The Ohio Landowner/Hunter Access Partnership (OLHAP) Program is a new way for Ohio hunters to get access to private properties. This program is funded in part by the federal Farm Bill under their Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP). This bill provides funding to state and tribal agencies through a competitive grant process to implement programs encouraging hunting access on private properties. As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, Ohio was awarded $1,831,500 to implement the new OLHAP program. The OLHAP program uses part of those funds to pay landowners for hunters to access their property. Participating landowners receive annual payment rates ranging from $2.00 to $30.00 per acre depending on the characteristics of the property enrolled. Enrollment contracts are for 2-3 years, with the possibility of extension.
If you are a landowner interested in finding out more about the program or wishing to enroll your property, please complete the form below with your contact information. An OLHAP program representative will be in contact with you to provide more resources.
Daily OLHAP Permits
Anyone wishing to access an OLHAP property must first obtain a free daily OLHAP Permit.
A check-in system is being developed for hunters to view properties enrolled and for hunters to obtain OLHAP permits. This system will be available from September 1, 2021 — June 1, 2022.
- Permits are valid only from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the date listed on the permit.
- Available dates for OLHAP permits are between September 1 and June 1. Available dates can be accessed using a “check-in” system starting on September 1.
- OLHAP permits cannot be obtained earlier than 12:01 a.m. the day the hunter wishes to use a particular property.
- Only individuals with a valid OLHAP Permit issued in their name are granted access to the property. Anyone accompanying an OLHAP Permit holder must also have an OLHAP Permit issued in their name, even if they are not hunting.
OLHAP Rules for Hunters
OLHAP permit holders must agree to adhere to all the following OLHAP rules.
Anyone accessing agreement properties under the authority of an OLHAP Permit shall:
- Carry their OLHAP Permit and exhibit it upon request.
- Have all applicable licenses and stamps for the hunting activity they are engaged in and exhibit them upon request.
- Abide by any additional signage posted by the landowner.
- Be responsible for any property damage they cause including, but not limited to fences, buildings, and other structures.
- Not litter or leave any trash on the property.
- Only park motor vehicles in designated parking areas noted on the OLHAP access area maps.
- Stay within the OLHAP access boundaries unless they have obtained written permission from the appropriate landowner.
- Only those individuals with a valid OLHAP Permit issued in their name are granted access to the property. Anyone accompanying an OLHAP Permit holder must also have an OLHAP Permit issued in their name, even if they are not hunting.
OLHAP Permit does not authorize:
- Hunting deer with a firearm during any of Ohio’s deer-gun seasons (archery deer hunting during Ohio’s deer-gun seasons is permitted).
- Trapping or setting traps.
- Cutting vegetation, trees, or firewood.
- The construction, placement, or use of permanent-type tree stands or placing any spikes, nails, wires, or other metal objects into trees.
- Target shooting.
- Camping, or setting up camp.
- Building, using, setting, or lighting a fire.
- Operating vehicles outside of the designated parking area.
- Placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering salt, mineral supplements, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed on OLHAP properties.
- The placement or use of trail cameras.
For any activities or access not authorized by the OHLAP Permit, individuals must receive separate written permission from the landowner.
OLHAP User Agreement
OLHAP Permit holders must also agree to the following when completing the check-in process for a property:
I hereby agree to follow and abide by all the OHLAP program rules, terms and conditions. I acknowledge that my failure to follow these rules may result in the immediate revocation of my OLHAP Permit, loss of future OHLAP agreement property access, and law enforcement action.
In exchange for accepting and using an OLHAP Permit to access agreement properties for recreational purposes, I do hereby for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, agents, and assigns, fully and forever release and discharge the above-named property owner and spouse, if applicable, their heirs and assigns, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, its employees and agents, from any and all claims, demands, causes of action, damages, cost, loss of services, expenses and any and all claims whatsoever, both in law and equity, which could arise on account of my pursuit of recreational activities on the property and which might result in personal injury, death or property damage.
Frequently Asked Questions For Hunters
- Is this program funded with my hunting license dollars?
- No. This program is funded through a grant as part of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill and no taxpayer or license dollars are used to pay landowners for providing access.
- Do I have to have any special permits other than the appropriate hunting licenses to use enrolled properties?
- Hunters need to have all required permits, stamps, and hunting licenses for hunting the species they are pursuing, along with the daily permit that they can obtain from the OLHAP interactive user map at www.wildohio.gov
- How do I obtain a permit to use enrolled properties?
- There will be a public interactive web map available, showing all enrolled OLHAP properties located at www.wildohio.gov. Interested hunters can visit the map, view available properties, and click on their property of choice to register. Daily permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis each day.
- Are there any special rules when hunting on OLHAP properties?
- All enrolled properties have a uniform set of rules, which can be found by visiting www.wildohio.gov. Hunters will need to agree to these program rules to obtain a daily permit. Certain landowners may have additional guidance on how to park and access certain parcels enrolled into the program, which will be listed on the OLHAP interactive map for each enrolled parcel. For example, there may be safety zones or access lanes indicated on the OLHAP interactive map that users will need to adhere to. OLHAP users are only allowed to hunt within the OLHAP boundaries indicated on the interactive map.
- Will there be other hunters on the properties?
- There could be other hunters or users on the property at any given time. This will depend on the size of the property, as the program allows one hunter per day for every 50 acres of wildlife habitat enrolled. If wildlife habitat on the enrolled property exceeds 50 acres, there will be more than one daily permit available through the OLHAP program. Additionally, there may be other hunters or users present on enrolled properties if the landowner has given permission for use of the property to individuals outside of the OLHAP program. Additionally, landowners may be present and active on their enrolled property at any time.
