In Michigan, Hunting Access Program offers private land for hunting, boost for Pheasant Restoration Initiative

(Michigan DNR)

Looking for a new place to hunt pheasants, deer, turkey or rabbits? Michigan’s Hunting Access Program provides private-land hunting opportunities, and great habitat – ranging from grassland to woodland to wetland – for a variety of hunting types.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s Hunting Access Program, created in 1977 to increase public hunting opportunities in southern Michigan, where 97 percent of the land base is privately owned. It is one of the oldest dedicated private-lands, public-access programs in the nation, providing access to quality hunting lands close to urban properties and in agricultural areas.

According to the Michigan DNR, HAP is an important part of Michigan’s Pheasant Restoration Initiative. One of the initiative’s goals is to expand pheasant hunting opportunities on public and private lands – HAP provides that link to private-land pheasant hunting opportunities.

Landowners enrolled in HAP receive an annual payment, up to $25 an acre, for allowing hunters to access their lands. Using funds from the 2014 hunting license restructuring and a new federal grant, the DNR has continued expanding the program over the past few years – moving into the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

To control the number of hunters using HAP lands at any one time, hunters are required to register to hunt each time they visit the property. Landowners may ask hunters to check in with them personally before hunting or there may be a self-registration box on site.

Visit www.michigan.gov/hap to learn more about the program and to see a current list of private lands available for hunting in Michigan. The HAP webpage includes details about enrolled properties, including types of hunting allowed and aerial photos.

Made up of many partners, the Michigan’s Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat (grasslands), populations and hunting opportunities on private and public lands via pheasant cooperatives. The initiative works by acquiring state and federal resources to assist landowners in the cooperatives to improve wildlife habitat on their properties and by improving grassland habitat on selected state game areas, recreation areas, or other public lands. To learn more visit www.mi.gov/pheasant.

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