Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
CaptainMusky

Curious as to why no "Walk In Areas" in MN

30 posts in this topic

From what I understand, these walk in areas in states like SD, ND and MT are privately owned land, that is enrolled in a conservation program and this opens them up to public hunting. Why does this not carry forward to MN?

There are 1000's of acres that are in CRP or other programs in MN and are paid for with my and your dollars and curious why these are not open to public hunting in MN when they are in other states.

What is the distinction? Are these completely different programs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear you- MN could go a long way in viewing how other states manage and take care of hunting/fishing access. But if you look at it- where has the amendment went to designate tax dollars for this- not a lot of support through the legislature. I would be in favour of increasing my taxes- pulling drain tile and creating a waterfowl mecca!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, the SD Walk-In Areas are not accessible just because they may be in the CRP program. The SDGFP actaully has a few different types of contracts that they offer to landowners for the purpose of opening the land up for public hunting. It is a separate program. I guess you could ask the question why MN doesn't use part of the license fees, etc., to help open up additional lands to the public but this is a separate program unique to SD. I think this is similar to ND's PLOTS program although not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the MN DNR's stand on that issue is that they would rather buy land outright. I don't think the money for CRP is all that great or even common anymore, all those programs have been through major cutbacks by the state and feds. I do not know details on these programs. We have an awful lot of public hunting land here. I think it is around 1.8 million acreas. Thats a pretty good chunk. Every year I have to mark in WMA's WPA's that are not on my maps and were not there last year. I guess I would rather have them buy it and maintain it for habitat, then lease it and let the farmers use it for pasture/hay under certain circumstances. I have hunted many walk-in areas in SD and some of the land is not very desirable.

We have deer herds at record highs, Pheasants at numbers many of us have never seen. Not too hard to find most small or big game here. There is a reason so many people travel here for our fishing. I think the MN DNR has been doing something right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the DNR started to have a piolet of this program with "landownder preference". Giving landowners a license, but then you have to allow hunters onto your property.

Not that it has worked very well. Have you ever tried to hunt any of this property - at least turkey hunting its always a no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason, I had this idea as to why the land in MN is not open to public hunting.

I had thought, I don't think I imagined it ( ;-) ), that land in those other states was less fertile and therefor not nearly as good for farming as much of the land in MN. If they had to let people hunt their land if it was enrolled in CRP (or similar) programs they wouldn't sign up for it. Wherein other states, the land is much poorer (less fertile) and they cannot even farm it every year so they have to rotate, it's an incentive to set aside some ground to conserve the resource. Like I said, I could have imagined it, but it seemed to make sense.

I agree permanently purchasing the land is the best idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you actually consider the amount of public pheasant habitat land in MN though, it is quite small and an extremely small fraction of what is available in either SD or ND. That is why any weekend that you go to public land you're competing with so many other hunters or driving fairly significant distances between hunting locations. I think the walk-in program in SD works well...it is usually very easy to find quality land. I agree some of the land has sparse cover but that is because the contracts can last a few years and some parcels are going through replants and regrowth, etc. Actually, some of those can be pretty good hunting because alot of hunters just drive right by them and they haven't been hunted too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

If you actually consider the amount of public pheasant habitat land in MN though, it is quite small and an extremely small fraction of what is available in either SD or ND. That is why any weekend that you go to public land you're competing with so many other hunters or driving fairly significant distances between hunting locations. I think the walk-in program in SD works well...it is usually very easy to find quality land. I agree some of the land has sparse cover but that is because the contracts can last a few years and some parcels are going through replants and regrowth, etc. Actually, some of those can be pretty good hunting because alot of hunters just drive right by them and they haven't been hunted too much.


Very good point. This is really why I posted this topic. I have hunted pheasants for as long as I can remember and when the population is up, like this year, there is an almost unbearable amount of hunters out there. I only hunt public land, in my experience I have had hard luck getting on private land for a multitude of reasons, but mainly it is either leased or the farmer hunts himself.

I think the MN DNR could learn something from these other programs. For hunters this is a win-win situation. More land to hunt, more birds and more room to spread the hunters out. For farmers, it is also a win-win. Put their least productive land in a program, get paid for it, protect the water qualities, etc etc.

