Disabled Veteran, Disabled Person Hunting Benefits
If you’re looking for a good deal and you’re a disabled veteran or a disabled person (non-veteran) then you really need to take a look at this section. You can save some big money in many states on hunting licenses and tags and can even learn where you can turn a bull tag into an either sex tag. It’s amazing what is out there for veterans if you just know where to look. Some states have no programs at all for non-resident hunters but most states have some program for resident disabled veterans and disabled persons that actually give you a big advantage. It doesn’t cost you anything to read my blog but it does cost a lot to buy out of state tags and why pay $800.00 to 1000.00 to hunt deer and elk out of state when you can do it for about $100.00?
Most states have programs for low income and disabled hunters and for disabled veterans. In California a California Resident or Non-Resident who is also a Disabled Veteran with a Disability Rating of 50% from the Veterans Administration qualifies for a reduced fee hunting license. The cost of the Standard Resident Hunting License as of 2017 is $47.01 and for Non-Residents the Hunting License is $164.16. The Disabled Veteran Reduced Fee Hunting License is $7.30 (Disabled Veteran fishing License is also $7.30) from DWF Offices and $7.30 from License Agents (stores). This is an easy hunting license to apply for, I know because I have one. I was seriously injured while in the service and have a 100% Rating from the Veterans Administration. This does not entitle you to lower tag fees you still pay for tags and stamps at the same rate as everyone else.
Non-resident disabled veterans hunting in California who have a disability rating of 50% or greater from the Veterans Administration can also receive the same disabled veteran Hunting License for $7.30.
The Disabled Veteran Hunting License and the Low Income Hunting License applications must be initially processed at a California Fish and Wildlife office. You can not a apply for these at a store or other vendor. However it is my understanding that you can call California Dept Fish and Wildlife at 916-928-2537 and they will process most of your application over the phone and you will have to fax them your documents before they send you the license.
Did you know that as a California Residents who are Disabled Veterans who are rated at 100% Permanent (not Individual Unemployability) can get one of their vehicle registrations deduced to almost nothing. Yes its true and believe it or not most people at DMV don’t even know this, when you approach them with the form they look at you funny and they all have to brain storm to figure out how to put it all together it’s called a Disabled Veteran License Plate and Registration. This also qualifies you for a Disabled Placard to go with the plate.
Elk hunting opportunities for Veterans in California
Ft Hunter Liggett has a small herd of Tule Elk on the installation and they offer a special Elk hunting opportunity for veterans every year. I will be looking into it and posting the information on this page as soon as I can.
I will add any additional Disabled Hunter and Fishing information as I get it, stay tuned!
Non-Resident Disabled Veteran Hunting Licenses
What would you Disabled Veterans say if I told you could go hunting out of state for deer and elk every year for less than $100.00 in license and tag fees? Not only could you hunt one state for that but you could hunt two states for both deer and elk for a total of less than $200.00 in tag fees! And yes these are guaranteed tags every year! I know that’s hard to believe but it’s true. Two of the western states offer deer and elk tags to Disabled Veterans at an astonishing low price and I and my fellow veterans are very thankful to them for this. Idaho offers Disabled Veteran Hunting License to Resident and Non-Resident Disabled Veterans who have a 40% Disability Rating from the Department of Veteran Affairs. This will entitle you to a hunting license at the Resident rate of 31.75 and other big game tags at the resident rate, General Deer Tag for $23.75 a General Elk Tag for $39.75 and a Bear tag for $23.75 or Turkey for $19.75. These License and tags are easy to apply for and once applied for you simply go online each year and purchase your annual DAV License and Tags over the internet. The forms are easy to fill out, just go to their website that I have attached below and download the form, fill it out and fax it along with your VA paperwork and you can obtain a Non-Resident Hunting License, a Non-Resident General Deer Tag and a Non-Resident General Elk Tag for $95.25. That’s a bargain anywhere!
Washington State offers an even better deal than Idaho for Non-Resident Disabled veterans with a 30% or greater disability rating from the Veterans Administration can obtain a Non-Resident hunting license at the same price as a resident. In addition they can buy deer and elk tags individually at the resident rate or they can buy a combo license and tags. Currently as of 2017 their combo hunting license and deer tag, elk tag, bear tag and cougar tag is an astonishing low price of $95.50! I do not know of a better deal for non-resident disabled veterans. They also offer the same license and tags to non-resident hunter who are 65 years of age and older who also have ANY disability rating from the Department of Veteran Affairs. A close friend of mine who has a disability rating of only 10% from the Veterans Administration and who is 67 years of age applied for the license this year in 2017 and easily obtained the license within about 10 days, so it is true and it has been done.
