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Iowa hunters this fall will have access to hunt on more than 25,000 acres of private land on 132 sites around the state as part of a program that helps landowners improve habitat on portions of their land in exchange for allowing hunter access.
The Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP) provide expertise and funding to landowners who are interested in improving wildlife habitat on their property. Landowner participation varies from three to 10 years depending upon the contracts.
“Hunters told us they felt access to private land was an important step to improving their hunting experience and to attracting new hunters to the outdoors. We were fortunate to have this opportunity to provide them with access to these areas through the IHAP,” said Kelly Smith, private lands program coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources who manages the IHAP.
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.”
Site maps are available at www.iowadnr.gov/ihap showing boundaries, which species would be most likely attracted to the habitat and the location of a checkout box where hunters are asked to leave their comments on the program. The checkout cards are used to evaluate the program to see if hunters are getting what they expected from the program.
Walk-in public hunting through IHAP is available between September 1 and May 31. The IHAP is supported with money from Federal Farm Bill and Habitat Stamp.