Walk-In Access (WIA) Program
Public Hunting on Private Land
- Hunter Info
- Enroll Land
- Program Info
- Program Evaluation
- WIA Site Status Changes
Check above for WIA status updates and closures.
Walk-In Access sites are open during any legal hunting season from Sept. 1 to May 31.
You must purchase a WIA Validation to legally hunt WIA Sites.
Purchase Online or call: 1-888-665-4236 (ELS CODE 190)
Landowners cannot give others permission to hunt without a validation.
- Respect private property and verify public hunting areas by observing boundary signs.
Walk-In Access sites (WIA) are only open to hunting where WIA boundaries are posted with WIA signs. Landowners may opt out of the program, and will be reflected in the Online Atlas and the WIA County Interactive Map.
- Park along roads or in designated parking areas.
- Walk-in to hunt on enrolled acres. No vehicle traffic is allowed.
"No target practice, trapping, dog training, camping, horseback riding or fires are allowed by the public. The landowner retains the right to engage in, or give permission to engage in hiking/dog walking on a leash, trapping, camping, horseback riding, or campfires, and other limited activities that do not impede public hunting."
Read Trapping FAQ for more information about trapping.
- Follow the Code of Conduct for WIA lands.
(Alternative versions: Español, Hmong)
Find a WIA
Choose a county below to bring up detailed maps of WIAs.
Note: All WIA map and GPS products should be used as a reference only to the official boundary of public hunting lands posted in the field. Hunters should not rely on printed hunting atlases or downloaded digital map products from previous years as there are often changes to WIA boundaries including site closures and new sites added. Note that access points to some WIA sites are limited as identified by WIA trail symbols and text explanations included on maps provided on these pages.
Enrollment is limited to 35 counties.
Hunting is allowed during legal seasons between September 1st and May 31st.
Landowners are afforded liability protection through the Recreational Use Statutes. Specifically under Sections 604A.20 through 604A.27 under Public Benefit or Function Activities in the CIVIL LIABILITY LIMITATIONS Chapter
Must be at least 40 acres in size or it must be contiguous with a public hunting unit (e.g. WPA or WMA) or another WIA parcel that is 40 acres or more in size.
Priority is given to lands enrolled in a conservation program such as the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or the state Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve program (RIM), or other state and federal conservation programs.
Lands not enrolled in a conservation program may be eligible if high quality wildlife cover exists and is maintained by the landowner.
Lands within 500 feet of a home or corral occupied by livestock cannot be enrolled, unless they are occupied by the cooperator or his/her livestock.
The enrolled parcel must be accessible from a public road.
The habitat must be maintained through the enrollment period.
Landowners, or the State, may terminate the contract at any time (effective 30 days after written notice of termination is received).
2015 Enrollment begins March 1st.
To find out more information about enrolling land in the Walk-In Access program, please call your local Soil and Water Conservation District office (SWCD). SWCD contact info
The goal of the Walk-In Access (WIA) program is to provide new hunting opportunities on private land that is already enrolled in existing conservation programs or lands with high quality wildlife cover.
The WIA program is entirely voluntary for landowners. Most landowners chose to enroll their property for two or three years. Enrolled lands are covered under the Minnesota recreational use laws that limit landowners' liability. DNR conservation officers handle trespass and hunting violations.
WIA started in 2011 as a two-year pilot program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Voluntary Public Access Program.
In 2015, a $1.67 million grant was awarded to the Minnesota's Walk-In Access program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. Hunters will continue to have access to the existing 22,000 acres of WIA land, and an additional 8,000 acres will be added over the next three years.
Read news release.
The DNR continues to seek permanent funding to continue the program in 2015 and beyond.
WIA 2015 Stats:
|Total Enrollments as of 7/31/15||22, 800||
Minnesota’s Walk-In Access Program is Established in Law
The 2012 Minnesota Legislature established a Walk-In Access (WIA) Program (Minnesota Statutes 97A.126) to provide public access to wildlife habitat on private land for hunting, excluding trapping.
Walk-In Access Hunting's future depends, in part, on financial donations from individuals and organizations.
When hunters purchase a small game or deer license they will be asked if they would like to donate $1, $3 or $5 to help fund the Walk-In Access Program. Buy a license online.
Mail in a donation:
You may donate $25 or more to the WIA Program by mail. If you wish to make a donation:
- Download form and fill out: Walk-In Access Donation Form
- Make your check out to: MN Dept. of Natural Resources
- Write “Walk-In Access” in the memo line.
- Mail your completed form and check to:
Walk-In Access Program Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
Note: Do not use this form to purchase a WIA Validation, which is required to legally hunt these sites.
For more information about donating to the Walk-In Access Program please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-259-5175.
Help Evaluate the Pilot Program
If you hunted a WIA, we want to hear from you about your experience. Please take a few minutes to answer five questions about your WIA hunts, our website and map products, and offer comments on the program.
WIA Site Status Changes
This page provides current status for Walk-In Access sites that have either been added to or removed from the program after the printed version of the atlas was released OR are effected by emergency grazing/haying, prescribed management, and upgrade/cover disturbances.
Both the online version of the WIA Atlas and the online WIA tile sheets have been updated to reflect these status changes in the table below. The list below will be updated as needed throughout the season. Changes to a site's status will be posted as soon as DNR staff are informed of changes by County SWCD staff.
Status indicators include:
Open - WIA site is open to hunting but was not included on the printed atlas.
Closed - WIA site is closed to hunting because the WIA contract has been terminated OR activities to improve the wildlife cover are taking place, but is still on the printed atlas.
Grazed or Hayed - Landowners for these WIA sites has indicated they MAY utilize emergency haying or grazing activities, or the cover has changed on a portion of the site.
Prescribed Management - Landowners with lands enrolled in a conservation program, such as CRP or RIM Reserve, have carried out required management activities to improve or maintain the quality of the vegetative cover. These sites may be clipped, hayed, or burned.
Cover Upgrade/Disturbance - Landowners enrolled in a conservation program are sometimes required to upgrade the cover. These sites may be tilled or have sparse vegetative cover.
Restricted - WIA site has some restrictions.
|WIA Site Name||Atlas Page (Tile#)||Status||Status Comments|
|Bigstone WIA #232||16 (Tile #67)||Closed|
|Martin WIA #284||33 (Tile #97)||Closed|
|Pope WIA #189||15 (Tile #62)||Closed|
|Yellow Medicine #168||25 (Tile #80)||Closed|
|Clay WIA #55||6 (Tile #40)||Restricted||Site is within the Clay County State Game Refuge. Closed to waterfowl hunting during the regular waterfowl season. Check regulations for further verification.|
|Lac /qui Parle #262||20 (Tile #73)||Cover Upgrade/ Disturbance||Site was reseeded this past summer and may have limited cover in some areas.|
|Kandiyohi WIA #25||18 (Tile #69)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|
|Kandiyohi WIA #237||18 (Tile #69)||Cover Upgrade/ Disturbance||Trees and other woody vegetation are being removed from the site.|
|McLeod #79||23 (Tile #76)||Grazed or Hayed||Portion of this site undergoing prescribed management by haying. Short grass in some areas.|
|Ottertail #8||12 (Tile #55)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|
|Ottertail #9||12 (Tile #55)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|
|Ottertail #10||10 (Tile #48)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|
|Ottertail #11||12 (Tile #55)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|
|Pipestone #127||28 (Tile #86)||Prescribed Management||Site has been mowed which may limit hunting opportunities.|