Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA, NRA certified Range Safety Officer, Pistol Instructor, Rifle Instructor.
The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
"My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
I agree with most of what has been said about gaining access to public lands. A good portion of the public lands that are landlocked are leased to landowners for grazing (at a pretty cheap cost too I think). IMHO if the land is leased to the landowner, then the public should have access to it.
I agree with ILovetheWest about requiring guns cased, unloaded....whatever they want while we cross private lands; but if public land is landlocked and leased to a landowner, there is no reason why the everyday sportsman should not have access to it.
I'm late to the party and rarely comment on such forums, but I have to state my agreement with you on this issue. Some of the best public land hunting areas in Montana are completely surrounded by private lands which do not allow access. They however, use our public lands as their private playgrounds to recreate on - or even profit from by charging hunters exhorbitant amounts for access privilege to hunt our public lands (essentially blocking access to local hunters).
OK, off my soapbox.
I commend the G&F for continuing to seek out opportunities for sportsmen. But their hands are tied to a great extent. They can't compete with the money of some who can pay thousands for outfitting leases. And, quite frankly, a good outfitter who can pay will have less of an impact on the land than an unlimited WIA.
It's the lucky sportsman who can get cheap access to prime ground. Most of us have to face the music that we have our work cut out for us to find good hunting on heavily hunted areas. This good hunting exists, it's just incredibly hard to find, and even tougher on the body.
This year I saw 4 occupied camp trailers on Wyoming State land (Illegal) and they didn't seem to care when I told them so. That's what gets state land closed (except for ranchers). By the way, from what I've seen...the outfitters lease the prime ranches and the G&F gets access to lands from ranchers who can't lease it to outfitters because of lack of game, land that's overgrazed to the point where a grasshopper would have to pack a lunch.
As a rancher and public land hunter , I have to say most of you should just pull up your big girl panties and get over your self. Most rancher have lived and worked thier land for generations. The reason it is still government land is because its marginal land and most likely the government doesnt control the water it's private. Now if you want to change access it will have to be done with deeded access. But what you'll end up with is as many people as on all the other public lands. Funny how everybody wants to curse the rancher but where do they want to hunt? His land because its managed and healthy. My opinion is the first rule that should be changed is the wilderness outfitter law, what total crap.