I know these are much of the benefits of the CRP and CREP programs, but how is SD, MT and ND getting so many acres of land secured in this type of cover when MN doesn't? They are obviously doing something different.

If you ask anyone where the hotbed of pheasant hunting is, year in and year out, MN never is the first or second mentioned. I do ALL of my hunting in MN and do quite well, but I think there is room for improvement.

Thanks for all of the comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CRP and Walk-in programs are two different programs. CRP is for tillable ground, Walkin areas can be anything. CRP pays rent comparable to what the farmer would get if he rented the land out, Walk-in pays a few dollars per acre just to give hunters access. CRP is a federal program, Walkin is a state program. They're apples and oranges apart.

I saw some of the land out in SoDak that had Walkin signs on it, some looked very good, some of it was crap, you drove 60 miles only to find a plowed field, or better yet, a pasture with buffalo in it!!!! I'm not kidding, thats what I found!! If they ever did implement Walk-ins here, they would need to to ensure that it was for huntable land and not some wasteland.

Personally I would rather see the money spent on buying land permanently rather than a temporary rent of land like Walkins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alot of good points here. The question is where do you get your biggest bang for the buck? The SD walk-in program has an annual budget of $2 million. They have several hundred thousand acres in the walk-in program now and a goal of eventually 1 million acres. I agree it would be nice to own the land but if the goal is to make alot more pheasant habitat land available for public hunting, it isn't economically feasible. Compare to SD's $2 million budget, even if MN used the same amount to buy land, at approximately $1,000 an acre, you could only buy aprrox 2,000 acres acres per year. Compare that to several hundred thousand that SD places into public hunting every year through their program, which doesn't include their WMAs or GPAs which are in addition to that. I rarely hunt MN anymore (for pheasant anyway) because I am tired of all the competition on public lands. It is just easier to make several trips to SD and ND.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No doubt we do have a lot of Public Land to hunt in Mn- most of what I have hunted doesn't nessicarily hold a lot of ducks or pheasants. The stuff in sw mn does have some crop planted, not sure how that works with the farmer- but that greatly improved the habitat and wildlife hunting opportunities. Buying all this public land does come at a cost though- I think this land comes off the tax roles to some degree which obviously impacts local and county budgets. Maybe the crp programs should change a little- up the payments to farmers or require that if they enroll the land and rcv a govt payment then maybe the land should be open to hunters. The one thing I know is that sportsmen spend a ton of money- creating more and better hunting opportunities only increase dollars into the state and local economy. Just look at the waterfowl dollars spent by non residents in ND.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BigCat, you touched on my main point. We, as taxpayers and hunters in the state of MN, essentially pay the farmers to enroll their land into CRP (or similar) programs. Why do we not have the right to hunt on them?

Just wondering why we aren't provided access to these lands if we are technically paying for them to be set aside. Just curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay fellas, now you have touched on a subject dear to my heart. The MT and ND programs do not have direct connections to CRP. The MT plan actually PAYS farmers and ranchers to allow hunters and permits the landowner a certain degree of control i.e. number of people pre day, ability to limit species etc. The ND program is large and growing.

When I returned to MN a couple years back I could not believe what a primitive, screwed up and ineffective system the state has for management of its natural resources. It is a crime and the MN sportsmen are being screwed right to the wall. Did you know that last time I looked some of the fuding that was supposed to go to F&G funding is being used by your Legislature for other programs? Do you know where all of the Federal dollars the state receives are actually going? I mean Dingel-Johnson and Pittman-Roberts funds etc? The state of MN needs to TOTALLY revamp and rebuild its DNR into something that works. Compare MN to MO (highest rated fish and game agency in the country) or ND or MT. The MN system is a joke. And this in a state that prides itself on its lands and waters, fish and game? C'mon. Ya know what it takes? It takes sportsmen actually doing something-like raising unmitigated #$%^$#% with YOUR local elected Legislator.

Okay. Back in my cage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for clearing that up. So the farmers are not being paid to put their land IN a CRP program, but to give hunters access to their land. So, in essence, these farmers could get dollars from CRP AND dollars from the state to let people hunt? Sounds like a good program to me? I think for the most part the MN DNR does a great job with its resources. There are 10 times or more the hunters and fishermen in this state than in the states you mentioned (well, maybe not Missouri, but surely the others). So it may not be fair to compare MN to those states. This doesn't mean the MN DNR is without fault and there is room for improvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few thoughts from someone who has hunted walk-in land in three states.

