Access is one of the biggest issues facing hunting today. And any plan or idea that gives hunters more land to hunt is defiantly good for the sport. So I was very happy to read about some new legislation that being proposed in the senate.
According to the Outdoor Wire, Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced new legislation to reauthorize and expand the popular Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program—the U.S. Department of Agriculture program that incentivizes landowners to open their property for public hunting and fishing access.
VPA-HIP is the only federal program aimed at enhancing access and opportunity on privately owned farms, ranches, and forest lands. The program grants money to states and tribes to support landowners who enroll in the program. Since its reauthorization in the 2014 Farm Bill, wildlife agencies across 29 states and tribal lands have received $40 million to expand public access and enhance wildlife habitat on more than 2.5 million acres.
“Nothing beats spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, backpacking—it’s the Montana way of life,” says Sen. Daines. “The Voluntary Public Access Improvement Act will strengthen Montana’s outdoor recreation economy and open up more space for families and sportsmen to enjoy local wildlife in Montana and across the country.”
“This program has rewarded Colorado’s farmers and ranchers for providing new opportunities for the next generation of sportsmen and women and improving wildlife habitat across our state,” says Sen. Bennet. “As we work on the next Farm Bill, we’ll continue to prioritize funding for this successful program.”
The legislation is being endorsed by 32 sportsmen’s groups, including The Boone & Crockett Club, Delta Waterfowl Association, NRA, NSSF, NWTF, RMEF and many more.
Access is key to the future of hunting, this is a huge step in the right direction.