- If I see a property might be good for trapping, deer gun hunting, shed hunting or any other activity that is not permitted through the OLHAP program, is there a way to do those activities on enrolled properties?
- Any activity not permitted in the OLHAP rules listed on www.wildohio.gov would require separate written permission from the landowner. Landowners may give permission for additional activities at their discretion.
- Am I able to hunt on enrolled properties outside of the Sept 1-June 1 dates or the 5am-10pm times?
- Using an OLHAP property between the hours of 10pm and 5am or from June 1-August 31 would require separate written permission from the landowner. Landowners may give permission for additional activities at their discretion.
- If the property is under 50 acres, can I bring a non-hunting person with me?
- No. Anyone hunting on an OLHAP property must have either an OLHAP daily permit or written permission from the landowner.
- Is this program open to Ohio residents only?
- No, non-residents may also obtain a daily permit and use OLHAP properties.
- Am I able to use tree stands, bait, or use trail cameras when using an OLHAP property?
- OLHAP users cannot construct, place, or use permanent-type tree stands, or place spikes, nails, wires, or other metal objects to hold tree stands or as steps to tree stands except with the landowner's permission. OLHAP users cannot place, expose, deposit, distribute, or scatter salt, mineral supplement, grain, fruit, vegetables, or other feed on OLHAP properties. Additionally, OLHAP users may not place or use trail cameras on OLHAP properties.
Frequently Asked Questions For Landowners
- Why should I enroll my property into the OLHAP program?
- Ohio has a rich hunting heritage and hunting is an important wildlife management tool both to maintain healthy wildlife populations and to minimize damage in Ohio. Not only will you receive monetary compensation for enrolling your property, but you will also be eligible for unique habitat management funds not available to any other landowners. By enrolling in this program, you can provide much-needed access for hunters without the bother of hunters knocking on your door seeking permission.
- How much does the program pay for public hunting access and when would I get paid?
- This program pays $30 per acre, annually for permanent wildlife habitat (e.g. forest, wetlands, grasslands, etc.) and $2 per acre, annually for agricultural cover (e.g. hay fields, row crops, orchards, nurseries, etc.). Landowners get paid a lump sum at the beginning of the program when their contract is approved.
- If I enroll my property, how long will I have to stay in the program?
- Properties enrolled will remain enrolled until June 1, 2023.
- Can I allow additional permission on my property enrolled in the program?
- Yes. Landowners are free to give written permission for hunting, and other activities on enrolled lands at their discretion. Landowners are not allowed to lease or accept payment for any additional permission they give for land enrolled in the OLHAP program.
- Does this program affect the recreational immunity law found in Ohio Revised Code?
- This program is not intended to alter or waive the liability protections attributed to, and immunity of, enrolled landowners afforded through sections 1533.18 and 1533.181 of the Ohio Revised Code.
- Can I implement additional rules for users of my property under the program?
- Landowners cannot set any special rules for hunting-related activities. Landowners can set areas open or closed to access according to their preferences during the enrollment process (e.g., no-hunting zones, etc.). Landowners can also designate access points where users park and access their property. As for hunting and user activities, the program has a uniform set of rules implemented statewide to make it easy and simple for hunters using enrolled properties.
- Can I enroll parts of my land, while leaving out other areas of my property?
- Yes. Access areas can be configured in a variety of ways according to your preferences.
- What requirements must be met before I can enroll?
- Landowners must maintain ownership of the property they intend to enroll, make it available for access according to the program rules and timeframes, and work with the Ohio Division of Wildlife to allow access, enforce regulations, and post signage on the property. Landowners will need to allow access for agency staff from time to time throughout the access period. Additionally, wildlife habitat acreage must not decrease during the agreement duration, except as a temporary modification to restore habitat as specified in a Wildlife or Forest Management Plan, or Farm Bill contract set forth by a cooperating agency.
- How would this program affect any Farm Bill programs that my land is currently enrolled in?
- The OLHAP program is designed to work together with Farm Bill programs when implemented on enrolled properties. Lands enrolled in Farm Bill programs, such as WRP, WRE, CREP, and CRP, will receive extra points in the enrollment scoring process, as they are preferred for enrollment.
- Am I restricted from doing farming or any other activities on areas enrolled in the program?
- No. This program is designed to minimize any impact to landowners on their day-to-day activities, while facilitating public hunting opportunity.
- Do I have to get a daily permit for me to be able to hunt the part of the property I enroll?
- No. Landowners and their children who are exempted from obtaining a hunting license are also exempted from obtaining a daily permit on their property.
- Are properties enrolled first‐come, first‐served basis?
- No. There is an application period, and properties are ranked based on specific criteria. Funding will be allocated according to the ranking from the application period.
- Can I pick and choose which wildlife species are hunted on the enrolled properties?
- No. The OLHAP rules state that all legal species may be hunted on the property. However, trapping and deer gun hunting are not part of OLHAP program. The landowner retains the right to give separate written permission allowing those activities, or other activities not allowed under the OLHAP rules, and may provide hunters with that written permission at their discretion.
- What happens if someone isn’t following the rules of the OLHAP program?
- OLHAP users that do not follow the rules may have their OLHAP daily permit revoked, be denied future access to the program, and may face law enforcement action.