ATLANTA — Taylor Gramling was nearing the end of her battle with leukemia, but her zeal for life was undiminished when the teenager told her mother last fall she wanted to go deer hunting.
It was an unusual request, but one of her final wishes. The only problem: it was bow hunting season, and Taylor, who had been diagnosed in November 2009, was no longer strong enough to use a bow.
“She got to the point where she knew she didn’t have too much longer, so she just wanted to try different things,” said her mother, Andrea Moats. “I was scared for her to do it, but of course with her being sick, I had to let her do what she wanted to do.”
With the help of state and local officials, she was able to hunt with a firearm and kill a deer on her first time out.
“I was there when she pulled the trigger,” said Scott Kuhn, a family friend who took Taylor out to hunt. “It really made a difference in her life. It was like winning the lottery.
Taylor died six weeks later, on Nov. 30 – two years and two weeks after her diagnosis. She was 18.
On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill named in her memory with her friends and family watching in the gallery. Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-Locust Grove, sponsored the bill after helping Taylor’s family secure her hunting permit.
Taylor’s Law was approved by a vote of 53-1, and the bill now heads to the House for its consideration.
The bill would authorize the state’s natural resources commissioner to issue special hunting permits for big game or alligators to anyone under 21 with a life expectancy of a year or less due to a terminal illness.
The legislation would waive legal weapons requirements, antler restrictions, quota limitations or hunter education requirements, and would allow the commissioner to impose any terms necessary to facilitate the permit. Anyone receiving the special permit would have to hunt under the supervision of an adult hunter.
The authorization would be good for one hunting season.
Taylor’s mother said after the vote that she hopes the legislation will make it easier for children with terminal illnesses to be able to hunt as her daughter wanted to.
“She was very excited,” Moats said. “She was very proud of it.”