Monday, March 12, 2007


Hunting Blind in the Texas Legislature

There is no vision test to get a hunting license in Texas, and no rule against a blind person hunting. But it is still awkward, for obvious reasons. Currently a sighted person has to look over the shoulder of the blind person and tell him there is an animal out there, and which way to point the gun. Sort of “up a little, nope, too high, a little to the left” and so on. The blind person gets to pull the trigger, but the joy of actually killing something is elusive, as it is very difficult to hit anything that way.

State Rep. Edmund Kuempel to the rescue. He has introduced a bill that will exempt blind people from the usual prohibition on hunting with laser sights. "This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great," Kuempel said. A laser sight projects a visible dot on the spot where a bullet will hit, allowing the sighted person to give more accurate instructions about which way to move the muzzle (and without standing right in the way of the recoil). As an added benefit, the bill also allows blind hunters to use an otherwise prohibited spotlight. That tends to freeze the deer in place, allowing time to respond to the verbal instructions.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has until January 1, 2008, to come up with rules defining “legally blind” and what kind of proof the hunter will have to carry to justify his laser sight. It is tricky. You could end up with an awful lot of “visually impaired” hunters. You also don’t want to create a cottage industry of blind people hiring themselves out as gun bearers.
"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session" -Judge Gideon J. Tucker

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