With hunting seasons under way, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment reminds hunters heading afield using an off-road vehicle (ORV) to follow ORV land-use regulations.
“We’re seeing a lot of people riding ORVs where it’s illegal to operate them, particularly in the Lower Peninsula,” said DNRE Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “ORV restrictions were put in place to help prevent damage to our natural resources and conflict with other outdoor recreationists. To ensure the future of legal ORV use in Michigan, we ask riders to know and closely follow the regulations and encourage others to do the same.”
ORV land-use regulations hunters should be aware of include the following:
*It is illegal to operate an ORV on public lands in the Lower Peninsula that are not posted open. ORVs are prohibited on state game areas or state parks and recreation areas unless posted open.
*On state forest lands, ORV use on designated trails is limited to vehicles less than 50 inches in width. Off-trail or off-route ORV operation outside of a designated area is prohibited, except for licensed hunters operating an ORV at speeds of 5 miles per hour or less for the purpose of removing deer, bear or elk. Big-game ORV retrieval provisions do not apply to the Pigeon River Country State Forest or to state game areas and national forests.
*In all national forests, motor vehicles can be used only on roads, trails or areas that are designated as open on Motor Vehicle Use maps. For more information, contact the local national forest headquarters.
*It is illegal to operate an ORV from 7 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. on any area open to public hunting during the Nov. 15-30 firearm deer season. For exceptions to these time restrictions, see the 2010 Hunting and Trapping Digest or the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws.
*Roads, streets and highways maintained for year-round automobile travel are closed to ORV operation, including the shoulder and the right-of-way, unless designated open to ORV use by local ordinance.
Private land is closed to ORV operation except by the landowner and the landowner’s invited guests.
*An ORV may not be operated in a manner that creates an erosive condition. Michigan’s soils and shorelines are fragile, and ORV operation in these areas and along stream banks and other waterways is restricted.
*It is unlawful to operate any ORV in or on the waters of any stream, river, marsh, bog, wetland or quagmire.
For more information about ORV regulations – including rules for transporting weapons and hunting provisions for those with disabilities – see the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws at www.offroad-ed.com/mi/handbook.
Violations of these and other rules should be reported by calling 1-800-292-7800.
To find ORV trail maps for state-owned lands, visit http://www.michigan.gov/orvtrails.