WHEREAS, the cohort of hunters is becoming older and less physically capable and
WHEREAS, the rules governing the management of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have accommodated the aging hunters’ desires for more motorized access by creating more All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) trails, by designating persons “greater than age 60” as eligible to ride ATVs on “handicapped-only trails” and by allowing ATV access to retrieve downed big game, and
WHEREAS, this increased motorized access has put at a disadvantage those who do not own an ATV and the equipment to transport one to the trailhead, and
WHEREAS, this motorized mode of hunting is expensive, and
WHEREAS, the advantage given to motorized access and the obvious expense to compete may discourage recruitment of new hunters, particularly those who are recently emancipated, who, as a cohort, generally are less financially capable of acquiring ATVs and the vehicles required to transport them, and
WHEREAS, the future of hunting as a sport and the establishment and maintenance of WMAs as semi-wild places requires the recruitment and support of new and younger hunters, and
WHEREAS, to recruit younger hunters it may be advantageous to provide opportunities on WMAs commensurate with their physical and financial capabilities, and
WHEREAS, establishing “Walk-in Areas” on WMAs where the development of outdoor skills and the application of them by navigating and hiking “deep” into the woods will result in a sense of accomplishment and solitude that originally attracted most of the now aging cohort to the sport of hunting will provide such opportunities.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) urges the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission (LWFC) to consider and determine the feasibility of establishing “Walk-in Areas” on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs); such areas to comprise 10 – 20% of each area where no off road motorized access is allowed and where nearby ATV trails (including handicapped-only) offer no advantage to the ATV rider over the hunter arriving by highway vehicle, that is, so that there is no motorized advantage to an ATV rider
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that no funds be spent to maintain or develop trails in these areas.
Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in Convention Assembled, March 1, 2009 in West Monroe, Louisiana