waterfowl hunters the opportunity to bag a duck.
The Region, through its Game Bird Heritage Coordinator, has conducted the Person's Dependant Upon a Wheelchair Pheasant Hunt, which enables wheelchair hunters to pursue the elusive pheasant with the assistance of volunteers.
Also, there are planted fields of safflower on the wildlife areas that are close to designated parking lots that allow dove hunters with a disability to hunt those speedy game birds.
Anglers are not left out. There are many sites along the California Aqueduct and Delta Mendota canals that are designated handicapped accessible that include wheelchair accessible chemical toilet units.
Further opportunities are anticipated by the Department of Fish and Game throughout the state. Accessibility is for everyone.