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Get paid to allow hunting on your land

The DNR’s Hunting Access Program provides hunters with quality hunting land close to home and landowners with incentives for allowing hunters access to their property.

The DNR’s Hunting Access Program provides hunters with quality hunting land close to home and landowners with incentives for allowing hunters access to their property.

Landowners looking to make the most of their land can support local hunting traditions and economy, improve their land, and get paid to do it through the Department of Natural Resources’ Hunting Access Program. The DNR encourages landowners to consider enrolling their lands in the program, which provides private-land hunting opportunities in southern Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula. Landowners with at least 40 acres are eligible to enroll.

Michigan’s Hunting Access Program (HAP) was created in 1977 to increase public hunting opportunities in southern Michigan, where 97 percent of the land base is privately owned. Landowners enrolled in the program receive an annual payment, up to $25 an acre, for allowing hunters to access their lands. HAP, one of the oldest dedicated private-lands public-access programs in the nation, provides access to quality hunting lands close to urban properties.

Using funds from the new hunting license package and a new United States Department of Agriculture grant, the DNR—in collaboration with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local conservation districts—plans to continue expanding the program over the next three years.

According to DNR wildlife biologist Mike Parker, “Providing access to hunting lands that are close to home is critical for supporting Michigan’s strong hunting heritage. Our commitment to providing access has more than tripled the number of farms enrolled in HAP the past three years. We now have over 140 farms and nearly 16,000 acres available for public hunting.

“HAP is also good for the economy,” Parker said. “Hunters taking trips to HAP lands contribute $1.7 million annually to Michigan’s economy. The majority of the HAP hunter trips are only 25 miles from the hunter’s home, making HAP lands extremely accessible and close to home.”

Landowners have the ability to choose which types of hunting are allowed on their lands. Hunting options include:

  • All hunting
  • Youth and apprentice hunting only
  • Small game hunting only
  • Deer hunting only
  • Sharptail grouse hunting only

Landowners may choose more than one option, such as deer and turkey hunting only. Maximum payments will be given for all hunting or youth and apprentice hunting options.

In order to manage the number of hunters using HAP lands at any one time, hunters are required to register to hunt each time they visit the property. The landowner can select either a mandatory registration at their home or a hunter self-registration box, which the DNR will provide and install. The maximum number of hunters allowed on the property is determined by the total acreage, as well as the habitat type. Leases are for a two-year period, with annual payments made each spring.

To ensure landowner and hunter satisfaction, HAP offers landowner liability protection. Public Act 451 of 1994 addresses the concerns some landowners have over sharing access to their land. In addition, HAP lands are patrolled by conservation officers, with an increased focus on patrolling during the busy fall hunting season.

Visit www.michigan.gov/hap to learn more about the program and to see a current list of private lands available for hunting in Michigan. The HAP Web page includes details about enrolled properties, including types of hunting allowed and aerial photos of the properties.

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Introductory camping experience 


At Newaygo State Park June 27-28


Newaygo State Park—Newaygo State Park’s Recreation 101: Intro to Camping program allows first-time campers to enjoy the park’s scenic views, diverse recreation opportunities and the entire camping experience with free equipment.

Newaygo State Park, in West Michigan (Newaygo County), will host a group campout experience for new campers Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28. Participants in the Recreation 101: Introduction to Camping program can borrow camping equipment at no cost from the Department of Natural Resources’ Recreation 101 trailer.

DNR staff will guide participants through making a reservation, checking in, setting up a tent and starting a campfire. Instruction on popular recreation activities such as archery and geocaching also are included.

Tents, chairs, cook stoves and flashlights will be provided, but participants must bring supplies such as bedding and food.

“Camping can be a little intimidating if you’re new to it,” said Elissa Buck, a DNR recreation programmer. “This program helps people try it out in a fun, social setting with all the gear, guides and good times included.”

Participants must register in advance to participate in the campout and to reserve camping equipment from the Rec 101 trailer. Regular camping rates apply ($13 per night and an $8 reservation fee) and a Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to Newaygo State Park.

For more information or to register for the program, please contact Elissa Buck at 989-313-0000 or bucke1@michigan.gov.

Newaygo State Park contains a 99-site rustic campground overlooking the Hardy Dam Pond, a 6-mile flooding of the Muskegon River. The park caters primarily to campers, anglers and recreational boaters. There are several picnic sites overlooking the reservoir for day users. The campground is nestled in oak and poplar forests and is noted for its large, private sites and scenic beauty. There is a 20- to 30-foot forested buffer between campsites, and each site is provided with a picnic table and a fire ring. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/newaygo.

