Landowners interested in the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' successful Walk-In-Hunting-Access Program (WIHA) are reminded that the deadline for enrollment is July 20. The WIHA program, which began in 1995, grew to 99 counties with more than 800,000 acres in 2001.
Almost anyone who owns, leases, or manages 80 contiguous acres of land with suitable wildlife habitat can qualify. Most of the land enrolled in WIHA is entered in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), but other lands are also considered, including native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble, riparian, and wetland areas.
After receiving a request, KDWP biologists will review the land for hunting opportunity potential. Payment rates are based on the size and location of tracts and the number of months the landowner wants the land open to hunting. Once enrolled, the property is posted and is published in a detailed atlas provided by the KDWP.
Conservation Officers will periodically patrol WIHA properties.
One attraction of the WIHA plan is that the landowner is free of liability. Under state law, private individuals who lease their land to the state for recreational purposes are immune from damages or injuries resulting from ordinary negligence.
Different enrollment options include youth areas, spring turkey hunting, game and equipment restrictions, and habitat maintenance agreements. For more information, phone (620) 672-5911.