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Landowners receive payment to enroll in Michigan Hunting Access Program

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Hunting Access Program is enrolling private property in portions of the southern and northeastern Lower Peninsula, as well as the eastern Upper Peninsula.

To enroll, landowners should have at least 40 acres of land with some wildlife habitat (forest, brush, grassland and/or wetland).

Priority for enrollment will be given to lands near urban and suburban areas with limited public access. Enrollment also will focus on:

Areas where the distance to public lands is over 30 miles.
Land with sharp-tailed grouse hunting opportunities in the eastern U.P.
Counties where bovine tuberculosis has been identified in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

There are 46 counties in the Lower Peninsula eligible for enrollment. A map of counties with enrollment opportunities can be found at Michigan.gov/HAP.

The Hunting Access Program is one of the nation’s longest-running dedicated private-land, public-access programs. Since 1977, HAP has provided private 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 if enrolled in HAP.
Flexible options that allow selection of the hunting types allowed on the property and a maximum number of hunters on the property at a time, as well as the option to allow only youth and apprentice hunting.
The chance to promote and support Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
Better management of wildlife on the property.

Most counties have local conservation district staff available to assist with enrollment and help landowners learn what they could earn for their land. Enrollment will remain open through Sept. 1.

There are no extra costs 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.

Questions about enrollment? Contact Mike Parker at 517-898-3293 or DNR-HAP@Michigan.gov.