A formal evaluation of Iowa Department of Natural Resource's Iowa Habitat and Access Program: an insight into hunter landowner relations in Iowa

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2015-01-01
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Crain, James
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Rebecca Christoffel
Robert Klaver
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Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Abstract

In states with little public land such as Iowa, the majority of hunting takes place on private lands, of which landowners allow limited hunting access. In response to this shortage of accessible private land, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) initiated the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP), which opened up 50 privately owned properties (~8,000 acres) to public hunting. Strong relationships with willing landowners were critical to IHAP's beginning and continued good relations among hunters, landowners, and IDNR are critical to IHAP's future. During July and August of 2013, we conducted in-person interviews with participating landowners about their experiences with IHAP. We asked them to evaluate IHAP based on: (1) their overall satisfaction, (2) their interactions with IDNR personnel, (3) necessary program procedures, and (4) their perceptions of IHAP hunters. Overall, 100% (n = 29) of the landowners we interviewed were satisfied with IHAP. Landowners enjoyed IHAP because the program reduces their costs for property management, and improves habitat for wildlife, which they can share with others. All interviewees expressed satisfaction with the behavior of hunters, and 96% (n = 28) were satisfied with the service of IDNR staff.

Since IHAP was initiated, landowners indicated an increased number of hunters using their properties. Although hunters are not required to obtain permission or pay to hunt IHAP lands, many landowners indicated that they often interacted with visiting hunters. Such new interactions may be beneficial for improving hunter-landowner relations.

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015