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Archive for Sunday, June 3, 2007

Deadline for WIHA nearing

June 3, 2007

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Deadline for landowners interested in the state's Walk-In Hunting Access Program to enroll is July 1.

The WIHA program, which began in 1995, grew to a million acres in 100 counties last year. Lease payments have increased $100 per contract from previous years.

Almost anyone who owns, leases or manages 80 contiguous acres of land with suitable wildlife habitat can qualify.

A little more than half the land enrolled in WIHA is federal Conservation Reserve Program grass, but other lands are also considered, including native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble and riparian and wetland areas.

After receiving a request, state biologists will review the land for game habitat potential. Payment rates are based on the size and location of tracts and the number of months the landowner wants the land open to hunting.

An additional 50 percent bonus is offered in the following urban counties - Butler, Coffey, Cowley, Douglas, Franklin, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Kingman, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Osage, Ottawa, Reno, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Johnson, Wyandotte and Wabaunsee.

Once enrolled, the property is posted and included in maps published in a free atlas provided by Wildlife and Parks. Natural resource officers periodically patrol WIHA properties.

In addition, state law provides additional protection to private individuals who lease their agricultural land to the state for recreational purposes from liability for damages or injuries resulting from ordinary negligence.

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