Landowners interested in the Kansas Department of Wildlife and
Parks’ (KDWP) Walk-In Hunting Access Program (WIHA) — which pays
landowners to allow public hunting access on their land — are
reminded that the deadline for enrollment is July 13. The WIHA
program, which began in 1995, grew to more than one million acres
in 2008, including almost 3,000 contracts.
Almost anyone who owns, leases, or manages 80 contiguous acres
of land with suitable wildlife habitat can qualify. A little more
than half the land enrolled in WIHA is federal Conservation Reserve
Program (CRP) grass, but other lands are also considered, including
native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble, and riparian
and wetland areas.
After receiving a request, KDWP biologists evaluate the wildlife
habitat on applicants’ land. Payment rates are based on the size
and location of tracts and the number of months the landowner wants
the land open to hunting. A 50-percent additional incentive payment
is offered for WIHA in the following urban counties: Butler,
Coffey, Cowley, Douglas, Franklin, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson,
Kingman, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Osage, Ottawa, Reno, Saline,
Sedgwick, Shawnee, Sumner, Johnson, Wyandotte, and Wabaunsee.
Once enrolled, the property is posted and included in maps
published in a free atlas provided by KDWP. Natural resource
officers periodically patrol WIHA properties. In addition, state
law provides additional protection to private individuals who lease
their agricultural land to the state for recreational purposes from
liability for damages or injuries resulting from ordinary
Lease options include open periods running Sept. 1-Jan. 31 and
Nov. 1-Jan. 31. A popular spin-off is the Spring Turkey WIHA, April
1- May 31. For more information, phone 620-672-5911.