MN DNR has made a decision to build their empire of land holdings. They can not even maintain an adequate budget for what they have. Weed control, upland cover degradation via trees, etc........

I have found that many WMAs are subpar tax forfeited type lands. Habitat on Federal WPAs is usually better.

The exceptions are the new lands purchased by Pheasants Forever chapters and local sportsmans groups. These lands are top game producing habitats that local groups know hold and retain game (pheasants and deer - some turkey). The local groups buy and donate land to DNR.

Yes MN has many hunters, but this should enable not disable a walk in plan

- lets start with pheasants. Add 10 dollars to the pheasant stamp for walk-in program. That would be $750,000 to hold waterways, crp, etc... into public hunting grounds.

Finally if farmers can double-dip that maybe what it takes. There will be increasing pressure to converst any and all CRP land back into corn for ethanol. The CRP payments alone may not be enough to save CRP????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the whole point of the CRP program is to encourage farmers to not try to raise crops in areas that aren't really suitable to crops - rocky, hilly, etc. I think they were losing all their top soil and having to apply more and more chemicals to the land to get crops to grow. The gov't pays them to compensate them for not being able to grow crops to make money and as a result there is less chemical in the ground water, streams etc. The fact that it results in good land for wildlife to live and grow in is a result of this program whether it was intended or not in the early stages of the program.

This is what I always thought the point of CRP programs was, correct me if I am wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a farmer but my $.02 is that CRP has done a lot of good for upland birds, deer, and duckies. These types of programs have also seriously helped improve water quality in the SW part of the state. I'm unsure of the rules as to what types of land can go into CRP and I need a farmer to fill me in on that but I do know that there are rules to that game.

I understand, kinda, the theory behind why the farmer gets paid not to farm their land. Especially if it helps wildlife and slows pollution. However, if I were a farmer I would not want Joe General public tromping around on my land. If that were a requirement for land to go into CRP or CREP I can see a good number of farmers planting crops on that land. All a guy has to do is look around at the WMA's and WPA's and see all the trash, shot up signs, busted fences, etc. I know it's a small percentage doing the bad stuff but it's the small percentage that leaves the most noticable mark on the land owner.

Just my 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has already been discussed on another post, but here is my .02. Deer hunting in MN is so much different than other states with WalkIn programs that you will have some serious problems developing that type of a program. Very, VERY few parcels with even decent habitat are not hunted. People will not be giving up deer hunting access in MN. They will not want people hunting birds on their deer hunting land around deer season either. So take three weeks or so out of the mix. What are you left with? Not much. I like MTs program better than the Dakotas, as MT gives incentive to the landowner to provide habitat (more hunters = more $$). Many times in the dakotas, I have seen mowed hay fields or pastures as a walkin program. So, if you can find a way around the deer hunting issue, I am all ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain Musky: A bit of misunderstanding here. Farmers are not paid by the Feds. to take land out of production and then get PAID to let sportsmen on it. The CRP program is not DIRECTLY related to sportsmen or access. As a side benefit to an agricultural program wildlife habitat remains and increases (presumably) and that is why sportsmen should support federal appropriations for the CRP. Are there some scams in the program? hey, does duck have a bill?! Only the MT program actually PAYS land owners to allow sportsmen onto their property.A farmer or rancher could certainly have land in CRP and then lease it to somebody I suppose as a duck slough or field and THUS double-dip.

This is a serious problem that is not going to be easily remedied-if at all, but if somethng does not change you are going to see hunting totally in the hands of the wealthy and the property owners. As it is in much of Europe. If you're wealthy or a big land owner all's right with the world. If not, you're going to end up selling your guns in disgust. I'm an old guy; I've enjoyed hunting that most younger people wouldn't believe so its okay if I'm close to being done. But you young guys better jump up and start making some noise before its too late.

Okay. I swore I would not get myself into this stuff again and here I am! (Contact Us Please).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ND and MT are not deer hunting states. Think again! Deer season in ND runs 16.5 days state wide - not the split 2 day and 4 day seasons that MN runs across pheasant country.

Agree many landowners in all states limit or restrict hunting during and maybe a week before deer season.

