New Saskatchewan permit makes hunting more accessible to people in wheelchairs

For 20 years, Bobbie Cherepuschak dreamed of hunting big game by roaming the land.

Come October, his dream will get to come true.

That’s because the Ministry of Environment has made changes to the province’s hunting permits to allow people with disabilities to use motorized wheelchairs while participating in the sport.

“This will enhance the experience,” said Cherepuschak, who lobbied the government to make the change with the help of NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation.

An avid outdoorsman, Cherepuschak, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around, says the change will take his expeditions to the next level.

“It’s going to be a totally different ballgame. I’ll be able to get out of the truck and move around out there.”

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Prior to the permit change, Cherepuschak had to remain in his truck while hunting because motorized wheelchairs were considered ATVs in the province.

Wildlife regulations stated one could not carrying firearms on an ATV in southern management zones during big game open season.

With the new changes, Cherepuschak will now be able to get closer to the animals, get better shots and retrieve the animal.

Cherepuschak is even taking his advocacy one step further by consulting with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, which is looking to buy one or two motorized wheelchairs for the province.

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Any hunter who utilizes a motorized wheelchair will need to get permission from the landowner before they use it, but Wotherspoon doesn’t believe that will be an issue.

“We’ll see how efficient this application process works,” Wotherspoon said. “I hope this is an efficient process for disabled hunters who apply and receive their permit and get out in the field with the sport they love.”

The MLA said he will advocate for any further changes needed to make hunting accessible for all, but in the meantime is happy with the changes.

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“Bobbie Cherepuschak was drawing for moose this year, so this is pretty exciting for him to have these changes in the same year he can peruse a very special hunt, one that I know he’ll remember for many years moving forward,” Wotherspoon said.

Permits to allow the use of a motorized wheelchair can be accessed online.

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