All of the wildlife management areas, National forests and grasslands, refuges, and other public areas open to hunting total less than 1 million acres of land, less than 2 percent of Nebraska’s land base. Nebraska’s public land is concentrated in the western part of the state, while the state’s human population is concentrated in the east.
On more and more private land, especially some of the best land for hunting, hunting rights are privately leased. For Nebraska hunters, the biggest challenge can be finding a place to hunt.
The Federation supports the Game & Parks Commission Open Fields and Waters program, which provides walk-in hunting opportunities on about 275,000 acres of private land.
The Nebraska Wildlife Federation is working to meet these access challenges which face Nebraskans whether they like to hunt, watch wildlife, camp, hike, or just enjoy natural areas and wildlife:
In our work negotiating the Platte River Recovery Program, we stood fast to ensure that the 10,000 acres of habitat to be protected in the Central Platte under the program will be open for public hunting and other recreation, where appropriate; [link to our Platte River page]
In our Farm Bill work, we support efforts to expand USDA conservation programs, and to provide incentives awarding conservation program contracts to landowners willing to open their land for public recreation;
We fight against efforts to hamstring agencies like Game & Parks and the Nebraska Environmental Trust with restrictions on their ability to acquire land for habitat conservation;
We support opportunities to open the 1.3 million acres of Board of Educational Lands & Funds public land to public hunting and other recreation. These are publicly owned lands managed by the Board of Educational Lands & Funds and leased mostly for farming and ranching, but the agency traditionally has not considered those as ‘public access’ lands.