ADA Blinds

I’d decided not to duck hunt last Wednesday until I recieved a call about 9:30 AM.  My friend Roger was headed for the grasslands with the intent of hunting the ADA blind at Kesterson WA or the Gadwall Unit. Roger has had hip replacement surgery and gets around slowly.

His doctor has granted him a disabled hunter pass which allows him to hunt the blinds set aside under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). He is entitled to also take a guest hunter, me.

Our first attempt would be Kesterson, where Roger has had limited success finding an opening.

My first hunt in a special “disabled blind” took place about 20 years ago. At the time, I’d met a disabled hunter at Sacramento NWR while waiting in the sweat line. He was mobile, but limited to travel in a wheel chair. I don’t even remember his name, but he invited me to hunt with him at the only blind set aside for disabled hunters.

He was a paraplegic and his disability also affected his shooting ability as he had limited strength in his hands, but he was proud of the fact that he was still hunting.  A couple weeks later I received a photo of him with a nice bunch of snow geese taken at the Tule Lake spaced blinds.

Disabled hunters are not limited to ADA blinds. This shot was taken at the Tule Lake spaced blinds in about 1990.

The “handicapped” blind we hunted on that day was located on the edge of the access road. It was a tank blind, similar to the Yuba City steel doubles we used at our club. He was able to lower himself into the blind. We had some success and I remember him bringing down a hen mallard, while I managed a double on cinnamon teal.

We didn’t hunt together again and I don’t remember his name, but I still have the photo he sent after his successful trip to Tule Lake.

Surprisingly, on our most recent trip, the ADA blinds at Kesterson and the Gadwall Unit were filled, so we hunted the stake blind area at Salt Slough. ADA blinds tend to be a much better hunting opportunity these days than they were 20 years ago and they are in demand.

It was a tough afternoon for waterfowling, but we managed several chances at spoonies and took home a couple. The action was fast enough to keep us on our toes – all in all a good outing.

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