Landowner enrollment has now begun for the Walk-In Access (WIA) program. The 2021 sign-up goes from March 15 to May 14. Since 2011 its purpose has been to pay private landowners for allowing the public to hunt on their land. The land must be a minimum of 40 acres with high-quality natural vegetation cover. Similar vegetation cover can be found on land already enrolled in conservation programs such as Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM). The use of the land is only allowed for hunting from Sept. 1 through May 31.
Walk-In Access has expanded through Minnesota and now includes 50 counties and covers 30,000 acres for hunters. If you are interested in using WIA land, you must pay the $3 permit when purchasing your hunting license.
Benefits for enrolling include:
- 2021 sign-up has an increased payment rate of $18/acre.
- Contracts are only 1 to 3 years long.
- MN DNR Conservation Officers enforce hunting laws.
- Can be an additional pay to existing conservation programs such as CRP or RIM.
- DNR will set up and provide signs around property enrolled in the program.
- Access to additional habitat for hunters to enjoy. Also giving an opportunity for new hunters to go to.
Pope County has been able to be a part of this program for many years and we hope to continue this partnership. Our office provides Minnesota DNR Walk-In Access mapping books if anyone is looking for a location to hunt. If you have any questions about the WIA program please contact Pope SWCD and ask for Nicole Brede at 320-634-5327.