The Recreation 101 trailer can be reserved for large group campouts at Michigan state parks by contacting Elissa Buck at bucke1@michigan.gov.

Recreation 101 is a series of free, introductory programs at Michigan state parks, taught by DNR staff and expert volunteers. Learn more and find a Rec 101 program near you at www.michigan.gov/rec101.

Inside Michigan’s Great Outdoors subscribers are always the first to know about reservation opportunities, state park events and other outdoor happenings. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnr to subscribe now.

A Recreation Passport grants vehicle access to any Michigan state park, boat launch, state forest campground or nonmotorized state trailhead parking. Residents can purchase the Passport for just $11 ($5 for motorcycles) at the time of Michigan license plate renewal through Secretary of State. Forgot to check “YES” during renewal? Residents and nonresidents can purchase a Recreation Passport window sticker during regular business hours at state parks. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport supports state parks and local outdoor recreation opportunities at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

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Tips for residents encountering snakes


The only venomous snake species found in Michigan, the rare eastern massasauga rattlesnake is shy and avoids humans whenever possible.

The only venomous snake species found in Michigan, the rare eastern massasauga rattlesnake is shy and avoids humans whenever possible.

From the Michigan DNR

This time of year, as snakes are out and about in the great outdoors, the Department of Natural Resources gets many questions about Michigan’s snakes. Michigan is home to 18 different species of snakes, 17 of which are harmless to humans.

There are two that are very similar and often cause a stir when people encounter them. Eastern hognose snakes, when threatened, puff up with air, flatten their necks and bodies, and hiss loudly. (This has led to local names like “puff adder” or “hissing viper.”) If this act is unsuccessful in deterring predators, the snakes will writhe about, excrete a foul-smelling musk and then turn over with mouth agape and lie still, as though dead. Despite this intimidating behavior, hog-nosed snakes are harmless to humans.

The Eastern massasauga rattlesnake the only venomous snake species found in Michigan, is quite rare and protected as a species of special concern due to declining populations from habitat loss. As the name implies, the massasauga rattlesnake does have a segmented rattle on its tail. It should not be confused with other harmless species of snakes in Michigan that do not have segmented rattles but also will buzz their tails if approached or handled.

Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes are shy creatures that avoid humans whenever possible. Also known as “swamp rattlers,” they spend the vast majority of their time in year-round wetlands hunting their primary prey, mice. When encountered, if the snake doesn’t feel threatened, it will let people pass without revealing its location. If humans do get too close, a rattlesnake will generally warn of its presence by rattling its tail while people are still several feet away. If given room, the snake will slither away into nearby brush. Rattlesnake bites, while extremely rare in Michigan (fewer than one per year), can and do occur. Anyone who is bitten should seek medical attention immediately. To learn more about the massasauga and for more snake safety tips, visit http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/emr/index.cfm.

Those who encounter a snake of any kind should leave it alone and should not try to handle or harass the snake—this is primarily how snake bites happen. A snake can only strike roughly one-third of its body length, so it is physically impossible for people to get bitten if they do not get within 24 inches of the snake’s head. Michigan snakes do not attack, chase or lunge at people or seek out human contact. Simply put, if left alone, Michigan snakes will leave people alone.

To learn more about Michigan’s snakes, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife, click on the “Wildlife Species” button and select “Amphibians and Reptiles.”

Also, be sure to check out the DNR’s 60-Second Snakes video series for identification tips and information about Michigan’s snake species.

The DNR asks Michigan residents to consider reporting any reptile or amphibian sightings to the Michigan Herp Atlas research project to help monitor amphibian and reptile populations in Michigan and protect these valuable resources for future generations. Visit www.miherpatlas.org for more information.

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Butterfly Counts


Please join some or all of the West Michigan Butterfly Association counts.

Counts are sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) and cost $3 for each participant. The money is sent to NABA to create a publication available to any one interested. Scientists make good use of citizen science data. Between 17 and 22 different counts are held in Michigan annually. As Michigan’s count editor, I review and write the annual Michigan summary report the proceeds the count reports.

To locate different species and count numbers we carpool to various sites during the day.

