Montana’s Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters
Although Montana’s Block Management Program is extremely popular, bird hunters often agree that finding quality places to hunt birds – yes, even in Montana - gets trickier each year. Last year, the state launched the new Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program, which added 19,000 acres available for walk-in hunting (that number may change this year depending on landowner participation).
Funding for the Open Fields for Game Bird Hunters program comes from the Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Improvement Program (VPA-HIP). Commonly referred to as “Open Fields,” the VPA-HIP funding represents the first time federal Farm Bill funding has been offered to assist states in implementing private land hunting, fishing, and access programs. The inclusion of VPA-HIP as part of the 2008 Farm Bill was strongly supported by Pheasants Forever.
Why You Should Go
Program habitat focus is Conservation Reserve Program lands (CRP), but also may include other high-value habitats for game birds. Project locations are in select counties in Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Regions 4, 6, and 7 (north-central, northeast, and southeast Montana), in some of the best pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge areas in the state.
All areas are private lands that allow walk-in access for fall game bird hunting. Through the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Program, Montana is accepting “Open Fields” applications from eligible landowners May 20 through June 14, 2013.