But that one act could change the minds of a lot of landowners and land administrators. When in the field, or representing your sport anywhere, present a positive image. Behave in a manner that will make the public feel good about hunters in general.
2) Be Proactive - Don’t wait for access to happen; because it won’t. Seek opportunities, then work to make it happen. Consult your local game warden or biologist and ask if there are any farmers or other landowners having problems with nuisance wildlife. That could be an in. Look for recently-acquired public or quasi-public land. Often land trusts use public funds to acquire land or development rights. In many cases if public funds are used, public access is guaranteed. Get involved with local land trust boards and steering committees that decide which types of access will be allowed.
3) Go Above and Beyond - Far too often, a simple “thank you,” is all a landowner gets in return for granting access. Whether public or private, work with landowners or administrators, building relationships and seeking ways to enhance the outdoor experience. Something as simple as offering a day’s working putting up hay or mending fences could go a long way toward retaining access. Be an extra set of eyes and ears for the landowner. If you see something amiss, let them know. (Watch, record and report, but do not get directly involved with any activity you suspect may be unlawful).
4) Organize - As Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative and volunteerism have demonstrated, many hands make for light work. A group of hunters working together with landowners has a much better chance of gaining and retaining access than does an individual. In some cases, particularly when dealing with private land, smaller groups may be better. They’re less intimidating to the landowner and prevent overcrowding. Larger groups may be more successful working on public land.
As the human population continues to grow and sprawl out into undeveloped areas, remaining areas and access to them will become increasingly more valuable and harder to find. They will be there however, for some time to come. We just might have to work a little harder to find, and hold on to them.