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Access Program Providing Land Enhancements (APPLE)

Hunter shoots bird in grassland
Quail

Access Program Providing Land Enhancements (APPLE) offers financial incentives to landowners who allow controlled public access hunting on their private lands. Wildlife biologists will also work with landowners to establish and improve habitat.

Public hunting opportunities are limited. APPLE's focus is on providing access for gamebird hunting of species such as pheasant, quail, woodcock and turkey. Since Indiana is 96 percent privately owned, it makes sense to increase public access hunting opportunities on private lands.

In cooperation with the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds program (GGS), the five regions targeted for participation in APPLE are:

  • Focal Region 1 (west central Indiana): Sullivan and Daviess counties, Greene County west of U.S. 231, Clay County south of U.S. 40
  • Focal Region 2 (southwest Indiana): Gibson, Pike, Warrick, and Spencer counties.
  • Focal Region 3 (southeast Indiana): Ripley and Scott counties, Jackson and Jennings counties south of US 50.
  • Focal Region 4 (northwest Indiana): Benton and White counties, Jasper and Newton counties south of State Road 10, Warren County north of State Road 28
  • Focal Region 5 (northeast Indiana): All of LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and Dekalb counties.

Program details for:

  • Landowners

    Habitat

    • Eligible landowners who enroll into the program will work with a wildlife biologist to develop a management plan.
    • The plan will be used to maintain eligibility in the program.
    • The developed management plan will address landowner and program objectives for the desired species on each tract.
    • Landowners will receive an incentive payment for each activity and season they allow public access for APPLE activities (see payment schedule below).
    • Landowners will be eligible for cost share monies to improve or maintain targeted habitats on their property as specified in the management plan.

    Liability

    • Each successfully drawn APPLE access hunter is required to sign a liability waiver before participating in an APPLE hunt.
    • Liability for all activities on APPLE tracts of land is covered under the state of Indiana Agrotourism Law (IC 34-31-9).

    Additional information

    • Either the landowner or DNR may withdraw from the program at any time during the year with a 60-day written notice.
    • APPLE contracts can be for one to three years.
    • Any tract enrolled in an APPLE contract that has a management plan developed must complete required habitat management and participate in at least one hunting season for the species which the tract was developed before withdrawal can occur.
    • All hunting access is reserved solely for successfully drawn participants during the APPLE access dates for any tract.
    • Participating landowners can still hunt their tract for species other than those targeted by their specific APPLE agreement.
    • Landowners will forego hunting access for target species until after the last reserved hunt date has passed.
    • APPLE payments to landowners will be made in December following the approved activities for the calendar year.
    • APPLE signs will be placed at designated parking areas and any undefined boundaries will be clearly marked by the landowner.

    Incentive annual payments

    Standard Gamebird Lease: $8 an acre

    Intensive Gamebird Lease: $25 an acre

    • Intensive Gamebird Leases will be intensively managed under the direction of DNR-DFW personnel to benefit target gamebird species.

    Turkey Lease: Up to $16 an acre

    • Landowner is eligible for up to $16/acre for turkey hunts. The turkey season is broken up into 4 hunt “windows” and the landowner can chose how many windows they want to allow hunting. Biologists will work with landowners to determine how many hunt windows are appropriate based on local turkey populations and size of tract

    Turkey Lease Details

    $5/acre for youth season: 4-day youth hunt (youth weekend plus Thursday & Friday for scouting and blind setup)

    $5/acre for opening window: 7-day opening window (Monday-Sunday, first 2 days for scouting)

    $3/acre for each of the last two windows: 7-day season window (1st Monday-Sunday), 7 day season window (2nd Monday-Sunday)

    Additional Details:

    • Minimum payment for an APPLE hunt is $250. If the total $/acre calculation is less than $250 and the biologist determines it to be a worthy opportunity, the landowner can be given the $250 minimum payment.
    • Landowner can enroll as many acres as they wish, including agricultural fields. Large lakes, ponds, lawns, or other obvious “non-huntable” areas will be subtracted from total acres.
  • Hunters
    • All APPLE hunters must have been drawn through the online reserved hunt system.
    • All Apple hunters must have an APPLE permit/ID number.
    • A limited number of individuals will be allowed to access the property on any given day. All hunters will be restricted to foot traffic only and non-motorized watercraft.
    • All hunters must follow all laws and obtain all necessary permits and licenses as outlined in the Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide.
    • For hunting access, an APPLE hunter must apply for a specific date range and region in which they would like to hunt. Maximum 1 hunting choice per applicant per year.
    • Hunter applicants may be placed into an APPLE lottery to determine which hunt site that they will be able to access.
    • Successful hunters will be notified approx. 3-4 weeks prior to the start of their requested APPLE hunt date.
    • Space is limited. Not all applicants will be successful in applying/reserving a site for APPLE activities.
    • All hunters will need to complete and return their permit.
    • Successfully drawn hunters may bring up to two hunting partners with them on their gamebird hunt and one non-hunter on their turkey hunt.

    Reserved APPLE Hunt Logistics

    • Enrolled tracts must be a minimum of 20 contiguous acres.  
    • Biologist will work with landowner to determine appropriate number of hunt opportunities on each tract. Factors such as local bird populations, boundaries, and parking should be accounted for when determining number of hunters permitted on each tract.
    • Each area enrolled in the APPLE program will be easily identifiable and posted by DNR personnel.
    • Each tract must provide access to a parking spot or designated parking location.
    • Unavoidable or time sensitive activities such as farming practices can be conducted by the landowner, or tenant, when necessary.   
    • unters are permitted access to the APPLE tract during their hunt window only. They may not access the tract at any time before or after their hunt window.  
    • Hunts will be listed in the reserved draw system by county.

    Gamebird (Quail/pheasant/woodcock)

    • Area would be hunted during quail, pheasant and woodcock hunting seasons in Indiana. Specific dates will be determined annually.
    • Each gamebird hunting date will have a specific hunting party from 1 to 3 persons.
    • Gamebird hunting hours will be from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET on gamebird hunt dates.

    Turkey

    • APPLE turkey hunts are currently limited to GGS focal areas (Link to Focal Area Map)
    • All turkey hunting will conclude at 1 p.m. This allows time for the landowner to use their property for other recreation.    
    • Drawn hunters may bring 1 additional partner, however there can only be 1 weapon in the field, and only the drawn hunter can harvest a turkey. Partners can call, take photos, observe, help with equipment, etc. Partners who call for the hunter must have a turkey license and gamebird stamp to participate.   
    • Hunters will apply to specific county and window – similar to FWA hunt procedures
    • Landowner has the option to hunt the property themselves, however there can only be one turkey harvested on the property by the landowner or others not drawn to hunt until all APPLE hunts are concluded, and they cannot hunt during any hunt widow that they are receiving payment for.    
    • Hunters are permitted for turkey hunting only. Hunters may not pick mushrooms, berries, pick up antler sheds, etc.      

Read more about APPLE in these fact sheets:

Join the program by contacting: