WGFD, WDA recognize landowners for providing access to private lands
Casper – During the 2016 Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Wyoming Department of Agriculture recognized four landowners from across the state of Wyoming for providing access on private lands for hunting and fishing.
Wyoming Board of Agriculture Chairman Kendall Roberts commented, “I think this is one of the best programs that we can offer to private landowners who open up their private lands to sportsman to enjoy hunting and fishing. Personally, it’s one of my favorite because the Access Recognition Program highlights those landowners and ranchers who open their lands to provide opportunities for sportsmen and women of all ages.”
Carrie Little, president of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission added, “We are here to honor a few landowners who have been willing to provide the privilege of access on to and through their private property.”
Little noted that it isn’t so simple as just saying, “Yes,” to provide access, but also includes cleaning up after users, giving directions, worrying about gates and fences and more.
“We allow access because we believe that hunting and fishing are a way of life that we don’t want to go away. We know that conservation is important and controlling numbers is an important part of that,” Little added. “For those landowners who have worked with WGFD to open up land to the public, we thank you all.”
From the northeast corner of the state, WGFD’s Matt Withroder recognized Thorval and Janet Jensen of Jensen Ranch in Colony, stating, “The Jensen Ranch is located along the Belle Fourche River and is comprised of very productive lands, including irrigated hay meadows. Each year the Jensens allow access to hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer and antelope, while charging a minor fee to access their lands.”
He noted that in that area of northeast Wyoming, there is limited access to public lands, the couple has been proactive in managing their ranch and addressing wildlife issues through access.
“Thorval and Janet are most deserving of the 2016 Access Recognition Program award, as they clearly demonstrate their support and dedication to providing access for hunting opportunities,” Withroder said.
The Graham family of Jeffrey City received the landowner access award for the northwest region.
“The ranch includes large BLM allotments totally approximately 275,000 acres,” said WGFD’s Dan Smith. “Although the primary function of the ranch is cattle, the Graham Ranch is home to antelope, deer, occasionally elk and plenty of small game and game bird species.”
With wild horses also in the area, Smith added that they see a wide variety of recreational uses, including, hunting, fishing, rock collecting and photography.
He added, “The Grahams have always been a friend and advocate of the WGFD and a welcoming host to the state’s hunters and fisherman. They provide great opportunities for hunting and fishing on their property and work hard to manage the land to benefit both livestock and wildlife.”
Jason Sherwood of WGFD recognized Bard Ranch and Amy and Brandin Miller for their work providing access and connecting public and deeded land in Platte and Albany counties.
“The Bard Ranch is an extensive ranch in Platte and Albany counties, including several discrete parcels and encompasses many acres of deeded land,” Sherwood said. “By early 2009, they joined the Hunter Management Program by enrolling all 11,670 acres of their property in northern Albany County. The McFarlane Hunter Management Area provides unlimited permission slips for antlerless elk hunting in hunt area seven, an area that is over the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s elk population objective.”
Their work provides access for hundreds of hunters and work cooperatively to manage both wildlife and hunters.
On the other side of the state, Ray and Kathleen Weber of Weber Ranch were recognized by Andy Countryman. Weber Ranch reaches from the Colorado state line to just south of Interstate 80.
“Habitat on the Weber’s ranch is diversified from sagebrush grasslands to juniper forests. The ranch also contains riparian wetlands, cottonwood groves and grass meadows,” Countryman said.
He added, “Ray and Kathleen graciously keep their property open to the public to all sorts of recreational activities, including hunting and fishing. All they ask is the users close the gates behind them. The Webers stand out as people who continue to provide access to sportsmen and are landowners worthy of receiving the 2016 Access Recognition Program award for their generosity and good stewardship.”
The Access Recognition Program is a joint endeavor of the Wyoming Board of Agriculture, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Wyoming Wildlife Foundation.
Saige Albert, managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, compiled this article following the recognition luncheon. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.