MN DNR could find plenty of willing land owners offering up creeks, CRP, etc... to hunters.

MN should try run this program ... if it does not work after 3 - 5 years, then move on and try something else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't say ND and MT were not deer hunting states, I said it is different in MN. And after many years of hunting in all 3 states, I truly believe it would be hard to bring a walk-in program to MN without some well thought out plans to address this issue. I am not a naysayer, and in fact would love a well run walk in program. I am just pointing out that there is a difference between the states and to just jump up and down and scream for a program is not in our best interest. The DNR has looked at it and they have decided against it so far. Hopefully, someone smarter than me can come up with a program that works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you going to pay the propety taxes on all this CRP you think you should be able to hunt?? Are you going to pay to keep the weeds under control?? Yeah - farmer's get a payment to put land into CRP, but there are still some expenses. The farmer still ownes the land - he's the one that worked his tail off to buy it. That is if the CRP is even owned by a farmer anymore. Most CRP around where I live is owed by people who do not farm, but inherited or bought the agricultural land and then put it into the program (most of this land would be more productive if it was farmed by the way)- They take the CRP payment and then turn around and try to sell the land to hunters (mainly from the cites.) The land access problem is growing because a lot of CRP is not farmer owned anymore - it is owned by people living in urban areas that can afford to buy land for the sole pupose of hunting. You would have a much better chance getting permission from a farmer than from a city guy that bought that land just to hunt it. The DNR buying the land outright is the way to go - that way it is always going to be there for anyone to hunt.

FI

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many county and township boards do not like to see more land move from private to public ownership. Does the DNR pay taxes on their WMAs??

The Walk-in access concept secures and pays for land that is temporarily in good cover. Not all landowners want to sell - this program can pull in valuable property - even if for shorter time periods.

I suspect that the cost ratio of lease to own is about 500 to 1. That is land would sell for $1,000 to $2,000 per acre could be leased for around $2 to $4. Even if you triple that number -

Finally the DNR admits they can not handle what they currently own regarding grass, weeds, maintaining, etc... They would not have any of these cost except temp signs.

If it works for ND, SD, MT, and Kansas - why not MN?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brittman, I agree with you. The current amount of public pheasant habitat land is terribly inadequate to meet the demand of all the MN pheasant hunters. While it is nice to have the DNR own the land, making a payment to secure access (as ND and SD do) allows much more land to be accessible. I still buy a pheasant stamp each year (even though I don't hunt MN) and support Pheasants Forever but can only hunt weekends and the competition for hunting space at those times is high. Consequently, I prefer to hunt outside of MN (ND, SD, Iowa). I would be willing to pay several times more for a pheasant stamp if it placed alot more public land into the program. Also, the state is short sited on this because the economic value of all the hunters leaving the state is huge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

I didn't say ND and MT were not deer hunting states, I said it is different in MN. And after many years of hunting in all 3 states, I truly believe it would be hard to bring a walk-in program to MN without some well thought out plans to address this issue. I am not a naysayer, and in fact would love a well run walk in program. I am just pointing out that there is a difference between the states and to just jump up and down and scream for a program is not in our best interest. The DNR has looked at it and they have decided against it so far. Hopefully, someone smarter than me can come up with a program that works.


No doubt, especially considering the southern 1/3 of MN, there is quite a difference between states. The agriculture is more intensive and the population density is higher. Programs that would work in places like ND for instance would never fly. Heck, when I was living in north central ND, my RFD mailbox was 3 miles from my house! Somehow, the junk mail always got through though but I digress. CD has it right; rather than trying a one size fits all program for the sake of trying something that's doomed to fail, it's probably best to study it awhile first. Since MN is such a diverse state, perhaps regionalize it somehow so the characteristics of the regions are taken into account, not unlike the way businesses large and small operate with different geographical and sociological areas. There, that's enough 6 cylinder words for one post! grin.gif

Someone was wondering whether the DNR paid taxes on land that had been purchased into WMA's. Not sure how it's done but I believe there is some kind of restitution from the state to make up for the loss of the land on the tax base. Perhaps someone closer to the township or county government can clarify this.

Neutral on the issue of more WMA's. While I'm not generally a big fan of more government land ownership, I realize people need areas to hunt. Probably helps keep the trespass problems on private land down somewhat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0