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Tag Archive | "DNR"

Volunteer program kicks off in state parks


The Department of Natural Resources announced the schedule of volunteer stewardship events as a part of the new Volunteer Steward program in southwestern Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Volunteering for these workdays is a great way to get outdoors in Michigan’s state parks, breathe some fresh air, get a bit of exercise and enjoy fall foliage and beautiful landscapes.
The Volunteer Steward program kicked off in October with native seed collection for prairie restorations. Volunteers are now needed in November and December to help remove invasive, non-native shrubs in natural areas within state parks and recreation areas. These activities will help protect and restore the unique habitats by improving conditions for native species and restoring ecosystem function. In doing so, volunteers will be benefiting many species, some of which are threatened or endangered, while also learning about invasive species and hands-on management. Volunteers in need of service credit, such as Conservation Stewards, Master Gardeners, scouts, service clubs, school groups and others are welcome to attend.
Dates, times, and locations of the workdays are as follows:
Saturday, Nov. 5: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 13: Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19: Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County), 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 3: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1-4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 4: Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10: Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec.11: Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 1 to 4 p.m.
Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants, boots, gloves, and bring drinking water. Don’t forget to bring your hiking boots to enjoy the many trails that traverse through forests, dunes, prairies, fen, and the other unique natural areas protected by our state park system.
The Volunteer Steward program is part of the Parks and Recreation Division, Stewardship Unit’s mission to “preserve, protect and restore the natural and cultural resources present within Michigan State Parks for this and future generations.” For information about the specific tasks at each workday and to obtain directions, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and link to the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.” All volunteers are asked to register using the forms available on the website. Please contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851 ext. 147 or freih@michigan.gov for registration or questions about the Volunteer Steward program in southwest Michigan.

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DNR approves online snowmobile course for youth


An online snowmobile safety course aimed at youth operators has received the endorsement of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It is the first online course for snowmobile safety endorsed by the DNR.
Successful completion of the online course would satisfy Michigan’s snowmobile safety education requirement for youth operators. Under Michigan law, snowmobile operators at least 12 years of age, but less than 17, are required to successfully complete an approved safety training program. Youth operators are also required to carry the safety training certificate with them whenever they are operating a snowmobile in Michigan.
The online course, offered by Fresh Air Educators Inc., provides another option for those interested in taking an approved safety course. Traditional in-person classroom courses are still offered throughout Michigan. There is a $29.95 fee to take the online course. More information on the online course can be found at www.snowmobilecourse.com/usa/michigan/. There is also a quick link on the DNR website under Education and Outreach when searching for available Recreational Safety classes in your area.

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Sporting swine classified as invasive species


A Department of Natural Resources director’s order listing sporting swine as an invasive species took effect over the weekend on Oct. 8, making it illegal to possess the animals in Michigan.
“Absent a regulatory program in Michigan law for sporting swine facilities, the invasive species order is being put into effect,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes.
Stokes said active enforcement of the invasive species order will not start prior to April 1, 2012, with compliance visits to swine shooting and breeding facilities planned after that date.
Sporting swine facilities can use the next six months to schedule hunts to reduce the population of sporting swine on their properties. Facilities still in possession of sporting swine on April 1, 2012, may face violations and fines.
The DNR acted to list sporting swine as an invasive species to help stop the spread of invasive swine across the State to eliminate the disease risk they pose to humans, domestic pigs and wildlife, and to prevent damage to agricultural and other lands. The state is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eradicate feral swine. Legislation was also passed last year allowing people with any valid hunting license to shoot feral swine on public land and on private land with the permission of the landowner.
For more information on feral swine in Michigan, or to report all feral swine sightings, kills and damage, go to www.michigan.gov/feralswine.

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Deer check stations


The Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials remind hunters that the DNR would like to check as many deer as possible during all the deer seasons to continue gathering critical data of Michigan’s deer herd. The data is important for monitoring the herd’s health and determining population size.
During all deer seasons, deer can be checked at DNR Operation Service Centers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday (except state holidays). Other check stations are only open on specific days. For more details, see the list of deer check stations for 2011 on the DNR website at Michigan.gov/dnr. Click on “hunting and trapping” and then “deer check stations.”
The last day to check your deer will be Jan. 6, 2012. The DNR will test any deer that is identified as “suspect” for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis (TB). The DNR will also collect samples 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, Cheboygan, and Emmet counties.

