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Providing Increased Access To Hunting Lands Through "Open Fields

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Finding a place to hunt is one of the biggest concerns of hunters and NRA-ILA is actively working on multiple fronts to promote solutions to this growing problem. One such solution is called "Open Fields."

"Open Fields" programs provide incentives to land owners to allow public access for hunters. The program--known by different names in various states--provides modest payments to land owners for opening up their lands to sportsmen in what are often called "walk-in" programs. The program has seen great success in states such as Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota, among others. Expansion of the program to additional states provides the opportunity to open millions of new acres to hunters.

In addition to state-based programs, federal legislators have introduced the "Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Act" in Congress. Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) are the primary sponsors of S. 548 in the U.S. Senate, and Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Tom Osborne (R-NE) have introduced a companion bill, H.R. 1351, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

If passed, S.548/H.R.1351 would provide $20 million annually for five years to any state with an existing "Open Fields" program, or to any state that implements a program that meets the eligibility requirements.

This is a significant program because of the potential it has to open many millions of acres of private land to hunters. "Open Fields" is also important because it provides incentives to landowners to improve the habitat for wildlife that is essential for the future of hunting in America.

The federal program is designed to provide immediate funding for ongoing programs, and as an incentive for additional states to adopt "Open Fields." In so doing, the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program will allow these programs to expand as quickly as possible, without imposing burdensome federal mandates on the design or implementation of the individual state programs.

For more information on walk-in or Open Fields Programs, contact the state administrators listed on the following page.

State

Contact

Phone

Email

Acres

Arizona

Josh Avey

(602) 789-3624

javey@azgfd.gov

2,000,000

California

Tom Blankenship

(916) 445-3615

tblankin@dfg.ca.gov

2,000

Colorado

Ed T. Gorman

(970) 521-0233

ed.gorman@state.co.us

162,000

Idaho

Jeff Gould

(208) 287-2745

jgould@idgf.state.id.us

240,000

Kansas

Mike Mitchener

(620) 672-5911

mikewm@wp.state.ks.us

1,000,000

Kentucky

Rocky Pritchert

(502) 564-4858

rocky.pritchert@ky.gov

800

Michigan

Mark Sargent

(517) 241-0666

sargentm@michigan.gov

19,000

Montana

Alan Charles

(406) 444-3798

acharles@state.mt.us

8,800,000

Nebraska

Steve Riley

(402) 471-5420

sriley@ngpc.state.ne.us

180,000

New Mexico

Luke Shelby

(505) 476-8010

0

New York

Michael V. Schiavone

(518) 402-8943

mvschiav@gw.dec.state.ny.us

28,000

North Dakota

Kevin Kading

(701) 328-6371

kkading@state.nd.us

750,000

Oklahoma

John Hendrix

jhendrix@onenet.net

607,241

Oregon

Nick Myatt

(503) 947-6087

nick.a.myatt@state.or.us

3,871,783

Pennsylvania

Gary Camus

(717) 787-6400

gcamus@state.pa.us

4,300,000

South Dakota

Bill Smith

(605) 773-3096

bill.smith@state.sd.us

940,000

Texas

Linda Campbell

(512) 389-4395

linds.campbell@tpwd.state.tx. us

107,000

Utah

Wes Shields

(801) 538-4776

wesshields@utah.gov

20,000

Vermont

Tom Decker

tom.decker@anr.state.vt.us

100,000

Washington**

Mick Cope

(360) 902-2691

copemgc@dfw.wa.gov

3,000,000

George Tsukamoto

(360) 902-2367

tsukagkt@fw.wa.gov

Wyoming***

Matt Buhler

(307) 473-3428

matt.buhler@wgf.state.wy.us

672,000

**many agreements are at no charge but are not mapped

Total:

***also includes 110 acres of lakes and 81 miles of streams for fishing access

26,799,824

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.