Eight new sites have been added to Iowa’s walk in public hunting access program, increasing the land available for hunting by nearly 600 acres. There are a total of 7,590 acres of private property on 48 sites available to hunters.
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 all of the new sites are located in north central; an area of the state with the least amount of public hunting access sites in the past. Hunting opportunities should be even greater this year as the habitat on the sites have had another year of development.
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. Detailed information for each site can also be found on the hunting atlas http://programs.iowadnr.gov/maps/huntingatlas/.
Walk-in public hunting through IHAP is available between September 1 and May 31.
“We need hunter input on this program again this year 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,” said Kelly Smith, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau who manages the program.
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