Landowners - Earn Money By Enrolling >

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 - based on acres, type of land cover, and hunting option selected. 
  • Manage wildlife on your land and help control deer damage, nuisance wildlife and support deer disease management strategies.
  • Encourage and support the recruitment of new hunters.
  • Help preserve Michigan's hunting tradition - give hunters a place to hunt near home.
  • Help support Michigan's rural economy.

What is HAP?

Father and Daughter with Harvested Pheasant on HAP propertyThe 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. 

What's in it for you?

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.

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, providing additional places to hunt is critically important to both recruiting new and maintaining existing hunters. 

Is liability addressed?

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 guests of the landowner and are asked to: 

  • Register at the designated registration box each day that they use the property
  • 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 (No permanent blinds or tree stands permitted)
  • Observe all hunting and trapping rules and regulations
  • Stay out of standing crops
  • Observe safety zones around buildings 

How much can you earn?

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.

Who can enroll in HAP?

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.

Contact us:

Interested in enrolling in HAP? Email dnr-hap@michigan.gov, or call 517-284-4741.

Eligible Counties:

map of eligible HAP counties