Attention Landowners! Payments for You, Land for Hunters
A financial opportunity that helps preserve Michigan's hunting heritage
The Hunting Access Program (HAP) offers landowners annual payment in exchange for providing hunters access to their property.
- Increase and diversify your property income. HAP pays landowners up to $25 per acre.
- Help control deer damage or nuisance wildlife.
- Introduce young people to farming and hunting.
- Help preserve Michigan's hunting tradition - give hunters a place to hunt near home.
- Help support Michigan's rural economy.
Liability is covered by state law, and the program is flexible - you may choose to allow all hunting, youth and apprentice hunting only, small game only, deer only, elk only, turkey only, or a combination of these.
What is HAP?
HAP, the Hunting Access Program, is a financial opportunity for landowners that also provides public hunting opportunities in most counties throughout Michigan. The DNR leases private lands from landowners who give licensed hunters access to their property, generally on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters using HAP lands are guests of the landowner and are asked to register each time they visit the property.
What's in it for you?
HAP offers a chance to increase and diversify your property income, while helping to control deer damage or nuisance wildlife. It's a way to allow controlled access on your land, and it's flexible - you may choose to allow all hunting, youth and apprentice hunting only, small game only, deer only, elk only, turkey only, or a combination of these.
How does HAP help sustain Michigan's hunting heritage?
Very little of the land in the lower third of the state, where about 90 percent of Michigan residents live, is open to public hunting. Research has shown that difficulty in finding a place to hunt may be the primary factor causing people to give up hunting, so providing places to hunt near urban centers is critically important to both recruiting new and maintaining existing hunters. With the help of a federal grant, the DNR aims to greatly increase the number of HAP lands open to hunting.
To encourage recruitment of new hunters, some HAP lands may be open only to youth and apprentice hunting. The program is a great opportunity to introduce young people to both hunting and farming.
Are landowners covered for liability?
Yes. The Michigan Legislature has addressed the concern some landowners had over sharing access to their lands because of legal liability for hunting. Landowners are free from liability as stated in P.A. 451 of 1994: "No cause of action shall arise for injuries to persons hunting on lands leased under HAP unless the injuries were caused by gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct of owner, tenant, or lessee."
What are the hunters' responsibilities?
Hunters are asked to register at the registration box on the property or take a daily permit if they are actively hunting; observe all instructions of the landowner; know the property boundaries and not trespass on adjacent property; not block field access routes or drive in fields without the host's permission; leave no trash; place tree stands or build blinds only with the landowner's permission; observe all hunting and trapping rules and regulations; stay out of standing crops and observe safety zones around buildings.
How do HAP leases work?
HAP provides an annual lease payment for acres enrolled in the program. Lease amounts are based upon a combination of habitat quality, type(s) of hunting allowed and total acres enrolled. HAP can pay up to $25 per acre for high-quality habitat enrolled into a Farm Bill program such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or for land devoted to a wildlife food plot. Maximum rates are paid for high-quality habitat and allowing either all hunting or youth and apprentice hunting. DNR staff can evaluate your land to determine the lease rate. Leases are negotiated for a two to three year period with payments made at the end of each hunting season.
Who can enroll in HAP?
Landowners in the Lower Peninsula and a section of the Eastern Upper Peninsula, owning 40 or more acres, are eligible to apply. Please see map below for eligible counties. HAP contracts can include forest, wetland, grassland and cropland. A minimum of 20 percent of the contracted acres must be in wildlife habitat (grassland, forest or wetland).
Interested in enrolling in HAP? Email email@example.com, or call 517-284-4741.