Landowners paid to allow public huntingThrough the Walk-In Access (WIA) program, local landowners can earn money by allowing public hunting on their private land, according to Josh Meissner, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife biologist.
Through the Walk-In Access (WIA) program, local landowners can earn money by allowing public hunting on their private land, according to Josh Meissner, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife biologist.
“WIA is an effective way for landowners to generate extra revenue from their habitat acres, as well as providing additional public land to local sportsmen,” Meissner said. “This is the first year Douglas County will participate in the WIA program.”
WIA pays landowners by the acre to allow hunting access. The program targets privately owned parcels of 40 acres or more that are already enrolled in a conservation program such as Reinvest In Minnesota or Conservation Reserve Program. River bottoms, wetlands and other high-quality habitat will also be considered for WIA this year.
Bonuses are added if more than 140 contiguous acres are enrolled, if the land is within one-half mile of existing state or federal hunting land, or if a multi-year agreement is signed.
WIA is entering its second year as a pilot program.
According to Marybeth Block, WIA coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 140 sites were enrolled in 2012, totaling 15,000 acres across 21 counties in southwest Minnesota. In 2013, Block hopes to have a total of 25,000 acres enrolled.
Enrollment in WIA is voluntary, and recreational use laws provide extra liability protection for WIA acres. Landowners can opt out of the program in five days by notifying the state and returning the boundary signs.
WIA land is for public hunting only. No target practice, trapping, dog training, camping, horseback riding or fires are allowed.
Once private land is enrolled in the program, bright yellow-green hexagon signs are placed at the property boundaries.
For more information, contact Josh Meissner at (320) 763-3191, extension 3.
For WIA information, visit www.mndnr.gov/walkin. Locations of parcels enrolled for 2013 will be on the website in August.