Hunters can now access nearly 30,000 acres of private land across 47 counties in western and south-central Minnesota through the Walk-In Access program, which pays landowners to allow hunter access.
Hunters with a $3 Walk-In Access validation may access these lands from a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset during open hunting seasons through May 31.
No additional landowner contact is necessary. All Walk-In Access sites are shown in the Minnesota DNR Recreation Compass at mndnr.gov/maps/compass.
Digital maps for individual Walk-In Access sites, along more information for hunters, can be found at mndnr.gov/walkin.
The Walk-In Access program began in 2011 and is currently funded with a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other funding sources come through a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012, and donations from hunters.
Radio-collared research bears
The Minnesota bear hunting season has opened, and the DNR is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears. These bears are marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars.
DNR researchers are monitoring about 20 radio-collared black bears across the state, especially in bear hunting zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are near Voyageurs National Park or around Camp Ripley.
More information for hunters is available in a previous news release and photos of collared research bears and some research findings gained from them are available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/bear.