Iowa’s walk in public hunting access program has 7,000 acres of private property on 41 sites available to hunters, an increase from 1,366 acres during its inaugural year in 2011.
The Iowa Hunting and Access Program (IHAP) is a partnership with Iowa landowners who agree to allow hunters access to the portion of their property enrolled in the program in exchange for habitat improvement on that land.
The newly enrolled land is spread across the state, but more locations are in the south central and southwest. Habitat will be in various stages of maturity so hunters should either visit the site or call the local wildlife biologist for current conditions, said Kelly Smith, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau who manages the program.
Site maps are available on the DNR’s website showing boundaries, which species would be most likely attracted to the habitat and the location of a comment box where hunters can leave their thoughts on the program.
Walk-in public hunting through IHAP is available between September 1 and May 31.
“We need hunter input on this program so each site has a drop box and survey cards to collect hunter comments. They can either drop the cards in the box or mail them from home,” Smith said.
Areas are posted with signs, are regularly patrolled by Iowa DNR conservation officers and will be treated like public hunting ground, with the noted exception that it is private property.
“Hunters should respect private property, stay on the land enrolled in the program and pick up after themselves,” Smith said. “This program is only available because landowners were willing to participate in it.”
She said the DNR has a list of tips and guidelines hunters should follow and maps of the properties online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/PlacestoHuntShoot/HabitatAccessProgram.aspx
Logo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources