From Senator Rich Taylor

Written by Theresa Rose on June 29, 2015

INCREASING IOWA’S HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES

Iowa’s Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan seeks to understand Iowans’ outdoor recreation wants and needs, and to create places for them to enjoy their favorite activities.

The plan is based on a 2012 survey that showed 21 percent of respondents had hunted in the previous two years and that 29 percent were very interested in hunting in the next two years. Iowans indicated that two of the reasons they don’t go hunting is lack of access to hunting lands and nobody to go with. The good news is that new initiatives are tackling those obstacles.

This year, the Legislature approved an apprentice hunter program that gives potential hunters the chance to see if it is an activity they enjoy. SF 392, which was signed into law on April 8, allows you to purchase a hunting license with an apprentice hunter designation. This designation allows you to hunt for up to two years under the direct supervision of a fully licensed hunter without having to first complete the required hunter education course. Similar programs operate in at least 35 other states and have increased the number of hunters nationwide by 1.2 million.

Iowans have indicated that they want more lands to pursue their recreational interests. In the case of hunting, that is becoming a reality through the Habitat & Access Program (IHAP). Under this program, landowners can submit a plan to install wildlife habitat or improve existing habitat on their property. If the plan is accepted, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will provide an incentive payment to the landowner. The agreement allows hunters access to the portion of the property from September 1 to May 31.

More than 8,000 Iowa acres were enrolled as part of a pilot program from 2011 to 2014. Iowans who hunted on IHAP lands indicated they were satisfied with their experience. As a result, the program is expanding with the help of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

If you’re looking to hunt on IHAP land or are considering installing wildlife habitat on your property, you can learn more at www.iowadnr.gov/ .

Additional information

This is a legislative update from Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.

To contact Senator Taylor during session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov.

Senator Taylor is chair of the Local Government Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Human Resources, Judiciary, and Justice Systems Budget committees.