A&H Program Opens Nearly 20,000 Acres of NE Oregon Private Lands to Public Hunting

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A&H Program Opens Nearly 20,000 Acres of NE Oregon Private Lands to Public HuntingLA GRANDE, Ore.— An agreement between the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and three northeast Oregon landowners has opened almost 20,000 acres of private lands in Baker and Union counties to public hunting for the 2008-09 hunting seasons.

This access is made possible by $46,187 in grant funds from the ODFW Access and Habitat Program awarded to the landowners in return for allowing the public to hunt on their properties. These open-to-hunt properties include:

Widman Access Area

A $17,460 grant to Baker County landowner Mike Widman will open 8,430 acres of his property to public hunting from Aug. 1 to Dec. 1, 2008. A portion of the grant will be used for signage marking property boundaries. The Widman property is located within the Lookout Mountain Wildlife Management Area and consists of sagebrush steppe and high elevation conifer and aspen habitat. The area offers opportunities to hunt for trophy mule deer and chukar. Elk and pronghorn also use the property.

Forsea Ranch Access Area

The owners of Forsea Ranch in Baker County will receive $20,992 to permit public hunting access to 9,330 acres of private land from Aug. 1, 2008 to July 31, 2009. The Forsea Ranch has been enrolled in this access program since 2003. The property offers outstanding opportunities to hunt for bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, bear, cougar and upland game birds. An additional $1,600 will be used for access area signs and maps.

Smutz Access Area

Landowner Irwin Smutz will receive $3,535 to allow public hunting on 1,414 acres of his Union County property from Aug. 1, 2008 to July 31, 2009. An additional $1,600 will go for signs and maps and another $1,000 in grant funds will be used to build two gravel parking lots. The property offers hunting for deer, elk, bear, cougar, waterfowl and upland game birds.

For additional information on hunting these areas contact the ODFW Grande Ronde Watershed District Office in La Grande at 541-963-2138.

The A&H Program is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses and revenues from auction and raffle hunts. Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.

For information on the A&H Program call program coordinator Matt Keenan at 503-947-6087 or visit the Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us/AH/.