Hunting the EUP’s Hunting Access Program Lands

The Hunting Access Program (HAP) in the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) has gained
recognition and popularity over the years as evidenced by the increase in hunters since the
program started in the EUP. The Hunting Access Program provides nearly 5,600 acres of private
land open to small game and sharp-tail grouse hunting in both Chippewa and Mackinac County.
HAP has seen nearly a 27% per year growth in both hunters and number of site accesses in the
last 9 years of the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District hosting the local program.

The Hunting Access Program originally began in southern Michigan in 1977 to increase public
hunting opportunities where around 97% of the land base is privately owned. The program has
expanded greatly in the past 45 years to include Northeast Lower Michigan as well as the Eastern
Upper Peninsula. Michigan HAP is known as one of the oldest dedicated private land public
access programs in the nation. HAP has attracted hunters from all around the United States as
well as a number of other countries. These visitors contribute to local economies by staying and
hunting for multiple days and share a real passion for Michigan’s hunting traditions.

In the Eastern Upper Peninsula, HAP lands are open to both small game species and sharp-tail
grouse. The EUP is the only location in Michigan with a sharp-tail grouse hunting season and
hosts the largest population east of the Mississippi River due to its large area of open grassland
habitat. This gives hunters the opportunity to explore sharp-tail grouse hunting without traveling
to popular locations such as South Dakota and Montana.

The sharp-tail grouse is a medium-sized prairie grouse that are colored brown, gold, white, and
black with white undertail coverts. They are usually found on grasslands and prairies; or bog
edges and shrubby openings in boreal forest. The Sharp-tail grouse can be found on the ground
or up in trees forging for seeds, grains, insects, tree buds, flowers and berries.

Some HAP lands in the EUP open to small game hunting on September 15 th and close on
November 10 th . Additionally, all HAP lands are open to sharp-tail grouse hunting with additional
land opening to only sharp-tail hunting from October 10 th – October 31 st . The Michigan DNR has
an interactive website called MIHunt that can be used to learn where these hunting lands are
located and how to access them. Hunters should always use the Michigan DNR Hunting
guidebook rules and regulations and hunters should always respect the rights of the participating
landowner and its neighbors.

The Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District maintains and facilitates the HAP program
alongside the DNR in the EUP. To learn more about the Hunting Access Program go to or you can contact Mike
McCarthy at the Chippewa Luce Mackinac Conservation District for general information by
emailing or calling 906-635-1278

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