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Posted 9/09/09 (Wed)
PLOTS in Sheridan County helps hunting access availability
By ALLAN TINKER
Among the many programs offered to landowners in Sheridan County is the ND Game and Fish initiative PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen). The Private Land Initiative (PLI) is the overall mechanism of that department for applying their mission of protecting, conserving and enhancing fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for public use.
Farmers may choose from a range of programs that fit their particular farm’s activities and the land therein. Perhaps it is trees or shrubs that are depleted or never established; it might also be that the soil is worn out and needs refurbishing with seed and plantings to become fully vital again for both agricultural and wildlife use.
The programs are many and diversified, but most contain the provision, that for the help from the department, the cooperator/landowner must allow public access to the property and allow signs that specify those lands that are open to hunting.
These programs include: Habitat Plot Program, CRP Cost Sharing Program, Working Lands Program, Tree Planting Cost Sharing Program, Food Plot Program, Private Forest Conservation Program, and WRP (Wetland Reserve Program) Incentive. The latter is a partnership between ND Game and Fish and USDA. It provides additional incentives to producers enrolling their land in WRP.
Complaints heard from ranchers and farmers have included one issue: that some programs compete with the lands they normally rent for their operations. Whether this complaint is justified is not certain and should be addressed directly with a Game and Fish office.
One rancher also wanted to know if the contract amounts for the various PLOTS programs were listed and available on the internet, such as the USDA payments are. That answer was not available in the information on the website information for the PLOTS program. Those who wish to inquire as to this issue should contact their local Game and Fish representative or call the Game and Fish office in Bismarck: 701-328-6300.