"A strong partnership of landowners and sportsmen will help stem the tide of extremists organizations who preach against hunting and harvest of wildlife in the name of animal rights," said Utah Farm Bureau President Kenneth R. Ashby, urging the state's farmers and ranchers to find a way to open their lands to legitimate sportsmen in order to assure adequate harvest of wildlife.
It was noted that there are some well-funded and well-organized efforts to eliminate sport hunting in the United States. "In this regard, farmers and ranchers have far more in common with wildlife interests than we have in conflict," Ashby declared.He said it would be counterproductive to agricultural production in the future if farmers and stockmen don't consider providing an increased opportunity for sport hunting on private lands in Utah, predicting "the 1990s will be a decade of great change."
Ashby, who lives in Delta, said passage of the hunting and fishing trespass bill in the past legislative session will strengthen enforcement of trespass. It was the product of nearly two years of efforts by a coalition of landowners, sportsmen and wildlife officials, with the Farm Bureau playing a key role.
"I urge farmers and ranchers throughout the state to give serious consideration to the need to cooperate with wildlife organizations and sportsmen in granting access to private lands and access to public land through private farmland where it's reasonable to do so to help harvest wildlife, " Ashby said. "Farmers and ranchers cannot properly manage wildlife numbers, especially big game, without the assistance of the state's hunter."
He said several alternatives are being used in the state, adding some offer significant economic reward to landowners. He added that a new program for establishing posted hunting units for upland game and big game has met with growing success for those who don't have sufficient land to form and independent private hunting unit.