Providing Increased Access To Hunting Lands Through "Open Fields

Posted on September 27, 2011

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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
aeiden@azgfd.gov
2,000,000
 
California
Victoria Barr
(916) 445-3615
mailto:vbarr@dfg.ca.gov
2,000
 
Colorado
Ed T. Gorman
(970) 521-0233
ed.gorman@state.co.us
162,000
http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/4A3346A7-0C2A-41E2-8442-F3E146F9CEF1/0/2010SmallGameWalkInAtlas.pdf
Idaho
Jeff Gould
(208) 287-2745
jgould@idgf.state.id.us
277,515
http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/accessyesguide.aspx
Kansas
Jake George
(620) 672-5911
jake.george@ksoutdoors.com
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
rocky.pritchert@ky.gov
800
 
Michigan
Mike Parker
517-641-4903 Ext. 228
parkerm5@michigan.gov
19,000
http://www.michigan.gov/images/dnr/HAP_map_357251_7.png
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
Aaron Roberts
505-476-8043
Aaron.roberts@state.nm.us
100,000
http://wildlife.state.nm.us/recreation/hunting/open_gate/ParticipatingProperties.htm
New York
 
518-402-8919
fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us
28,000
 
North Dakota
Kevin Kading
(701) 328-6371
kkading@state.nd.us
1,000,000
http://gf.nd.gov/maps/pli-program.html
Oklahoma
John Hendrix
 
jhendrix@onenet.net
607,241
 
Oregon
Matthew Keenan
(503) 947-6087
Matthew.T.Keenan@state.or.us
3,871,783
http://www.oregonhuntingmap.com/
Pennsylvania
Gary Camus
(717) 787-6400
gcamus@state.pa.us
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
wildinfo@state.sd.us
1,270,000
http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/areas/maps/default.aspx
Texas
Linda Campbell
(512) 389-4375
Linda.campbell@tpwd.state.tx.us
107,000
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/lands/maps/
Utah
Wes Shields
(801) 538-4776
wesshields@utah.gov
20,000
http://wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess/property_index.php
Vermont
Tom Decker
 
tom.decker@anr.state.vt.us
100,000
 
Washington**
Joe McCanna
(509) 892-1001 ext 310
Joe.McCanna@dfw.wa.gov
1,237,016
http://wdfw.wa.gov/mapping/gohunt/index.html
Wyoming***
Matt Buhler
(307) 473-3428
matt.buhler@wgf.state.wy.us
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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