PF Helps Grow Pheasant Hunting Access in Southwest Nebraska
New for 2012, Nebraska’s popular Conservation Reserve Program-Management Access Program, or CRP-MAP, has been restructured and transitioned into the state’s Open Fields and Waters Program. More than 275,000 acres are enrolled in the program for Nebraska sportsmen and women this year. Nebraska’s pheasant hunting and quail hunting seasons open Saturday, October 27th.
Despite the restructuring, Pheasants Forever continues to be a major program partner. “Nebraska Pheasants Forever chapters raise money and donate it to the program for making access payments to landowners, habitat incentive contracts for wildlife habitat upgrades, and help pay for the atlas and Coordinating Wildlife Biologist positions,” says Caroline Hinkelman, Coordinating Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever who manages the Open Fields and Waters Program in partnership with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.
Hinkelman says because Nebraska expanded its Focus on Pheasants areas, more landowners were able to enroll in the access program because of additional payments for walk-in access and habitat improvement incentive payments. “We lost some areas in the eastern part of the state due to the loss of CRP signups, but we gained acres in the southwest – Focus on Pheasants sites and Small Grain Stubble Management Program – and then some larger access sites in the northwest part of the state,” Hinkelman says.
While new, similar looking Open Fields and Waters Program signs are being phased in, hunters may still encounter a lot of CRP-MAP signs out there, so they’re encouraged to know what both look like.
Open Fields and Waters Program areas can be found using the Nebraska Public Access Atlas, which is also available on the go as free smartphone ap. And Hunters looking for that extra edge can use Google Earth to scout out sites with aerial images.
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