Effects of Fee Hunting on a Private Land Wildlife Management Program

An intensive multi-mode fee hunting program was installed in 1972 on 400,000 acres of land in Alabama owned by Gulf States Paper Corporation. A profit motive has resulted in the installation of an intensive wildlife management program designed to produce marketable hunting rights. Individual management plans have been written for 28 tracts of land involving over 60,000 acres. Cutting blocks have been reduced from an average of over I,000 acres to approximately 320 acres. Prescribed burning has been increased from once every 30 years to approximately once every 3 years except following planting. Hardwoods are preserved on small tracts, and are thinned by group selection with clearcuts at 60-100 years on larger areas. Scheduled cuts are regularly spaced throughout the entire rotation. Non-forestry habitat improvement practices are applied whenever justified. Animal population and habitat data are used to monitor effects of management. Public reaction to fee hunting has been generally favorable. Fee hunting has several advantages. It improves wildlife management. It provides an economic basis for evaluating wildlife management practices. It provides concrete data on hunting values which can be applied to environmental impact statements.

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