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Providing Increased Access To Hunting Lands Through "Open Fields

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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
Map Links
Arizona
Al Eiden
(623) 236-7624
[email protected]
2,000,000
 
California
Victoria Barr
(916) 445-3615
mailto:[email protected]
2,000
 
Colorado
Ed T. Gorman
(970) 521-0233
[email protected]
162,000
http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/4A3346A7-0C2A-41E2-8442-F3E146F9CEF1/0/2010SmallGameWalkInAtlas.pdf
Idaho
Jeff Gould
(208) 287-2745
[email protected]
277,515
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/accessyesmap.htm
Kansas
Jake George
(620) 672-5911
[email protected]
1,000,000
http://kdwp.state.ks.us/news/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Hunting-Fishing-Maps-by-County/2010-Fall-Hunting-Atlas
Kentucky
Rocky Pritchert
(502) 564-4858
[email protected]
800
 
Michigan
Mike Parker
517-641-4903 Ext. 228
[email protected]
19,000
http://www.michigan.gov/images/dnr/HAP_map_357251_7.png
Montana
Alan Charles
(406) 444-3798
[email protected]
8,800,000
 
Nebraska
Steve Riley
(402) 471-5420
[email protected]c.state.ne.us
180,000
 
New Mexico
Aaron Roberts
505-476-8043
[email protected]
100,000
http://wildlife.state.nm.us/recreation/hunting/open_gate/ParticipatingProperties.htm
New York
 
518-402-8919
[email protected]
28,000
 
North Dakota
Kevin Kading
(701) 328-6371
[email protected]
1,000,000
http://gf.nd.gov/maps/pli-program.html
Oklahoma
John Hendrix
 
[email protected]
607,241
 
Oregon
Matthew Keenan
(503) 947-6087
[email protected]
3,871,783
http://www.oregonhuntingmap.com/
Pennsylvania
Gary Camus
(717) 787-6400
[email protected]
3,000,000
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=617662&mode=2
South Dakota
Tim Olson
(605) 773-3658
[email protected]
1,270,000
http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/areas/maps/default.aspx
Texas
Linda Campbell
(512) 389-4375
[email protected]
107,000
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/lands/maps/
Utah
Wes Shields
(801) 538-4776
[email protected]
20,000
http://wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess/property_index.php
Vermont
Tom Decker
 
[email protected]
100,000
 
Washington**
Joe McCanna
(509) 892-1001 ext 310
[email protected]
1,237,016
http://wdfw.wa.gov/mapping/gohunt/index.html
Wyoming***
Matt Buhler
(307) 473-3428
[email protected]
672,000
http://gf.state.wy.us/plpwhmprogram/frmWalkinHuntingHome.aspx

**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.