Landowners needed for Hunting Access Program | Michigan Farm News

Landowners needed for Hunting Access Program

Category: People, Livestock

by Monique Ferris, MDNR; MI Farm News

Doe in Field_MFN_2018
The DNR wants you to help fight deer diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by opening your private property to hunters in 2018.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) Hunting Access Program (HAP) is accepting applications for the HAP program in the northern Lower Peninsula and five counties in the southern Lower Peninsula. Landowners should have at least 40 acres of land with some wildlife habitat such as forest or brush to apply.

Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest and longest-running dedicated private land public access programs. Since 1977, HAP has ensured landowners make the most of their property by allowing hunters to access private land for hunting.

HAP eligible counties in the northern Lower Peninsula include: Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Cheboygan, Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim, Leelanau and Presque Isle. If you live in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency or Oscoda TB region, there are additional incentives for enrollment.

The five eligible HAP counties in the southern Lower Peninsula include: Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Newaygo and Mecosta.

Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) encourages county Farm Bureau members to consider participation in HAP, which is in line with the organization’s policy that supports programs and methods that help control problem species.

“Hunting is the primary tool for managing a healthy wildlife population,” said MFB Legislative Counsel Andrew Vermeesch. “The Hunter Access Program provides landowners with multiple incentives in return for allowing public hunting access on private land resulting in a win-win for both the landowners and hunters while targeting management goals in a specific area. In other words, this program a great example of a partnership between the State of Michigan, landowners and hunters to address wildlife challenges whether its limiting disease transmission or addressing issues caused by overpopulation.”

Call 517-284-4741 today to learn what you could earn on your land. Enrollment remains open through September 30.

Some benefits to the landowner include:

  • An annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover, and type of hunting you choose to allow.
  • Promoting and supporting Michigan’s rich hunting heritage
  • Better management of wildlife on your property
  • Liability for the landowner through Public Act 451 if enrolled in HAP.
  • Flexible options of hunting types allowed on your property, a maximum number of hunters on the property at a time, as well as the option to allow youth and apprentice hunting exclusively

“You can help improve wildlife population management, support the local economy, reduce wildlife conflicts, and get paid to do it,” said the program’s coordinator, Monique Ferris.

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 (available online), checking in at the property before each day of hunting, and respecting the landowners’ private property.

For more information on enrollment and who to contact, visit Michigan.gov/hap.