The outdoors are for everyone including having fun in the winter, hunting and fishing. Sometimes when you have a disability, the outdoors can seem inaccessible or scary. Take it from me, and I walk with a cane and have had MS, for over twelve years, fishing can be done, despite a disability.

Knowing what’s out there is half the battle, and knowing that the world didn’t forget about your needs is uplifting. So, here is some help with the types of licenses. As an example, the Wisconsin DNR offers special fishing licenses for people with disabilities. Here are the types of licenses available:

  • Resident Annual Disabled Fishing License – $7.00
  • Resident Annual Veteran/Disabled Fishing License – $3.00
  • Permit to Fish or Troll with an Electric Motor 3600-162
  • Disabled Group Fishing Event License Waiver 9400-562A
  • Developmentally Disabled Group One-Day Fishing License Waiver – $25.00 Fee 9400-562
  • Institutional Free Fishing Authorization 9400-506

The best part about getting a disabled fishing license is that they are available at any sales location. You don’t need to go far to find one, but you do need to bring some paperwork with you when you go to make sure you qualify:

  • Social Security Disability Award Notice (dated within the past 365 days)
  • A letter from the Social Security Administration advising that you are receiving disability benefits (dated within the past 365 days)
  • A letter or notice of Railroad Retirement Disability
  • A signed Statement from a licensed physician or optometrist indicating that your sight is impaired to the degree that you cannot read ordinary newspaper print with or without corrective glasses or
  • A document from the Veteran’s Administration indicating that you are a war veteran and receiving disability pension for a non-service related permanent and total disability

To receive a Resident Annual Disabled Fishing License is for Wisconsin residents with impaired vision; to residents receiving Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income or Railroad Retirement Disability Benefits; and to residents who are veterans of foreign war receiving Veteran’s Disability Compensation for a non-service related disability.

So there are benefits out there too! Check out: http://dnr.wi.gov/permits/disabled.html#fish to find information on all the special licenses. I know a number of people who still get out there and fish, despite a disability. And they do it, because they have figured out ways and places to fish, despite their disability. Unfortunately (and fortunately) at this time I don’t qualify for one, so I have some other tips for fishing. The outdoors are for everyone, and I want to do my best to make sure everyone can use it.

Authored by Susanna Carlson
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