The National Wild Turkey Federation has donated $23,800 to ensure hunter access to more than 22,000 acres of public land on two wildlife management areas in Virginia.
Both Big Survey WMA in Wythe County and the southern boundary of Clinch Mountain WMA are receiving help from the NWTF to continue and improve hunting access.
“These areas provide hunting opportunities for many Virginians,” said Dowd Bruton, NWTF regional biologist for Virginia. “It’s crucial that we maintain access to public land to enhance habitat for wildlife and recreation for people.”
On Big Survey, more than four miles of roads and 122 acres of openings will be created to provide walk-in access for hunters and habitat for wild turkey hens to raise their broods.
Brood habitat, such as grassy openings, is critical to wild turkey poults during the spring and summer months. Grassy openings provide food and cover to developing birds.
On Clinch Mountain, permanent right of way access has been offered to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by a private landowner, but a land survey had to be conducted before the documents could be signed.
“This is the only access to the southern part of Clinch Mountain,” said Kevin Walters, NWTF Mount Rogers Chapter president. “Without this right of way, a lot of public land would be closed to all kinds of public recreation.”
Even though hunters contribute millions of dollars through excise taxes, license fees, tags and stamp purchases, access to quality public land is a major issue of hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Hunters often cite lack of access as a primary reason for not hunting or purchasing a license.
The NWTF’s More Places to Hunt program seeks to open areas for public recreation including hunting. Under More Places to Hunt, NWTF members and volunteers are working to provide access to both public and private land.
So far the NWTF has contributed almost $9 million to purchase 401,450 acres of land for public hunting nationwide since 1985.
“In order for us to continue America’s hunting tradition, we must have both public and private lands available for parents to teach their children about the outdoors,” said Rob Keck, NWTF CEO. “The importance of providing access to land for hunters cannot be understated. The NWTF is committed to making sure there is somewhere for generations to come to continue the hunting tradition.”