Increased access with Open Gate: Landowners earn revenue with hunting or fishing lease

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is actively seeking the cooperation of private landowners willing to allow access to public hunters, anglers and trappers.

This cooperation comes with a financial incentive and other benefits through the department’s Open Gate program.

Monastery Lake, an Open Gate property in the Pecos River Canyon, is regularly stocked with trout and provides good handicap access.  New Mexico Wildlife magazine, NMDGF.

Monastery Lake, an Open Gate property in the Pecos River Canyon, is regularly stocked with trout and provides good handicap access.

“Open Gate is a voluntary leasing program that provides private landowners with incentives to allow public access for hunting, fishing, and trapping,” said Ryan Darr, Open Gate coordinator.

Darr said landowners may participate in two ways: allowing public access directly to a private parcel for hunting, fishing or trapping; or providing right-of-way access to public lands where exceptional fishing, trapping or hunting opportunities exist and access is limited.

Participating private landowners receive multiple benefits, including monetary compensation, flexible lease agreements, liability protection, signs installed to manage access, and conservation officer patrols during open seasons.

“This is a win-win situation for all involved,” Darr said. “Game and Fish helps improve overall access for hunting, fishing and trapping, and the participating landowners receive compensation.”

Payments are based on property location, acreage, type of wildlife habitat, and the hunting, fishing and/or trapping opportunities that will be permitted. The lease must support public hunting or fishing and provide access for the duration of the agreed season.

“It’s important to understand that none of the money for the program comes from the state’s general fund,” Darr said. “Open Gate leases are provided solely from hunters, anglers and trappers when they purchase Habitat Management & Access Validation stamps.”

The department is accepting applications for the Open Gate program. Qualifying land-owners are encouraged to apply early and all applications are subject to evaluation prior to leasing.

Those with questions, or wanting to apply should contact Ryan Darr, Open Gate coordinator (right), at (888) 248-6866 or visit the department website at www.wildlife.state. nm.us.

Those with questions, or wanting to apply should contact Ryan Darr, Open Gate coordinator (right), at (888) 248-6866 or visit the department website at www.wildlife.state. nm.us.  New Mexico Wildlife magazine, NMDGF.

About NMDGF

NMDGF

It is the mission of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to conserve, regulate, propagate and protect the wildlife and fish within the State of New Mexico, using a flexible management system that ensures sustainable use for public food supply, recreation and safety—and to provide for off-highway motor vehicle recreation that recognizes cultural, historic and resource values while ensuring public safety.