New law helps hunters with mobility issues - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New law helps hunters with mobility issues

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LAPEER TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -

(10/26/12) - Hunters with mobility issues have always had a hard time getting out into fields and forests.

Two hunters have something in common - they both have cerebral palsy. Walking through the fields on a bird hunt used to an exhausting experience, and nearly impossible. A new law introduced by a Mid-Michigan state senator is easing that physical burden.

"This is an opportunity for many more folks to get involved in the outdoors," said State Senator John Gleason, D-Flushing.

The law allows those with mobility issues to use vehicles on private hunting preserves to get closer to their prey.

"The fastest growing population with disabilities are older, experienced hunters. It's going to allow people with experience to stay in the field," said Tim Pifher, a disabled hunter from Davison.

It will also give those who have never hunted before a chance to experience it first hand.

"We've never hunted before because with his handicap, we never thought he would have the opportunity. This is a wonderful day," said Fred Haas, whose son, John, has a mobility disability.

"It's a big deal, me riding and not having to walk and get tired. It helps me and possibly a lot of other people who want to do this," John added.

Tim and John ride on an ATV, staying with other hunters on foot. When the bird dogs spot a pheasant, they ready their guns and dismount.

While the legislation does help those with mobility issues, Gleason thinks more should be done. Right now, the law only applies to hunting preserves.

"This is a good first step, but we have to do more," Gleason said.

Gleason would like to see mobility-impaired hunters be allowed on all state hunting land.

John Haas thoroughly enjoyed his first hunting trip.

"Just talking and being out with a whole bunch of guys, just hunting, telling jokes and stuff," Haas said.

"Everybody should have this opportunity. This is Michigan," his father added.

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