The popular Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP) is accepting applications from landowners interested in receiving technical assistance and financial incentives in exchange for allowing hunters to access the improved area.
Interested landowners should contact their local private lands staff with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who will come to the property to walk the site with the landowner and help write a habitat plan. A map of private lands staff is available online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-Staff-Offices then scroll down to the Private Lands Staff pdf.
Land enrolled in IHAP allows public hunting access but remains under private ownership. Hunters may access the improved area from Sept. 1 to May 31. The Iowa DNR’s conservation officers provide assistance and enforcement if needed. Trapping is not allowed on IHAP areas.
“The program benefits landowners, wildlife and provides additional hunting opportunities, which are all priorities of the DNR and important to our landowners and our hunters,” said Brian Hickman, coordinator for the Iowa DNR’s private lands program.
IHAP began a decade ago as a way to provide hunter access to private land while creating quality habitat. Feedback provided by landowners in the program found more than 95 percent are satisfied with the program and 92 percent would recommend it to others.
“Landowners have seen a great benefit to having a biologist at their disposal providing them technical assistance as they establish habitat as well navigating Federal and State conservation program rules and requirements,” Hickman said.
Hunters are also happy with 99 percent stating they would hunt IHAP again and demonstrate that support by traveling to specifically hunt these areas. And each time they travel to hunt, they spend an average of $71 on the trip, often in nearby communities.
The program is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.