Predicting North Carolina Landowner Participation and Interest in Wildlife Related Fee Access

Wildlife-related fee access can provide supplemental income to private landowners, potentially protecting wildlife habitat by keeping land undeveloped. We surveyed 1,368 private landowners in North Carolina to determine the factors influencing whether they leased land to hunters or were interested in offering leases for other types of wildlife related recreation. Five percent of landowners allowed access for fee hunting. Twenty-eight percent of landowners provided access to their property for wildlife related activities, but <1% of these landowners earned income from it. Ten and 16% of landowners not currently leasing their property were interested in leasing land to hunters and for non-hunting access at a cost, respectively. Absentee landowners whose land was used to earn income (e.g., through farming or forestry) were more likely to offer fee hunting, while resident landowners who hunted were more apt to offer free access for other wildlife related activities. Landowners living farther from cities were more interested in leasing land for hunting and other forms of recreation than those owning properties near urban centers. Although few landowners sold access to their property, landowners were interested in future opportunities, thus providing potential to protect wildlife habitat on private land by making land revenues more competitive with development.

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