The purpose is to have a good time outdoors as well as to learn to identify species, learn habitat associations, behavior, and nature niche needs. Some families come for part of the day while others stay the full day. Also consider joining our West Michigan butterflies Association – membership $5/year.

Bring a bag lunch, plenty to drink, snacks, and dress with lightweight long sleeves and pants to protect from any biting insects or raspberry thorns. We explore off trails when searching for butterflies.

Dates and meeting locations:

July 5, 2015 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.

Allegan Butterfly Count – Allegan Co.

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller)

Meet at the Fennville Allegan State Game Area headquarters, 6013 118th Ave, Fennville. odybrook@chartermi.net

July 7, 2015 (Tues) 9:00 a.m.

Newaygo County Butterfly Count – Newaygo Co.

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller)

Meeting at Plum’s Grocery parking lot at the corner of M82 & M 37 in Newaygo. odybrook@chartermi.net

July 11, 2015 (Sat) 9:00 a.m.

Grand River Park Butterfly Count – Ottawa County Parks

Leader: Dennis Dunlap

Meet at Grand River Park, 9473 28th Ave., Jenison (north of Filmore St.)


July 12, 2015 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.

Rogue River Butterfly Count – Kent Co.

Leader: Ranger Steve (Mueller)

(Kent, Newaygo, Montcalm Counties)

Meet at Howard Christensen Nature Center Welcome Center 16160 Red Pine Dr., Kent City odybrook@chartermi.net

July 19, 2015 (Sun) 9:00 a.m.

Greater Muskegon Butterfly Ct – Muskegon Co.

Leader: Dennis Dunlap

Meet on Mill Iron Road from M-46 (Apple Ave.) east of Muskegon at second set of power lines that cross the road north of MacArthur Road. dunlapmd@charter.net

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433. 616-696-1753.


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Avian influenza found in free-ranging geese


Three goslings in Macomb County test positive 

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) today announced the state’s first confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 in the state. The disease was found in free-ranging Canada geese in Macomb County. Avian influenza is a virus that can infect both free-ranging and domestic poultry such as chickens, turkeys, quail and geese.

Three goslings collected last week in Sterling Heights were delivered to the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory for necropsy. Initial testing was performed at Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in Lansing. These tests were positive and the samples were forwarded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, for final confirmation. MDARD and the DNR received confirmation Saturday, June 6, that the goslings were infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N2.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI viruses to be low. To date, no human HPAI infections have been detected in the United States. Avian influenza is not a food safety concern and no birds or bird products infected with HPAI will enter the food chain.

Michigan is the 21st state to report a case of HPAI since December 2014. In the other 20 states, the virus has been found in captive wild birds or free-ranging birds, backyard flocks, and commercial flocks. Michigan also becomes the 6th state to detect in wild or free-ranging birds only. To date, there are 226 detections of HPAI across the country (affecting approximately 50 million birds), with Iowa and Minnesota experiencing the most cases.
“While this is disappointing news that the H5N2 virus has been found in Michigan’s free-ranging bird population, it was not unexpected given avian influenza has been found in a number of our neighboring states and Ontario,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams.

Clover Adams stressed that avian influenza has not been identified in Michigan’s domestic poultry flocks. “MDARD will continue to work hand-in-hand with our backyard and commercial poultry farmers to conduct surveillance testing and provide education along with Michigan State University’s Extension on implementing and stepping up on-farm biosecurity practices to protect the health of Michigan’s domestic poultry,” she said.
Keith Creagh, DNR director, said the state’s chief focus now is preventing the disease’s spread in wildlife and its transmission to domestic poultry. “This confirmed positive finding of highly pathogenic avian influenza prompts several steps that are informed by Michigan’s Surveillance and Response Plan for HPAI in free-ranging wildlife,” said Creagh. “The DNR and MDARD are working with other experts and taking advantage of every available resource to ensure a swift, appropriate response that limits the spread of HPAI.”

The state’s wildlife HPAI plan was developed by DNR’s Wildlife Division in 2006. The DNR already practices regular examination of carcasses from mortality events affecting birds and samples live-caught and hunter-harvested wild birds.

Guided by the wildlife HPAI plan, the DNR will:

*Create an avian influenza (AI) Core Area, a 10-mile radius around the confirmed positive cases.

*Create an AI Management Zone, including any counties that touch the AI Core Area. In this case, the AI Management Zone will include Macomb and Oakland counties.

