As deer hunters prepare for the upcoming season, the Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that a number of check stations have been eliminated this fall due to budget reductions.
In the past, the department operated about 125 check stations, but will only operate about 50 this fall during the firearm deer season in November. Check stations will not be operated during the early antlerless season that starts Sept. 17 or during the archery season that begins Oct. 1. During those seasons, hunters may bring their deer to a DNR Operations Service Center (OSC). There are nine OSCs throughout the state, located in Baraga, Bay City, Cadillac, Gaylord, Marquette, Newberry, Plainwell, Roscommon and Southfield. OSCs are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Even with these closures, we hope to check as many deer as possible to continue gathering critical data on Michigan’s deer herd, which includes monitoring the herd’s health,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.
“Because of budget reductions we had no choice but to eliminate a number of check stations,” said Mason. “But we will continue to check deer at all of our service centers and hope hunters will make the effort to bring in their deer.”
This year the deer check stations will be staffed by DNR wildlife employees with limited assistance from volunteers and other DNR staff. This may cause some DNR offices to be short-staffed during this time. Delays are possible and the DNR is asking hunters’ understanding, and apologizes in advance for any inconvenience.
Head collections for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing will be significantly reduced this fall as well, though the DNR will continue to test any deer that are identified as “suspect.” The DNR is also obligated to test a number of deer from areas where disease concerns have been identified, which include the five counties in the northeastern Lower Peninsula within the TB area, as well as Iosco, Shiawassee, and Kent counties.
For a list of deer check stations that will be open Nov. 15-25 and Nov. 30 during the regular firearm deer season, please visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting. In the nine-township CWD surveillance zone in Kent County, where deer check is mandatory, there will be several locations open for deer check throughout the 2009 deer hunting seasons.
Hunters also are reminded that it is illegal to feed or bait deer across the entire Lower Peninsula.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, accessible use and enjoyment of the State’s natural resources for current and future generations.