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Hunting Access Program helps landowners earn money

Property owners in more than a dozen counties have the opportunity to enroll their land in the DNR’s Hunting Access Program – and play a key role in helping Michigan’s deer population.

The program is enrolling private property in priority counties for deer disease in portions of the southern and northern Lower Peninsula. Landowners should have at least 40 acres of land with some wildlife habitat (forest, brush, etc.) within a chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis priority county listed below.

Enrollment is open through Sept. 1. Priority counties for HAP enrollment include Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Ionia, Iosco, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Montmorency, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle. Landowners in Alcona, Alpena, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Montmorency, Newaygo or Oscoda counties may be eligible for additional incentives.

“You can get paid to help with wildlife disease management, support the local economy and reduce wildlife conflicts on your property,” said DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator Monique Ferris, who explained that most counties have local conservation district staff available to assist with enrollment. “Call today to learn what you could earn for your land.”

Since 1977, Michigan’s Hunting Access Program – one of the nation’s largest and longest-running dedicated private-land public access programs – has given landowners another option to earn income from their land for allowing controlled hunting access.

Benefits to landowners include:

An annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover and type of hunting allowed.
Liability protection for the landowner through Public Act 451.
Flexible options for hunting types and maximum number of hunters allowed on the property.
The opportunity to promote Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
The ability to better manage wildlife on the property.
There is no extra cost for hunters to use HAP lands, but they are responsible for reviewing rules for each property they plan to hunt (available online), checking in at the property before each day of hunting and respecting the landowners’ property.

For more information on enrollment, visit Michigan.gov/HAP. Questions? Contact Monique Ferris at 517-284-4741.