2008-08-21 / Outdoors

NRC eases crossbow rules for handicapped hunters

Hunters with permanent disabilities will find it simpler to attain a crossbow permit as the Natural Resources Commission streamlined the application process and redefined eligibility requirements at its August meeting in Lansing.

The NRC adopted recommendations from its crossbow disability workgroup, which worked for four months to develop new permitting criteria. The workgroup was made up of representatives from the medical community, bow hunting interests, the Accessibility Advisory Council, general hunting interests, crossbow industry representatives and Department of Natural Resources personnel.

Under the new criteria, a physician can automatically certify a hunter as eligible for a crossbow permit if the hunter:

• has an amputation involving body extremities required for stable function to use conventional archery equipment, or,

• has a spinal cord injury resulting in permanent disability to the lower extremities, leaving the applicant permanently nonambulatory, or

• has a permanent wheelchair restriction.

If none of the above criteria apply, physicians, physical therapists or occupational therapists can certify hunters who fail:

• a functional draw test that equals 35 pounds of resistance and involves holding it for four seconds or

• a manual muscle test involving the grading of shoulder and elbow flexion and extension or

• an impaired range-of-motion test involving the shoulder or elbow.

In addition, a physician can recommend a crossbow permit for other permanent disabilities, such as neuromuscular conditions. The new regulations go into effect immediately and a new simplified application form will be available on-line Aug. 25 at michigan.gov/dnr.

Meanwhile, the NRC announced it will seek authority from the legislature to issue crossbow permits for hunters with certain temporary disabilities. The NRC already has authority to issue crossbow permits only to hunters with permanent disabilities.

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