Comprising almost 36,000 square miles, Indiana is the 38th-largest state by area, but it’s also home to about 6 million people, with about 96 percent of the state’s land privately owned. This creates serious access issues for wingshooters seeking places to hunt.
Thankfully, the Hoosier State offers a solution: The Indiana Private Lands Access Program (IPLA) pays landowners to allow controlled public-access hunting on their property. Owners are teamed with state wildlife biologists to create a management plan—including habitat improvements—and they receive $25 per acre for Intensive Game Management Enhancement and $8 per acre for Non-intensive Game Management Enhancement.
Previously, the IPLA operated in conjunction with the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds Initiative in five regions. Now the IPLA is available to landowners in most of Indiana, providing even more hunting access. Resident or nonresident hunters with a valid state license for the game species sought must apply through the online reserved hunt system, and they may apply for one private-land hunting area per season. Lucky applicants are notified about two weeks after the online deadline. A limited number of hunters are allowed to access a particular property on any one day. Hunters must sign a liability waiver, and they may be accompanied by two partners. Hunting is by foot only, with no motorized vehicles or boats allowed, and all state game regulations apply.
In 2020 the deadline for online applications was in September, so hunters should start planning soon. For more information, visit in.gov/dnr/fishwild.