New Montana Access: Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters
Beginning September 1, 19,000 Montana acres will be accessible to wingshooters via the new Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program.
Although Montana’s Block Management Program is extremely popular, bird hunters often agree that finding quality places to hunt birds gets trickier each year. An 80-acre CRP tract can have a lot of appeal for bird hunters, yet this small acreage often doesn’t qualify for enrollment in Block Management when competing with larger parcels of property that offer multiple types of hunting opportunities. Thus, the new Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program, which will feature:
- Walk-in hunting (fall season only) to hunt upland game birds and/or waterfowl on private lands with no further permission needed
- 58 properties enrolled that offer about 19,000 acres of access
- Program habitat focus is Conservation Reserve Program lands (CRP), but also may include other high-value habitats for game birds
- Project locations are in select counties in Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Regions 4, 6, and 7 (north-central, northeast, and southeast Montana)
- Downloadable county maps will be available for game bird hunters by the end of August 2012 that will clearly show properties enrolled in Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters.
Funding for the Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program comes from the Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Improvement Program (VPA-HIP). Commonly referred to as “Open Fields,” the VPA-HIP funding represents the first time federal Farm Bill funding has been offered to assist states in implementing private land hunting, fishing, and access programs. The inclusion of VPA-HIP as part of the 2008 Farm Bill was strongly supported by Pheasants Forever.
Tags: Conservation Reserve Program, Farm Bill, Montana Block Management Program, Montana Fish, Montana hunting, Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters, Pheasants, pheasants forever, Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Improvement Program, VPA-HIP, Wildlife & Parks
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