"I think Mike is right," said Dan Grigson, Lincoln County's ag agent. "Eighty-five to 90 percent of Lincoln farms are covered up with livestock. I don't think hunters would shoot a cow on purpose, but I would think it would take a pretty large tax break, or maybe they would only open the woodland areas on their farms."
Grigson said if the credit is bigger than what some owners get from renting their farms out to hunters, that may be different.
"Landowners who don't take care of their own farms and rent them out may take advantage of it," he said. "Renting out the hunting rights to land is getting to be a very common thing, so it depends on the money - how the credit compares to the rent they can get on their own."
Protection of owner's land
Fletcher said the plan is a high-impact, low-cost way to achieve "a dramatic increase in land conservation and wildlife recreation access."
Those who apply for the credit also must agree to protect their land from development.
But a local veteran hunter said protection of owners' land may be just the reason they won't go for it.
"I just don't think it'll fly," Bud Barnard said.
Barnard has been restricted from hunting in areas he previously frequented because of irresponsible people who have accidentally killed livestock, left gates open or basically trashed a farm owner's land.
"If they have to open it to everyone, there's just too many people out there who don't treat others' property with respect," Barnard said.
"But I think, depending on the tax credit, some would adopt it. But most don't want to lose control of their properties."
State Rep. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and Sen. Gary Tapp, R-Shelbyville, said they intend to push proposed legislation when the General Assembly returns to business next week.
Under the plan, a landowner must apply through the state and be approved for the incentive after a property review is conducted.
If the proposal becomes a law, landowners could begin applying in 2008.
"The nice thing about this is it takes away the advantage that wealthy sportsmen have and it opens this up to everyone, regardless of their demographic disposition," Fletcher said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.