Illinois Recreational Access Program
In 2011, Illinois began a program to make more land available for outdoor recreation. According to their website, 97 percent of Illinois land is privately owned. This restricts opportunity for outdoorsmen/women, as many have little to no property available nearby to pursue their chosen outdoor activities.
IRAP was created to combat this by leasing land from private landowners. The property is then opened up for specific activities at certain times with access granted by a lottery drawing. Participating landowners receive a wildlife management/forestry plan and are eligible for assistance in meeting the plan's goals.
As the program grows, so does the opportunities for those needing a place to enjoy the outdoors. The program has been successfully building with over 27,000 acres leased for this purpose. Many of these parcels are drawn by youth hunters, who have been given a chance to experience success. Many other parcels are drawn by experienced hunters simply looking for another place to pursue their passions.
I was lucky enough to draw an IRAP property for archery deer hunting, October 1-15, 2022. The property was gorgeous, with many animals present. Ultimately, it led to my first deer kill of 2022 (video below). I'm extremely grateful for the program, as well as the participating landowners who made this opportunity possible.
If you are interested in participating in IRAP as a landowner or sportsman, go to their website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/IRAP/Pages/default.aspx
2022 IRAP hunt video :