The sign-up window is now open for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Walk-In Access Program. It's an opportunity for those with at least 40 acres of land that they're not using to get paid by the DNR in exchange for making that piece of land open for hunting.

Your 40 acres needs to be covered by high quality natural vegetation. You will be paid by the acre to allow hunting access from September 1 till May 31. Bonuses are paid on parcels that enroll in a three-year contract, are more than 140 acres and are located near a state wildlife management area or federal waterfowl production area.

New this year is the fact that landowners who enroll in a three-year contract may also qualify for up to $20,000 in habitat enhancements on their land for prescribed burning, removing invasive trees or planting native species.

The program began in 2011 and has now grown to more than 26,700 acres in 2017. Steele County first became a part of the program sign-up last year. The sign-up date runs through April 27.

Hunters will pay $3 for the right to hunt on these lands. The Minnesota DNR has additional information.