Oregon residents who have a Disability Rating from the Veterans Administration of 25% or more can receive a free hunting license from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife ODFW. It’s a simple application process (see the links below) Oregon Disabled Veterans can also receive a discounted Elk Tag for $24.00 (regular Elk Tag for residents is $46.00.
Both Resident and Non-Resident hunters who are disabled can also receive an Oregon Disabled Hunting and Fishing Permit
This is a little different than other states but still a very nice bonus. The way this permit works, if you receive one is that is allows you in certain zones to take an either sex animal. So for example if you have the disability permit and you have a Bull Tag for a certain zone it authorizes you to take a cow instead of a bull (not in addition to a bull) or in some areas where you have a Buck Deer Tag you can take a Doe instead of a buck.
This form is somewhat complicated to explain over the internet so I ask that you look up the regulations. The 2017 Oregon Big Game Regulation handout covers this on page 93, what jumped out at me was this. If you’re a Disabled Veteran Resident or Non-Resident with a Veterans Affairs Disability Rating of 65% or more you qualify for this permit. Or if you are a disabled person (non-veteran) and you have your doctor sign off on the form. All you have to do is download the form, fill it in and send it to ODWF with your VA Disability Rating Award Letter proving you have a 65% or greater rating and you will receive the permit. That means that every year, when you apply for your deer or elk tags in Oregon if you select the correct area to hunt you basically have an either sex tag in those zones, that’s a heck of a bonus.
With this information as a Disabled Veteran and depending on your rating and age you can now elk and deer hunt two different western states every year on general tags for less than $200.00 a year and these are guaranteed tags. In Oregon depending on where you deer and elk hunt you can apply for a disability permit and change your bull or buck tag to an either sex tag. Please read all the local regulations yearly for the areas you wish to hunt. And after obtaining your tags and permits before you actually go hunting always stop by a local fish and game office and talk to a law enforcement officer and confirm that your tags are correct and that you completely understand your zone boundaries and the laws regarding your tag and your permit. As far as the process of applying for the tags, if you’re confused about the process send me an email and I will explain the process more thoroughly.
Planning to go hunting in Maine as a Non-resident Disabled Veteran?
Disabled Veterans: Maine resident and nonresident veterans (if reciprocal privileges exist in their home state) who have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard and have a service-connected disability of 50% or more will be issued, upon application, a complimentary license to fish, trap, or hunt (including all necessary permits and other permissions, and upon meeting qualifications, a guide's license) as well as one expanded archery either sex permit and one expanded archery antlerless deer permit. Veterans must still apply for any-deer & moose permits each year. These licenses may only be obtained from IF&W's main office in Augusta.
Vermont Residents and Non-resident Veterans with Disabilities
A Vermont resident who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States and who is, or ever has been, 60% disabled due to a service connected disability, may receive a free permanent license, if qualified, upon presentation of a specific letter from the Veterans Administration. To see if you qualify for the license, call the Veterans Benefits Section at 1-800-827-1000. Veteran Free License Reciprocal Privilege Letter and Application
Non-Resident veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States that reside in a state that provides reciprocal privilege for Vermont residents and who would qualify for a free license under the disabled veteran provision, if the person were a Vermont resident, may receive a free one-year fishing, hunting or combination hunting and fishing license upon presentation of a certificate issued by the Veteran’s Administration. Presently NH and ME.Veteran Free License Reciprocal Privilege Letter and Application.
What is the Definition of a Disabled Veteran?
What is a Disabled Veteran? There are many veterans out there who were injured while serving their country who do not receive Disabled Veteran Ratings from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, these veterans do not qualify for Disabled Veteran Benefits because they have not been rated by the Veterans Administration. I know its complete BS, if you served and you were injured it should be as simple as you telling someone your disabled and showing them your DD214. But the government doesn’t work that way. So for benefit purposes you must have an Award Letter from the Veterans Administration stating that you have a Disability Rating. This Rating has nothing to do with your Rank when you were in the military. This is a rating based on how your injuries affect your ability to work and maintain gainful employment. These Ratings are awarded in blocks of 10% to 100% in 10% increments. The good news is that it’s not that hard anymore to get a Rating from the Veterans Administration as long as you have all your paperwork in order and you are persistent and willing to listen to your VSO (Veteran Service Officer) or your Representative, such as your contact at say the American Legion or Disabled American Veterans. When you apply for your claim you will need to appoint a Representative such as the American Legion or DAV, it’s all in the application package and they are free of charge. You should never have to pay anyone to represent you against the VA until you have been denied three times and you are actually going to have a hearing at the Board of Veterans Affairs. This would be way down the road in the claims process probably 3 to 5 years and by that time in your claim you will know that you need one. There is actually an old law from the Civil War that states that it is illegal to charge a veteran more than $10.00 to file and process your claim until it goes to this final appeal stage. But it is my understanding that they are trying to change this law or may have actually changed the law, anyway enough of that stuff. Long story short, it used to be very difficult to file a claim but that has changed.