*Change goose relocation activities. The DNR routinely relocates nuisance geese in southeast Michigan to other parts of the state. The AI Management Zone will be under quarantine and roundup/relocation within these counties will be prohibited, except for the purpose of additional testing.

*Continue goose roundup and relocation efforts in the rest of the state.

*Change goose relocation drop-off sites so none are within a 10-mile radius of a commercial poultry facility in Michigan.

*Heighten AI surveillance in the two-county AI Management Zone.

*Increase biosecurity measures for contractors who relocate geese and anybody handling geese, as well as for waterfowl banders.

*Continue statewide AI surveillance, which includes responding to suspicious dead animals, conduct sample testing of geese being relocated, banding ducks and geese, and testing hunter-harvested waterfowl.

With this type of highly pathogenic avian influenza, there may be an absence of many of the routine signs of illness in domestic poultry. Sudden death and high death losses are major indicators of HPAI. However, sick birds may experience neurological signs; difficulty walking; lack of appetite, energy or vocalization; significant drop in egg production; swollen combs, wattles, legs or head; diarrhea; or nasal discharge, sneezing or coughing.

Wild birds commonly have avian influenza and sometimes spread it to domestic birds through direct or indirect transmission. Ducks and geese are considered carriers; however, geese generally do not pass it on.

MDARD, the DNR, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Veterinary Services (USDA, VS) and Wildlife Services (USDA, WS) and Michigan State University (MSU) are working together to conduct avian influenza surveillance and to monitor health of poultry, livestock, wildlife and residents in Michigan. Residents who notice the death loss of three or more free-ranging birds should report it to DNR at 517-336-5030. If your domestic flock is experiencing severe illness or multiple death losses, contact MDARD at 800-292-3939 or for after-hours emergencies call 517-373-0440.
For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/avianinfluenza or www.michigan.gov/aviandiseases.

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No fishing license needed this weekend 

June 13-14

There’s lots of fun to be had this weekend in Michigan as no fishing licenses are needed for residents and non-residents! This Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14 make up the 2015 Summer Free Fishing Weekend, an annual effort to promote Michigan’s numerous fishing opportunities.

While many individuals and families will head out to fish for free on their own this weekend there are also numerous organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate as well. Various locations throughout Michigan will host scheduled events; including things like fishing derbies/tournaments, festivals, instructional sessions, and much more! More than 25 counties in the state have opportunities available.

If you’d like to see all of the events occurring this weekend, visit the official 2015 Summer Free Fishing Weekend event chart online, or plan a trip to your favorite fishing hole and prepare to reel in a big one!

For even more information about the 2015 Summer Free Fishing Weekend please visit michigan.gov/freefishing.

Please note: all other fishing regulations still apply this weekend. Reference the 2015 Michigan Fishing Guide for more information.

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Mosquito and Phoebe

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Outdoor memories last a lifetime. It was on a field trip to Gwen Frostic’s outdoor nature studio, in Benzonia, west of Traverse City, that provided an interesting experience with an Eastern Phoebe. I was on a busman’s holiday, from my job as a State Park ranger, at Traverse State Park in the late 1960’s.

Gwen had screened in studios, where she painted her wonderful post cards and stationary, as well as wrote penetrating prose. If you have not experienced her wor, it will be a joyous outing this summer to visit. The natural beauty of her inspirational property offers others respite long after her passing.

Our group walked the boardwalks in June observing birds flit among shrubs and trees. Some mosquitoes brightened the day for hungry birds and filled their stomachs. We wore lightweight long sleeved shirts and used insect repellent as we visitors traversed the nature niches where a variety of life made home.

Birds thrive in habitats where insects live. One cannot expect birds where food is not abundant for feeding young. Even seed eating species raise young on an insect diet.

We came upon a screen shelter that was temporarily closed to access because an Eastern Phoebe constructed a nest on top of the door. Mike Jarea noticed a mosquito biting an almost grown young phoebe on top of its head. To help the young bird, he used his finger to kill the mosquito. When he did, five young birds prematurely left the nest. They were almost able to fly but not quite.

The two of us quickly gathered the birds and placed them back in the nest. I placed my hands over the birds until they calmed. Slowly I removed my hands and the birds remained huddled in the nest. What did not stay in the nest were hundreds of bird lice that blackened my hands.

