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Categorized | Outdoors

Birding safely during hunting seasons

Kirtland’s Warbler viewing eco tour, near Grayling. Bird Watching

Tips on how to safely and confidently view birds and other wildlife at or near a hunting area

From Michigan DNR

Michigan’s public lands offer a great chance to see birds and other wildlife while spending quality time in the great outdoors. But maybe you’re concerned it’s not safe to hike or go birding in the woods during hunting season. The good news is hunting is a very safe sport, and, with a little knowledge and preparation, you can confidently enjoy birding during any hunting season.

Here are some tips:

Keep color in mind. The more visible you are, the safer you are. Wear a brightly colored piece of clothing that can be seen from all directions. Avoid wearing colors that blend in with the environment or are the color of game species: green, brown, black or white.

Know which hunting seasons are open. There are open seasons every day of the year in Michigan. Most seasons are busiest on opening day, and many hunters stop going out after the first week. The most popular hunting season in Michigan is firearm deer hunting season, which runs Nov. 15-30 annually. Find more on Michigan’s hunting seasons online at Michigan.gov/Hunting.

Know the lands you use. Hunting is open on any public or private land where permission is granted. Most public lands and private conservation lands have resources online to help you find out when and where hunting is allowed. When in doubt, contact the property owner.

Stick to the trails. Hunters generally will venture well off human-used paths to look for game, so there is less hunting on established trail systems.

Head home before dark. Dawn and dusk are often the best time for hunters to find their quarry. Wildlife viewing during daylight hours means you’ll be seeing fewer hunters.

Michigan’s hunters take seriously the lessons learned in their hunter safety classes and work hard every year to keep themselves, their hunting partners and the people they share the land with safe so all can enjoy Michigan’s outdoors.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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