American Hunter - December 2020 - 26

Photo: Author

Photos: Author

Photos: Russell Graves / RussellGraves.com

High West Outfitters' Jasper Klein and Jim Breck Bean tend a
trophy aoudad, one of several big-game species that compete
for resources on West Texas cattle ranches.

Not far from Valley View Farm's busy market, Virginia bowhunters Mike Ross and Kimberly Dodson recap their morning
for farm owner Phillip Strother.

biggest hot spot, which "... was driven primarily by hunting recreation" according to the accompanying text.
While the aforementioned are all examples of lease arrangements, there are alternatives that make it viable for more of us
to hunt private farmland. Centered in the mid-Atlantic region,
Outdoor Access (OA-outdooraccess.com) is a tech-based service that connects landowners and outdoorsfolk seeking places
to hunt, fish, camp and more. OA properties range from just a
few acres to several hundred, and include working farms. Some
places are offered on seasonal leases, but even more can be had
for short-term entry, as short as a single day. Pricing varies, but
exclusive use of good spots can be had for $50 or less, on par with
what you'd pay for other kinds of recreational outings.
■	 In Northern Virginia not far from the D.C. suburbs, the Strother
family's 500-acre Valley View Farm has embraced agritourism
in a big way. Patrons come nearly year-round to pick their own
fruit; to play in a hay-bale fort or a corn maze; to sample wines,
cider and mead featuring homegrown ingredients; and for the
past three years, to hunt the property's hilly terrain. Hiking there
in early October, I witnessed this varied but cohesive approach
to land use ranging from family recreation to a busy grape harvest to bowhunters breaking for lunch. "The hunting's just about
all booked up for this fall," said Phillip Strother, "and it is critically important to controlling depredation in the orchard and
the vineyard. We're definitely going to continue working with
Outdoor Access. I'm a hunter myself, I get it.
"We're stewards of the land. Our goal is to practice sustainable agriculture that makes little impact on our valley's scenic
beauty. It's something we've been doing, just like my father and
earlier generations going back to the original 1730s land grant."
Also worth noting are online "farm-stay" portals. Primarily
their listings are aimed at families seeking a down-home getaway

where they stay in cabins or other on-site lodging and take part
in various activities-riding horses, hayrides, pick-your-own produce, even helping out with the farm work. Not a lot of listings
include hunting, but some do. This sort of thing might appeal to
budget-minded hunters who'd like to sample DIY deer, turkey or
other pursuits away from home base, but within driving distance.
Possibilities can be found at farmstayus.com and redtri.com/
family-farm-vacations, among others.

december 2020  ❘ 

H2020_12_FirstLight.indd 26

The Conservation Coalition

After the 2016 election, Farm Journal Media reported that nearly
70 percent of farmers voted for President Donald Trump, and
in fact, farm votes frequently mirror gun-owner/hunter votes
in congressional, gubernatorial, state legislature and other elections. It's no stretch to say an informal coalition between ag and
gun-owner interests already exists. Both voting blocs must be on
guard for preservationist policies that would block effective land
and natural-resource management, often cooperative efforts by
property owners and resource agencies. Such proposals threaten
wildlife conservation and particularly the funding that is generated
through taxes and user fees paid by shooters and hunters.
Beyond the immediate need for unity in electoral politics,
hunters and farmers both face an equally pressing cultural shift.
Government, education and media progressively marginalize our
values and way of life in favor of urban culture. We need to fight
against that, too. If not, it'll grow increasingly difficult to maintain
public respect for conservation and hunting and to raise our children to inherit our values. One way to nurture our coalition is by
being business partners. Conservation succeeds best where and
when there's vested human self-interest. I'd like to believe that if
we can help our landowner partners succeed financially, they will
help ensure hunting and wildlife remain part of American life.  ah

26  ❘  americanhunter.org

10/15/20 3:49 PM


http://www.RussellGraves.com http://www.outdooraccess.com http://www.farmstayus.com http://www.redtri.com/family-farm-vacations http://www.redtri.com/family-farm-vacations http://www.americanhunter.org

American Hunter - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - December 2020

Contents
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover1
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover2
American Hunter - December 2020 - 1
American Hunter - December 2020 - Contents
American Hunter - December 2020 - 3
American Hunter - December 2020 - 4
American Hunter - December 2020 - 5
American Hunter - December 2020 - 6
American Hunter - December 2020 - 7
American Hunter - December 2020 - 8
American Hunter - December 2020 - 9
American Hunter - December 2020 - 10
American Hunter - December 2020 - 11
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American Hunter - December 2020 - 26
American Hunter - December 2020 - 27
American Hunter - December 2020 - 28
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American Hunter - December 2020 - State_1
American Hunter - December 2020 - State_2
American Hunter - December 2020 - 79
American Hunter - December 2020 - 80
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover3
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover4
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