Nests are dangerous places for birds but they are essential for their rearing. The sooner they leave the better they are able begin caring for themselves. Once able to minimally fly, they often fledge. Parents continue to feed them away from the nest, as well as teach them where and how to look for food.

When fledglings venture off on their own, they continue to depend on parents. The parents are not often seen, but they are in the area much like mother deer are in the area to return to couple times a day to feed fawns. Some people think they are rescuing orphaned young when, in reality, they are taking them away from caring parents and reducing young survival chances.

Sometimes young are orphaned because adults were killed by cars, cats, or some other event. It is best to leave apparent orphans where they are found, because there is a better chance that adults will return.

I brushed the massive black lice from my hands and was happy we were able to secure the birds in the nest to fledge another day. I suspect Mike learned to allow the mosquito its minute feast. It would be less dangerous to survival than the chicks leaving the nest prematurely. It is wonderful to observe animals from a safe distance in a manner that does not disrupt the lives.

An Eastern Phoebe has nested in our carport annually for 35 years. I wonder how many generations of birds succeeded one another. Normally they live only a few years and would be fortunate to reach an age 7, give a take a years. We disturb them when we approach the carport but it doesn’t cause them to move elsewhere for a new nest site. It is necessary to only pull the car part way into the carport for a few weeks when young are present. The young raise the rears to the edge of the nest and defecate. They cover our car hood with corrosive turds. We enjoy their presence and willingness to share space with us, so we do not remove the nest. Instead we take joy in seeing them daily.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433 or call 616-696-1753.

Written for CS Post, Vol. 28 No. 23.  11 June 2015.

Submitted: ? June 2015

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Spring to summer wildflowers

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller


The transition from spring wildflowers to summer wildflowers is nearly complete. The greatest difference is whether the plants flower under leafless trees or flower under expanded leaves.

It takes a lot of energy to produce flowers and seeds. It is best for plant sex to occur in full sunlight before trees cut off sun energy to the ground with leaves. I pay more attention to phenological summer beginning than to when the sun reaches its most northern zenith. Calendars mark the summer solstice when the sun no longer appears to move north and apears to start its southward movement.

Spring flowers end flowering when trees leaves expand and shade the forest floor. Plants wither or spend the summer without the flare of flowers while they store energy in roots, tubers, and rhizomes for next spring’s flowering. When sunlight penetrates through early spring branches of bare canopy, ground plants receive high-energy necessary flower sex.

Carpets of Narrow-leaved Spring Beauty flowers brighten the forest floor. The petals appear pink but they are not. Bend and look closely. You will notice white petals with pink lines. When we stand and look down, our eyes do not discern the detail. The pink lines on white petals act as nectar guides. Insects landing on the petals follow the lines like airport runways to nectar.

It is too late this year to take notice of these flowers but it will give you something to notice next year. The spring beauties complete their life cycle and disappear from view for ten months. Their nature niche activities occur between late April and early June. By late May fertilized flowers have formed seeds. Soon the entire plant above ground withers and is hidden below ground until next spring.

To ensure reproductive success this plant produces a series of short-lived flowers. A plant might remain in flower for several days but individual flowers come and go quickly. If poor weather prevents a flower from being fertilized, others blooming before and after will hopefully have had success on better days.

Other spring flowers racing to complete flowering before the forest canopy darkens the forest floor are Hepaticas, Trout Lilies, Bloodroot, Large-flowered Trillium, a variety of blue and yellow violets, with Mayapples squeezing in at the tail end before the canopy thickens. Each plant has it own unique adaptations and story with associated insects, birds, and small mammals. Stories abound.

An early summer plant that flowers in abundance as trees turn the landscape wonderful shades of green is Wild Geranium. It cheery pink blooms abound in forest and forest edges. For me it is a sign that summer has begun. It is still weeks before the summer solstice with the longest day of year and the official start of summer. The phenologies of plants have their own markers to indicate the end of spring and the beginning of summer. Oaks and mulberries are among the last trees to leaf out. Once they expanded their leaves, I consider spring to have ended and summer has begun.

Most trees flower before they have clothed themselves with new leaves. If they are wind pollinated, it best to flower when the wind can flow freely among the branches to spread pollen. Many are insect pollinated and it is easier for insects to travel from flower to flower without leaf obstacles. By the time maple leaves expand, the samaras helicopters are carrying seeds to the ground away from the parent. Non-descript oak flowers fall as withered tan strings but a portion will remain all summer to grow and loudly pound the roof, car, and ground as acorns in fall.

