Yeti

Monetizing Access Made Easy

Beignet

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Feb 27, 2021
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636
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Montaña

I first heard of this Land Trust site last October when someone posted on HT that a friend "didn't have a place to hunt" in MT because the CA ranch was sold. At the time it didn't have a whole lot of listings and I'd hoped it would quietly go away. Recently came across this article in MTFP recently and had another look at the site. Seems like there's a LOT more listings. Particularly in eastern MT where Block Management is most heavily utilized.

I'm most familiar with access issues in MT, but looks like this site is getting popular in a lot of other states. Is this the future of public-private access? The start of Block Management's demise?

It's no secret that folks have been getting stingier with access, but something about this site just kinda rubs me the wrong way. I suppose in the so-called "sharing economy" something like this was bound to pop up sooner or later.

I was admittedly hesitant to even post this thread because I didn't want to contribute to publicizing the site at all.
 

Mallardsx2

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Apr 4, 2015
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1,309
Pay to play. Sad times in the future for sure. If they think I am going to pay $2000 to hunt whitetails on someone's property for 4 days they must have lost their freaking minds though lol.
 

idahohuntr

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Joined
Dec 19, 2013
Messages
275
I don't see this as all bad. Like most, I dislike the pay-to-play and constant march towards making hunting a wealthy person's game...but to the extent this creates more access it could be a positive. It has to be more appealing to a broad swath of landowners who want to maintain control...and maybe it will give DIY guys a fighting chance at some decent private that doesn't require going fully guided with an outfitter?
 

Beignet

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Feb 27, 2021
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636
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Montaña
Reinventing the wheel. Trespass fees and leasing are nothing new.
Agreed. But, too the best of my knowledge, I don't think there's been such a public clearinghouse to secure paid private access. Then again, I know literally nothing about the world of paying for access, guides, etc.

I don't see this as all bad. Like most, I dislike the pay-to-play and constant march towards making hunting a wealthy person's game...but to the extent this creates more access it could be a positive. It has to be more appealing to a broad swath of landowners who want to maintain control...and maybe it will give DIY guys a fighting chance at some decent private that doesn't require going fully guided with an outfitter?
I can see your point. On one hand this seems a bit more transparent than one of those shadowy "hunting consultants" that arranges exclusive access for the insanely wealthy. But that's kind of a lesser of two evils view. I'd much prefer, in MT's case, to see landowners enroll or stay in Block Management, even Type II. However, that program is certainly due for an overhaul. I believe some local conservation groups and FWP are exploring options to do this.
 

LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
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3,083
Location
MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
I don't see this as all bad. Like most, I dislike the pay-to-play and constant march towards making hunting a wealthy person's game...but to the extent this creates more access it could be a positive. It has to be more appealing to a broad swath of landowners who want to maintain control...and maybe it will give DIY guys a fighting chance at some decent private that doesn't require going fully guided with an outfitter?
100% agree. The guy paying to hunt private might bump some critters onto adjacent public land. The guy paying to hunt private land is not competing with you for the same glassing point each day prior to sunrise. The landowner not leasing to an outfitter may offer access at a price point well below what an outfitter wants. I do not need an outfitter unless a unit needs horses to improve odds for a decent hunt. I have my gear. I can feed myself. I can field judge. I can get the critter quartered. Eastern WY private lands are heavily either no hunting or leased to an outfitter for pronghorn season. I am not sure what an outfitter does on a pronghorn hunt but manage the steering wheel of the truck as drive through pastures.
 

OntarioHunter

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Sep 11, 2020
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4,001
I don't see this as all bad. Like most, I dislike the pay-to-play and constant march towards making hunting a wealthy person's game...but to the extent this creates more access it could be a positive. It has to be more appealing to a broad swath of landowners who want to maintain control...and maybe it will give DIY guys a fighting chance at some decent private that doesn't require going fully guided with an outfitter?
I don't get the notion that landowners under Block Management "lose control" over their property. It's a myth that needs dispelling. I hunt one large property where the landowner designates how many hunters can hunt each day in each district of the ranch. He also specifies what size bucks can be shot. Other landowners have closed their property to upland hunting during hard years. Etc., etc. Lots of landowners require signing in with them personally to keep out known slob hunters (invariably locals!). Read the fine print. It's not always just anyone signing in at a box.
 

seeth07

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Oct 14, 2016
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1,549
Location
Markesan, WI
I don't see this as all bad. Like most, I dislike the pay-to-play and constant march towards making hunting a wealthy person's game...but to the extent this creates more access it could be a positive. It has to be more appealing to a broad swath of landowners who want to maintain control...and maybe it will give DIY guys a fighting chance at some decent private that doesn't require going fully guided with an outfitter?
I agree with you. I see this as mostly a positive thing, especially if the popularity of these sites increases. Here are the things that come to mind as a potential positive outcome:

