Montana wildlife regulators suspect more and more people are faking disabilities to take advantage of privileges granted to disabled hunters, so they want to remove one of those perks in hopes of curbing abuse.
Permits to hunt from a vehicle, called PTHV permits, are given to Montana hunters with certain disabilities certified by a doctor, chiropractor, nurse or physician assistant. The permit allows a disabled person who can’t get around without assistance to hunt from a self-propelled or drawn vehicle.
In some prime hunting areas, those permit holders are allowed to drive along roadways normally gated and closed to all other vehicles. They are also allowed to shoot cow elk without buying an additional antlerless elk license, even in some areas where licenses aren’t available to the general public.
That kind of access has led to abuse of the permits by apparently healthy hunters, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.
“Most of what we see is people utilizing the permit as an opportunity or a resource to be able to take an antlerless elk,” said James Kropp, the FWP’s chief of law enforcement. “They’re a long way from their vehicle dragging elk off the mountain unassisted, really in a situation the permit was not designed for.”
As of Monday, 9,188 lifetime PTHV permits have been issued, according to FWP. The result has been a reduction in the number of cow elk in some areas, such as the Bitterroot Mountains in southwestern Montana, said FWP Commission Chairman Bob Ream.