This was not true even a few years ago. After WW II the Veterans Administration pretty much denied everyone who applied no matter what their medical issues were. Basically if you weren’t missing an arm or leg, or had something they could physically see with their eyes they would continue to deny your claim. An example is my father he was blown off a ship in North Africa and had an 18 inch bomb splinter in his stomach. He floated around in shark infested water for about 2 days until he was rescued. He was also on a Destroyer that took a torpedo in the side and he ended up being below deck when they shut the hatches on him. He stayed in there for a couple days while they towed the ship back to Pearl. It wasn’t until they decided to scuttle the ship that he was rescued. Shortly after he was rescued the ship flipped on its side and they scuttled it. As my father got older he could not stand enclosures of any kind, a trip with my father in an elevator was quite the experience to say the least. To say he was claustrophobic would be an understatement. This in addition to 3 purple hearts and a Bronze Star didn’t get him any rating from the VA.
Vets coming back from Korea and Vietnam also had all kinds of difficulty filing claims for benefits. It was basically the same thing. Injuries that were obvious like a missing limb would get a very low rating like 25% for a missing leg and if both legs were missing you would receive a rating of 40% because the VA takes your highest rating and then divides each rating thereafter by two and then adds them together, and then rounds up if its above .05% and rounds down if its below .05%. That’s some pretty messed up math if you ask me. There is an actual formula that they use but if you use the formula I just mentioned you will be very close.
During this time the medical profession called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Battle Fatigue. It was basically accepted that a GI returning from battle would have Battle Fatigue and if you didn’t have it, well you just weren’t doing your job, and if you did, well “welcome to the club” but it was highly unlikely that you would get a Rating and actually be compensated for it. During and after the Vietnam War the Vietnam Vets really got involved and changed all this for all of us vets. It was these GI marching on Washington and making their voices heard that changed the way veterans were received by the public and processed through the VA claims system. After the Iraq wars and the war in Afghanistan got underway it was these Vietnam Veterans who stood up for us GIs and paved the way. You see these old guys make up the bulk of the volunteers at the American Legion and the DAV and other organizations and are actually physically appearing at your hearings as your Representative when your claim is brought up at a hearing or when the DRO (Decision Review Officer) is evaluating your claim at the regional VA office.
If you want to file a claim there are three ways to do it. The easiest way is to simply go online or open a phone book and locate your local County Veteran Services Office. This is the County office for vets, not your local VA clinic those are two different things. VA Clinics provide medical care; Veteran Service Offices provide services to Veterans like filling out your Claim for VA Compensation. They will do it all for you, no charge. Unfortunately, they are slow and I know in my area horribly ineffective at filing claims. I have heard all the excuses that they are over worked and underpaid but in my experience they are also under qualified. The second and fastest way to file a claim in online through the VA ebenefits website the link is: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/apply
This application process is easy and you can start your application and if you need to stop and save your work you can. You can also upload files and do all kinds of time saving work that if processed through the standard mail in application would take probably a year just to have your claim “fully developed” or ready for a decision.
This leads me to the third way to apply, download the application package, fill it out and mail it in and hope you provided them with everything they need. Guaranteed you will not have provided everything and you will eventually have to resubmit and resubmit until your blue in the face but eventually in a year or so you will get an answer.
I recently helped a friend apply who was in the Marines and in Vietnam the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1967. We applied online at the end of December 2017 and by the end of February 2018 he had a very positive decision in hand. I couldn’t believe it. It took about 60 days and in that time he even went to a medical exam and the whole nine yards. So the processing times have changed.
What are the benefits of receiving a rating for your service connected injuries? Money! And if you receive a high enough rating you can get additional small benefits like the reduced hunting license, educational benefits and such.
How much money you receive depends on your rating. Below is a Link to VA Compensation Tables and a link to their website. If you are still a little confused email me through my site and I will explain things further and direct you to a Representative. Please remember I am not a legal expert and I am not giving you legal advice. That is what attorneys are for and that is what your VSO and Representative is for, if you wish to file a claim contact them or go to the VA Website and follow the instructions.