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LandTrust offering sportsman memberships to hunters

Happy hunter

Submitted photo LandTrust Sportsman member Lloyd Rigdon with a spring gobbler harvested on LandTrust Sportsman Access Program property.

LandTrust for Central NC

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina recently debuted its Sportsman Access Program, which program fosters the relationship between sportsmen and conservation on a local level while providing a direct local benefit for them and their communities.

The premise for SAP is that those who join the LandTrust as a Sportsman Member have an opportunity to access more than 3,000 acres that has been permanently conserved and managed predominantly for wildlife and natural resources.

The program, similar to many state agencies’ permit draw system, provides access LandTrust-owned properties. Once enrolled, members may select hunting blocks, about 200 acres each, for hunting-related recreation.

There are various levels of membership. Entry-level offers four lottery entries to access the property on the member’s chosen dates. Members receive six full days of access to their chosen location each time they are drawn.

This translates to nearly 200 acres that members can invest time in, without fear of overcrowding or interrupted hunts. Currently, SAP locations include LandTrust-owned property in Davie, Rowan and Montgomery counties.

Other benefits of becoming a sportsman member include opportunities to participate in conservation activities and events at no cost. Conservation activities range from hands-on wildlife planting instructional days, property boundary location and marking exercises, managing access to conserved property, and instruction on wildlife management strategies.

To further North Carolina’s hunting heritage, members are encouraged to mentor youth on their permit hunts and in LandTrust-sponsored activities.

Consistently, sportsmen and sportswomen support conservation in a big way, providing nearly $1.6 billion annually to conservation. Through SAP, the LandTrust allows members to support conservation at a local level and see the benefits of those efforts first hand.

Sportsman membership funding is used solely for conservation within the 10-county region in central North Carolina to benefit wildlife and natural resources. Additionally, the LandTrust uses funds associated with the sportsman program to buy property, then transfer those acres to other organizations such as the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (game lands program) and the U.S. Forest Service, Uwharrie National Forest.  These transfers guarantee access to sportsmen in perpetuity.

The SAP program is already seeing results. After a successful 2017 spring turkey season, sportsman members reported seeing birds nearly every time they stepped afield.  Member Lloyd Rigdon harvested a mature gobbler on the SAP’s Davie County property.

“I was able to click the safety off each time I hunted,” Lloyd said. “Turkey hunting was as awesome as anywhere I’ve been blessed to chase them.”

More important, members are using their draws to get youth into the outdoors. Sportsman members Mike and Zac Morton introduced new hunters to the field this spring.

“One of the nicest benefits of being drawn for a hunting opportunity on LandTrust property is that you are allowed to take a kid hunting along with you. This spring, my son Zac and I were privileged to take several kids out on LandTrust property, turkey hunting.” Mortn said.

“These young hunters were fortunate to have access to these large tracts of property through the Sportsman’s Access Program. We are grateful to the LandTrust for Central North Carolina for sharing their resources with the next generation of sportsmen. It is opportunities like these that translate into continuing our hunting heritage, but they also pave the way for the next generation of conservationists.”

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina works with private landowners and public agencies to conserve important natural, scenic, agricultural and historic places in a 10-county region of the central Piedmont.

For more information on the LandTrust and the Sportsman Access Program, visit www.landtrustcnc.org or find it on Facebook. The office phone number is 704-647-0302.

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