Thirteen new Open Fields enrollments are now available for game bird hunters, just in time for opening day of pheasant season. The new projects were not included in the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program Projects Access Guide because of timing issues, but hunters may find maps showing the new enrollments on the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program’s Web page and can also view the project locations and boundaries on FWP’s online Hunt Planner map.
FWP staff are currently in the process of signing access boundaries for the new projects and anticipate most of them will be signed before the pheasant season opens on Saturday Oct. 10.
Open Fields enrolls private lands that have Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres and other high- quality upland game bird habitats. All Open Fields allow walk-in game bird hunting only, with no further permission needed from the landowner. This year, nearly 5,000 new access acres have been added to Open Fields already available to hunters, providing nearly 70,000 acres of access.
FWP’s Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program, which administers Open Fields projects as well as many other habitat enhancement projects for game birds, is made possible in large part by partnerships with private landowners. As hunters enjoy the hunting opportunities these enrollments offer, they are reminded to treat all properties accessed through the program with respect. Avoid hunting near safety areas or livestock, don’t litter, no driving off roads or access trails, leave all gates as they are found, and avoid parking in areas of tall grass due to fire danger.
Finally, and most importantly, remember to thank a landowner this fall.