There is more occurring than one can notice but many notice summer blueberries come from spring bell-like flowers, pale current flowers usually do not attract our attention but we enjoy their summer fruits, and we notice of apples as they ripen. Take time to notice the beauty of life surrounding you.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433. Phone: 616-696-1753.

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State Veterinarian stops bird movement 


to protect health of Michigan poultry

Due to the potential for highly pathogenic avian influenza, 2015 poultry exhibitions are canceled throughout the state.

After much deliberation and consideration with the Michigan Association for Fairs and Exhibitions (MAFE), Michigan 4-H leadership and the Michigan Allied Poultry Industry, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill made the difficult decision to cancel all 2015 poultry and waterfowl exhibitions in Michigan to prevent the comingling of birds from different locations. This includes, but is not limited to shows, exhibitions, swap meets, petting zoos at fairs, game bird and waterfowl fair displays, and Miracle of Life exhibits.

“We know the tremendous amount of time, money and passion the kids and other exhibitors invest into their birds and the importance of having livestock animals at these events to interact with the public,” said Averill. “The rapid spread of these avian flu viruses is historic and has impacted more than a dozen states across the U.S. While there are currently no known cases of HPAI in Michigan, commitment to protecting the health of all of the state’s poultry flocks—backyard and commercial farmers—led us to making this difficult decision.”

MDARD has been working in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, Michigan State University Extension, 4-H programs, and other partners to identify ways to engage Michigan’s youth poultry exhibitors and allow them to still have the experience.

“The impact this disease has had on the poultry industry and how quickly it is spreading is clear,” said Lisa Reiff, MAFE Executive Director. “While it’s unfortunate that poultry exhibitions are canceled for this year, it’s crucial youth still have an opportunity to participate in fair activities. MAFE is working with MDARD, MSU and 4-H to identify alternatives for poultry exhibitors and will use this opportunity to help further educate the public about our state’s poultry industry.”

County fairs and local exhibitors are encouraged to go to the MSU Extension website –  msue.msu.edu/poultryshows – to get a list of options for poultry exhibitors. Those options include suggestions for showmanship, breed classes, market classes and auctions.

MDARD, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Departments of Agriculture Veterinary Services and Wildlife Services, and MSU are working together to conduct avian influenza surveillance and to monitor health of poultry, livestock, wildlife and residents in Michigan.

Michigan residents who notice the death loss of three or more WILD birds should report it to DNR at 517-336-5030.

If your backyard poultry flock has a high death loss or consistent pattern of death loss in a short period of time, report it to MDARD at 800-292-3939; (after hours emergencies) 517-373-0440.

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How to ride an ATV


As summer kicks off in Michigan, national ATV Safety Week (June 6-14) is a good opportunity for the Department of Natural Resources to remind riders of important safety tips that can help ensure a more enjoyable off-road experience.

“ATV riding continues to grow in popularity in our state, and it’s important that riders observe safety at all times while on the trail and in the woods,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “These common-sense safety reminders can save lives and reduce accidents and injuries.”
Here are the DNR’s top 10 safety tips for ATV riding:

  • Always wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  • Take an off-road vehicle safety course or an online course. Visit the DNR website at michigan.gov/dnr and check for a course near you under the Education & Outreach menu.
  • Do a pre-ride check of your vehicle to make sure it is in proper working order. Pay close attention to the tires, making sure they aren’t low and don’t have leaks. Low tire pressure can cause handling issues for your ORV.
  • Know your trail. Study the map for where you are riding before you head out and become familiar with where the sharp curves are located.
  • Know where you’re riding. Before heading out, make sure you know whether or not the county you’re riding in allows ORV use on county roads. Do not mistake state forest roads for county roads. Contact the county sheriff’s department, road commission or county clerk’s office for information about each county’s ORV ordinances. The DNR also keeps updated ORV maps on its website at http://1.usa.gov/19tmpgi.

ORVs primarily are designed for off-road use. Driving on paved surfaces is hazardous because of handling issues. Riding on paved roads is a common cause of ORV-related fatalities.

For a complete overview of ORV rules and regulations in Michigan, go to the Michigan ORV Handbook online at http://www.offroad-ed.com/michigan/handbook/book.html. If, while out riding, you encounter someone violating land-use rules for ORVs, please contact the DNR’s Report All Poaching law enforcement line at 800-292-7800.

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