Landowners needed to join Hunting Access Program, help fight deer disease

Contact: Monique Ferris, 517-284-4741
Agency: Natural Resources

July 12, 2018

Hunting Access Program sign, farmer talking to father and daughter hunters with dog in backgroundThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking landowners to help fight deer diseases like chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis by opening their private property to hunters in 2018. The DNR’s Hunting Access Program currently is accepting applications 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, the Hunting Access Program 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 and Presque Isle. For those with property in the Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency or Oscoda TB region (Deer Management Unit 452), there are additional incentives for enrollment.

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

Some benefits to landowners include:

  • An annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover, and type of hunting landowners choose to allow.
  • Better management of wildlife on the property.
  • The opportunity to promote and support Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
  • Liability protection, through Public Act 451, for landowners enrolled in HAP.
  • Flexible options for hunting types allowed on the property and the 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 DNR Hunting Access Program 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.

Most counties have local conservation district staff available to assist with enrolling. Interested landowners are asked to contact their local conservation district to learn what they could earn on their land. Enrollment will remain open through Sept. 1.

For more information on enrollment, visit michigan.gov/hap.  

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for landowners to participate in its Hunting Access Program, which offers hunters access to land for hunting opportunities.