Hunters can expect to find it more difficult than usual to finalize hunting access arrangements this year, due to high fire danger in many parts of the state. While specific area closures or recreational activity limitations may result from the actions of various governmental agencies, private landowners may be reluctant to make access commitments on their own lands until fire danger is reduced.
"Even if a hunter is trying now to arrange for access later in the season, a landowner who is staring at smoke on the horizon may not be enthused about discussing recreational access at that particular moment," said Alan Charles, FWP's coordinator for Landowner/Sportsman relations. "Hunters need to realize that fire concerns that could jeopardize a landowner's livelihood can obviously influence his management decisions regarding public recreational activities"
Hunters can improve their chances of obtaining access by showing a heightened awareness of fire dangers, calling at times that are most convenient for the landowner, and making every effort to accommodate a landowner's concerns regarding access to his land. While hunters are always encouraged to make access arrangements as far in advance as possible, in a year such as this that is fraught with so much uncertainty directly tied to weather conditions, hunters may do well to delay trying to make access arrangements until fire conditions improve.
More than anything, this is the kind of year that demands tolerance and understanding. While many hunters have high expectations for those magical weeks of early autumn when the hunting seasons begin, a tinderbox year like this one may require some deferral of hunting activities until conditions improve.