1) Outfitters already typically charge a very high premium for hunts. Its not for the poor to go outfitted. Sites like this will create some competition with outfitters. Clients might look at this option over going fully outfitted. More private might open up as an option rather than being leased to outfitters.
2) Pressure. Even if private is leased by an outfitter, animals might not be pressured on that private land. With this style of option, the hunter might not have the knowledge needed to ensure they don't chase every critter off of the private. This could lead to wildlife being more spread out between public and private properties.
3) Tag availability. There are lots of tags that are easy to get in heavy private areas or "private land only". If hunters have the easy option of just getting one of those tags rather than put in for the draws, that is one less hunter in the pool of people trying to get the hard to draw public land hunts.
4) Loss of small ranches to large corporations. I'm not exactly sure how bad this problem is out west but in WI, the small 40-400 acre family dairy farm is dying out at a very fast rate to large corporation operations. If the small guys can more easily make some extra cash off recreational opportunities, it might be enough extra to keep them going and passing it along to the next generation rather than giving in to the $$$ of the big bullies trying to buy them out.
 

Beignet

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Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
636
Location
Montaña
I don't get the notion that landowners under Block Management "lose control" over their property. It's a myth that needs dispelling. I hunt one large property where the landowner designates how many hunters can hunt each day in each district of the ranch. He also specifies what size bucks can be shot. Other landowners have closed their property to upland hunting during hard years. Etc., etc. Lots of landowners require signing in with them personally to keep out known slob hunters (invariably locals!). Read the fine print. It's not always just anyone signing in at a box.
Crossing threads, but it looks like MT's Elk Advisory Committee is suggesting expanding landowner control:

"The group recommends development of a new access program that would allow landowners more control as well as technical assistance to connect with hunters. That could include requirements for an advanced hunter proficiency course or any other landowner stipulation, similar to a VRBO-style dashboard, Wargo, who carried the proposal, said."
 

OntarioHunter

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Sep 11, 2020
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Crossing threads, but it looks like MT's Elk Advisory Committee is suggesting expanding landowner control:

"The group recommends development of a new access program that would allow landowners more control as well as technical assistance to connect with hunters. That could include requirements for an advanced hunter proficiency course or any other landowner stipulation, similar to a VRBO-style dashboard, Wargo, who carried the proposal, said."
More "landowner cobtrol" can be a double edged sword. I know of one large BM landowner who required personal sign in. Problem was he never answered the phone or responded to voice-mail to arrange for sign in. This went on for a couple of years. Last year he was out of the program and I asked his neighbor what happened. He was only available for friends, family, and paying customers to sign in. Getting FWP money to fund their private playground. Eventually someone complained, authorities caught on, and booted him from the program.
 

Beignet

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Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
636
Location
Montaña
More "landowner cobtrol" can be a double edged sword. I know of one large BM landowner who required personal sign in. Problem was he never answered the phone or responded to voice-mail to arrange for sign in. This went on for a couple of years. Last year he was out of the program and I asked his neighbor what happened. He was only available for friends, family, and paying customers to sign in. Getting FWP money to fund their private playground. Eventually someone complained, authorities caught on, and booted him from the program.
There’s a few I’ve suspected are like that that I’ve tried to get access to in the past. Then there’s another that I hunted last year that had a website to request access in advance and was an all around good experience. And still others I’ve had luck securing access where FWP administers access after you call in on a certain date and put your name in the hat.

I wouldn’t mind seeing this website’s platform being used by FWP to request access to Type II BMA’s then having a lottery to assigns access.
 

ShootsManyBullets

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Dec 27, 2013
Messages
1,934
Location
OR Trail
100% agree. The guy paying to hunt private might bump some critters onto adjacent public land. The guy paying to hunt private land is not competing with you for the same glassing point each day prior to sunrise. The landowner not leasing to an outfitter may offer access at a price point well below what an outfitter wants. I do not need an outfitter unless a unit needs horses to improve odds for a decent hunt. I have my gear. I can feed myself. I can field judge. I can get the critter quartered. Eastern WY private lands are heavily either no hunting or leased to an outfitter for pronghorn season. I am not sure what an outfitter does on a pronghorn hunt but manage the steering wheel of the truck as drive through pastures.
He makes me open and close the gates and puts spicy mustard on my sandwich. If I'm lucky there's decent cocktails.
 

FoodIsMemories

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Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
901
Location
SW MT
Alls I’m gonna say is, supply and demand. The more there are, the cheaper they’ll be.

Con: more people killing (paid) animals= tag issuance resentment... 🙄

Pro: more private land animals now pressured onto adjacent public..

 

JTRAIN40

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2022
Messages
13
Location
Western Ohio
I get into discussion with fellow hunters all the time over these issues of pay to play and western access, some of the more ignorant ones still think Montana is "free and vast", I'm like Montana is the new Colorado.
 

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