Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Walk In Access Program’
Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
Minnesota’s Walk-in Hunting program, entering its second year and aimed primarily at pheasant hunting access in the southwest part of the state, will have more than 14,000 acres enrolled for the 2012 pheasant hunting season, up about 5,000 acres from last year.
Last autumn, Minnesota had 9,000 acres enrolled for the program’s debut. Minnesota landowners in 21 southwestern Minnesota counties are paid a per-acre fee to open their private acres to public hunters.
The program was initially made possible because of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Grants provision into the most recent federal Farm Bill, “Open Fields” for short. Pheasants Forever advocated heavily for the inclusion of “Open Fields” because of its habitat improvement stipulations and because access is the key to upland hunting.
Hunter use and support will be crucial to the Minnesota Walk-in Hunting program’s long-term livelihood, however, as federal financial support for the pilot program was cut short. When they purchase their hunting licenses for the upcoming season, Minnesota hunters will be asked to voluntarily contribute $1, $3 or $5 to the Walk-in access program.
More information and a map of the 21 counties involved in the program can be found at www.mndnr.gov/walkin. Locations of parcels enrolled for 2012 will be on the website in August.
Monday, July 11th, 2011
Minnesota’s closed government needs to reopen so pheasant hunters can purchase hunting licenses for the upcoming season, but even so, the state’s shutdown could further impact pheasant hunters. Minnesota planned to have up to 10,000 acres enrolled in its new walk-in hunting program this fall, access primarily aimed at pheasant hunters in the southwest part of the state. But the new program is in limbo thanks to gridlock over a budget deal at the state capitol.
Minnesota’s first-ever hunter walk-in program could fall victim to the state’s government shutdown if it continues for a prolonged period.
Department of Natural Resources seasonal workers were scheduled next week to begin posting signs on southwestern Minnesota properties enrolled in the new $2.7 million effort, funded by the federal farm program.
Signs on voluntarily enrolled lands were scheduled to be erected by Sept. 15, but that deadline might be missed.
The postings are one of many projects on wildlife lands affected by the budget impasse between Republican legislators and (Democratic) Gov. Mark Dayton.
“This is crunch time out here, and we need to be getting things done,” said Dave Trauba, manager at the 31,000-acre Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area in western Minnesota.
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
“Walk-in” hunting areas – areas in which landowners receive modest payment in exchange for opening their lands to public hunting – have, to date, been reserved to Missouri River states on westward. But two notable pheasant range states, Iowa and Minnesota, are planning on launching such programs this autumn.
Iowa’s Management and Access Program (IMAP) will allow the state to create and manage habitat on 3,700 private acres (mainly Conservation Reserve Program acres) per year, while making those lands available for public hunting for a period of 3-10 years. Improving habitat for upland birds such as pheasant and quail is a top goal of IMAP.
Minnesota is planning on its Walk In Access Program this fall as well, with lease agreements with private landowners on 10,000 acres in the southwest corner of the state. In two years, Minnesota’s goal is to have 50,000 acres in the program open for public land pheasant hunters.
This is welcome news to the combined 180,000 pheasant hunters and 45,000 Pheasants Forever members in these states concerned about protecting habitat and gaining access to acres. These programs are possible because of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Grants provision into the most recent federal Farm Bill, “Open Fields” for short. Pheasants Forever advocated heavily for the inclusion of “Open Fields” because of its habitat improvement stipulations and because access is the key to upland hunting (in addition, 15 other states received funding to establish or augment existing programs). Upland hunters, of course, make up the largest and leading group of upland conservationists, so it satisfies on all fronts.
Most traveling bird hunters will still head west, but this is a good first step for some to head east…or not as far west.