Department of Natural Resources
The Hunting Access Program (HAP) offers landowners annual payment in exchange for providing hunters access to their property.
The Hunting Access Program (HAP), is a financial opportunity for landowners willing to open their land for public hunting opportunity. The DNR leases private lands from landowners who give licensed hunters access to their property, generally on a first-come, first-served basis.
HAP offers a chance to increase and diversify your property income, while helping to manage wildlife on your land such as controlling deer damage or nuisance wildlife. It's a way to allow limited 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 (options vary by region).
As a HAP landowner, you are also eligible to apply for funds for wildlife habitat improvement projects. These projects help promote quality hunting experiences while improving wildlife and habitat management on your property. Funding varies by region, contact the HAP Coordinator for more information.
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, providing additional places to hunt is critically important to both recruiting new and maintaining existing hunters.
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."
Hunters are guests of the landowner and are asked to:
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 allowing all hunting. DNR staff or a designee can evaluate your land to determine the lease rate. Leases are negotiated for a one year period with payments made at the end of each hunting season.
Landowners in the Northern and Southern Lower Peninsula and a section of the Eastern Upper Peninsula, owning 40 or more acres, are eligible to apply during open enrollment periods. Please see map below for eligible counties and contact DNR to determine if enrollment is open in your county. HAP lease agreements can include forest, wetland, grassland and cropland. Minimum wildlife habitat requirements vary by region.
Interested in enrolling in HAP? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 517-284-4741.