Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest and longest-running dedicated private-land public-access programs. Since 1977, the Hunting Access Program has enabled landowners to make the most of their property by allowing hunters to access private land for hunting.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources currently is accepting HAP applications from landowners in the northern Lower Peninsula with at least 40 acres and containing a minimum of 5 percent wildlife habitat.
“You can help promote wildlife population management, support the local economy, reduce wildlife conflicts, improve your land and get paid to do it,” said DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator Monique Ferris. “Wildlife habitat improvement funding may also be available for habitat projects if you are enrolled in the program.”
HAP-eligible counties in the northern Lower Peninsula include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and parts of Wexford. Beginning this year, there are additional enrollment incentives for those who live in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency or Oscoda counties. Landowners should contact the local conservation district in those counties to learn more about the earning potential for their land.
HAP enrollment will remain open through September.
Benefits to the landowner include:
An annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover and type of hunting the landowner chooses to allow.
The chance to help promote and support Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
Better management of wildlife on the landowner’s property.
Liability protection for the landowner through Public Act 451.
Control over types of hunting allowed on the property and maximum number of hunters on the property at a time, as well as the option to allow youth and apprentice hunting exclusively.
There are no extra costs for hunters to use HAP lands, but they are responsible for reviewing information for the land they plan to hunt, checking in before each day of hunting and respecting the landowners’ private property.
For more information on enrollment in the Hunting Access Program, visit michigan.gov/hap.