MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources announced this week that nearly 38,000 acres of private land will be open for public access to hunters this turkey season.
The access is the result of a partnership between the department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
With USDA-NRCS support, the DNR was able to partner with private landowners who lease their land for public access through the Turkey Hunter Access Program (THAP) and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).
In 2020, THAP added 5,200 acres that hunters can use only during spring turkey hunting seasons. Another 2,300 acres were added to VPA-HIP for hunters to use throughout the year for hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation.
Spring turkey hunters interested in scouting and hunting THAP and VPA-HIP private properties available for use can find additional details and interactive maps by going to dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Lands/THAP and dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Lands/VPA.
The success and future of these programs depends on ensuring landowners’ continued interest. Hunters using THAP and VPA-HIP lands should travel on foot only and respect landowners’ property.
The programs provide financial incentives such as annual leases to private landowners who open their property to public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife observation. Eligible land types include grassland, wetland, forestland and agricultural land.
Landowners enrolled in VPA-HIP who complete recommended practices may be eligible for habitat-based financial incentive payments in addition to the lease payments.