The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife recently launched a new incentive program that provides a path for Ohio hunters to access participating landowner properties during the hunting season. Enrollment for the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership program is underway now.
Once enrolled, participating landowners receive annual payments ranging from $2 to $30 per acre, depending on the characteristics of the property and recreational opportunities available. Enrollment contracts are for two to three years, with the possibility of an extension. A list of rules is provided to participating hunters before accessing a property.
“Ohio is 95% privately owned, and many of these lands are prime outdoor recreational areas,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “This new program helps connect landowners and hunters through incentives and opens many more acres of land to Ohio’s hunting enthusiasts.”
Those interested in hunting the enrolled properties must first obtain a free daily access permit. Permits are available from Sept. 1, 2021, to June 1, 2022, and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. More information for both landowners and hunters can be found on the Ohio Landowner/Hunter Access Partnership Program page at wildohio.gov.
The Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership program is funded, in part, by the federal Farm Bill under the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). This bill provides funding to state and tribal agencies through a competitive grant process to implement programs encouraging hunting access on private properties. The federal dollars funding this program exclude fishing, trapping, and white-tailed deer gun hunting, however, landowners can still give written permission for these activities on their property.
Landowners interested in creating, improving, and protecting wildlife habitat on their property are encouraged to work with a Division of Wildlife private lands biologist. Contact information for the private land biologist can be found on the Private Lands Biologists Contact Information page at wildohio.gov.
The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters and anglers make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting and fishing opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.
• Experienced and beginning recreational shooters are invited to visit any of Ohio’s premier public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during Free Range Day, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. On this date, the shooting range permit requirement is waived at all Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C shooting ranges.
The Division of Wildlife is partnering with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to host Free Range Day as part of a continued effort to provide more opportunities for recreational shooters. New shooters can gain hands-on experience with firearms at no charge from certified instructors at five public ranges. Staff will offer on-site instruction to beginning shooters and will provide equipment, ammunition, ear protection, and eye protection free of charge.
This is a great opportunity to check out the shooting range at the Delaware Wildlife Area. ODNR employees will be on hand to assist shooters using the range for the first time.
Free Range Day is being offered as part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.’s National Shooting Sports Month. The Division of Wildlife shooting ranges provide the public with comfortable, safe places to shoot archery or firearms. A complete list of range facilities can be found at wildohio.gov.
Outside of Free Range Day, all persons age 18 and older shooting on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C ranges are required to purchase a shooting range permit, available at all hunting and fishing license outlets, wildohio.gov, and the HuntFish OH app. Class A ranges offer supervised rifle and pistol target shooting. Class B ranges have unsupervised rifle and pistol target shooting, while Class C ranges host unsupervised clay target shotgun shooting.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.