Deer Private Land Assistance Network grant application period opens

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that the application period has opened for the Deer Private Land Assistance Network (Deer PLAN) grant program. It is designed to support private-land deer habitat improvement projects in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The Deer PLAN program is funded by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program funds. In 2018, a total of $50,000 will be made available. The focus area will include private lands in the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle. Funds will be allocated across these six counties based on a competitive grant application scoring process.

“Having a focus area helps us concentrate habitat projects, and doing so will provide benefits to deer hunters in areas where we have identified habitat issues,” said DNR Deer Program biologist Ashley Autenrieth.

New this year is a stronger emphasis within the grant application on the Hunting Access Program, which recently was expanded to the northern Lower Peninsula. Changes have been made to encourage landowners to participate in the program, such as providing additional points toward their final application score if their property is enrolled in HAP. Additional HAP information is included in the grant application package.

“HAP is the perfect program for landowners looking to earn income from their property and extra funding for deer habitat projects,” said Monique Ferris, DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator. “It is a great way to support Michigan’s hunting heritage by allowing public hunting on their land. Plus, if you live in one of the four core bovine tuberculosis counties, payment incentives have just increased.”

Proposals meeting the basic grant requirements and seeking between $2,000 and $10,000 in cooperative funding will be considered. A 25-percent match of funds – in the form of any one of more of the following: financial match, cost share, volunteer labor, material contributions or other in-kind support – also is required for each proposal.

Project applications are due by Sept. 1, and successful applicants will be notified by Oct. 1. Proposed projects will be evaluated and competitively scored by a selection committee based on specific criteria. The complete grant application package is available online at, via the Deer PLAN link at the bottom of the page.