In seven geographically diverse states — Oregon, Montana, Washington, Pennsylvania, Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota — sizable access programs have been in place for roughly a decade and grown to include 500,000 or more acres. While the national number of hunters dropped by 7 percent between 1991 and 2001, in the same decade these seven states collectively saw the number of hunters in the field, resident and nonresident, rise by nearly 5 percent.

An analysis of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service data below reveals that when one compares, to the extent possible, apples to apples, states with sizable access programs fare better at keeping hunters in the field than states with comparable rates of population growth, population density, and ratios of public to private land.