The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offer reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. CDFW also offers several special hunting opportunities for eligible veterans.
Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to fish or hunt in California is eligible. Disabled veterans can now prequalify to purchase reduced-fee disabled veteran licenses via e-mail. Once a disabled veteran has pre-qualified, they can purchase low-cost disabled veteran sport fishing and/or hunting licenses, each year, anywhere licenses are sold. Information on how to prequalify for a disabled veteran license is available on the sport fishing licenses web page, under the “Free and Reduced Fee” tab.
The 2015 Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing License and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $6.95 each when purchased at CDFW license counters.
Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to people with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and ecological reserves, and at some National Wildlife Refuges.
CDFW will try to accommodate any qualified hunter with a disability, but they must have drawn a tag for that hunt. If you have any questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact CDFW’s Accessibility Coordinator Melissa Carlin at (916) 651-1214.
“If a person with a disability draws a tag, they should contact the hunt coordinator directly so we can accommodate them for that hunt, or find them another opportunity,” said Karen Fothergill, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Wildlife Branch. “This process allows for more flexibility for offering opportunity that best works for an individual.”
CDFW also works with military installations on wildlife management and provides tags for those installations to issue to military personnel for deer and Tule elk hunting opportunities.
Certification from the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs and proof of completion of a hunter education course is required at the time of application. The first license must be purchased from a CDFW License Sales Office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased from any license agent or online, and at that time, a copy of a previous year’s California Disabled Veteran’s Hunting License will serve as identification.
Fish and Game Code, section 7150, authorizes CDFW to issue Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing Licenses to anglers who meet specific criteria. Additional validations or cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.
The 2016 reduced-fee fishing license applications and reduced-fee hunting license applications are now available online. All California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30.
Fishing and hunting regulations, as well as more information about licenses, are available on the CDFW website.
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944