A Quarter of Hunters Lost Land Access

Nearly a Quarter of Hunters Lost Access to Land in Past Year, Issue Remains a Chief Concern Facing Sportsmen

whitetail deer huntingWhen asked in a HunterSurvey.com poll if access to any of the places they tried to hunt in the past year had been restricted or placed off limits to them, nearly 23 percent of hunters said it had. When compared to the previous year’s results to the same question, hunters who lost land access grew by less than one percent, a statistically insignificant bump, but their numbers still reveal that nearly one in four sportsmen nationwide are potentially affected by losing access to available hunting land.

“Finding a place to hunt remains one of the biggest challenges to hunters and hunter recruitment” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com. “As available lands for hunting diminish or change ownership, some hunters will inevitably grow frustrated and pursue other activities.”

Indeed, more than half (52 percent) of those respondents who admitted to losing access to a hunting location said their time spent hunting last year was reduced as a result—a seven percent increase over the previous year—while 11 percent said the lost land kept them from hunting altogether. Only seven percent of those respondents said they acquired access to another property where they were able to hunt more than planned.

Southwick pointed to the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), which was part of the 2008 Farm Bill, as a key example of programs designed to improve access to hunting and fishing lands and waters. VPA-HIP was intended to provide three years of funding to augment state land access programs that provide incentives for private landowners to open their lands to hunting and fishing. The program ended prematurely, however, due to federal budget cuts. With slashes in government funding and private properties increasingly restricted, land access will continue to be an issue for many sportsmen.

One way of making sure their voices are heard on important issues such as land access is to participate in the monthly surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. Each month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

Find Bucks On Public Land

whitetail accessStop staring at photos of trophy bucks taken across the Midwest, thinking you’ll never be able to afford to hunt  where the really big ones live. Inside the pages of Whitetail Access, successful hunter Chris Eberhart shows you how to hunt top states on a shoestring budget. Chris takes you along with him for a whole season as he hits top trophy buck spots. You’ll experience the reality of hunting both public and private lands and insights on how to gain access to hunting land when you’re on the road.

    • Easy-to-follow how-to approach to staying within your budget
    • Tips for effective scouting of public land
    • Advice for getting permission for access to private land

For less than the cost of most guided hunts, Chris hunts five states over the course of three months. Whitetail Access shows you how you can too!