A survey of landowner attitudes toward posting and fee hunting and fishing on private land in Southwest Virginia

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A mail questionnaire was used to obtain information regarding the socio-economic characteristics of private landowners pertinent to their views on access control and fee hunting and fishing.

A total of 495 questionnaires, 33.0% of the 1,500 mailed to landowners in urban, mixed urban-rural, and rural counties, were returned and found usable. The investigation found that 39.0% of the respondents posted their land, totaling 42,327 acres or 43.2% of the total acreage sampled. Serious restriction of access to private land for hunting and fishing was found, especially in the urban and mixed urban-rural counties.

Sixteen socio-economic characteristics were tested as being possible factors related to the accessibility of private land. Chi-square analysis found six factors to be significant when the data were sorted into access control groups (posting vs. nonposting) and attitude groups (agree vs. disagree). The landowners who post their property or display negative attitudes about free public access if permission is first asked: are well educated, often college level; are "new" owners (10 years or less, or nonresidents); own large properties, often greater than 150 acres; have an income yielding use of their land, often farming or leasing; are white-collar workers; and have high incomes, often greater than $15,000.

Concerning fee hunting and fishing, the traditional view of open and free hunting and fishing prevails among the majority of private landowners; 9 of 495 are currently receiving income from sportsmen.