Landowners can generate revenue by allowing public hunting on their private land in 46 Minnesota counties through the Department of Natural Resources’ Walk-In Access program. Sign-ups are open Monday, Jan. 23, to Friday, April 28.
“This has been a great program for both landowners and hunters,” said Scott Roemhildt, DNR Walk-In Access coordinator. “It provides extra income to landowners and allows hunters to access quality private land open to public hunting.”
Eligible parcels must be at least 40 acres and covered by high quality natural vegetation. Landowners are paid by the acre to allow hunting access from Sept. 1 to May 31. Bonuses are paid on parcels that enroll in a three-year contract, are more than 140 acres and are located near a state wildlife management area or federal waterfowl production area.
Walk-In Access parcels are for public hunting only; no motorized vehicles are allowed on conservation land. Bright yellow-green signs identify area boundaries and parking is along roads or in designated parking areas. Recreational use laws provide extra liability protection for acres enrolled in the Walk-In Access program.
Landowners should contact their local soil and water conservation district office for enrollment information. Additional details can also be found at the Walk-In Access page.
Walk-In Access began in 2011 and has grown to more than 23,000 acres in 2016. The program is currently funded through 2018 with a three-year grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-509. Other funding sources come through a surcharge on non-resident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012, and donations from hunters.