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New regulations for fur harvesters


The Department of Natural Resources reminds fur harvesters that new regulations are in effect for all species that require registration this season.
Trapping season begins Oct. 15 with the opening of fox and coyote season statewide and raccoon and badger seasons in northern Michigan (Zones 1 and 2).  Seasons for species with mandatory registration kick off with otter season in the Upper Peninsula beginning Oct. 25.
Fur harvesters are required to submit entire skulls from marten, fisher, bobcat and otter when presenting pelts to the DNR for registration and sealing.
Skulls will be used for aging to help the DNR with population modeling and management policies. Skulls will not be returned to fur harvesters. The required submission of skulls standardizes data collection among all furbearer species that require registration.
In previous years, the DNR only collected the skull from fisher and a tooth from marten and bobcats when they were registered. Submission of otter skulls or teeth was not required.
Pelts that have been registered and sealed will be released to fur takers immediately.
“The data we collect will help us better understand population dynamics of these species and will enable us to make appropriate harvest regulations,” said DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “We appreciate the hunters’ and trappers’ cooperation with this effort.”
For more information on furbearer registration and harvest seasons for these species, please see check the 2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Digest or visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.

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DNR confirms presence of cougar in Houghton County


The Department of Natural Resources today confirmed the presence of a cougar in northern Houghton County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The animal was captured on a trail camera on Sept. 24, walking directly toward the front of the camera and clearly showing it has a radio collar.
DNR Wildlife Division staff visited the property Sept. 26 where the trail cam is mounted and verified the location of the camera. The property owner wishes to remain anonymous.
“This is almost certainly the same cat as was confirmed in Ontonogan County on Sept. 8,” said Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the DNR’s Cougar Team. “What is also interesting is that the Wisconsin DNR earlier verified two trail camera pictures of this cat as it passed through Wisconsin on its way to the UP.”
The DNR is still in the process of tracking down where the cougar is from and has been checking frequencies from collars of cats from South Dakota. Only western states currently have cougars collared for research projects, so the animal likely traveled a great distance to reach the Upper Peninsula.
The Department will inform the public as soon as more details are known about this cougar.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, originally were native to Michigan but were thought to have been extirpated around the turn of the last century. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. However, sightings are regularly reported and although verification is often difficult, the DNR has verified sets of cougar tracks and confirmed the location of a cougar photo in the eastern Upper Peninsula in 2009 and several sets of cougar tracks in Marquette and Delta counties in 2008.
Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris.
Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by calling the department’s 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. If a citizen comes into contact with a cougar, the following behavior is recommended:
- Stop, stand tall, pick up small children and do not run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
- Do not approach the animal.
- Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
- If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Do not play dead. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.

Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. If you see a cougar, call your local DNR office to report it or report it on their website. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go to www.michigan.gov/cougars.

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Hunters using ORVs with orange flags are disabled


The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that persons using off-road vehicles that display an orange flag are hunters with disabilities and are allowed to have their ORVs operating in an area open to hunting.
According to state law, persons who meet certain criteria are permitted to operate licensed ATVs/ORVs on forest roads that are open to public vehicular travel on state lands, including those not posted open to ORVs. Privileges do not extend to cross-country travel, nor to areas, trails and roads specifically posted closed to vehicle or ORV use. Privileges also do not extend to the operation of an ORV within state game, wildlife, or research areas, federal forest lands, state parks, state recreation areas or Michigan trailways.
The law is intended to prevent misunderstandings between sportsmen and sportswomen that might arise when confronted with an ORV operating in an area open to hunting.  It is important for hunters to understand that under certain circumstances, ORV use is permitted, said Lt. Andrew Turner of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division.
Turner said the law simply allows hunters with disabilities to display an orange flag if they so choose. The law does not require a flag, and there are no size or height requirements in the law for the flag. The DNR chose orange for the flag color because orange flags are readily available, highly visible, inexpensive and commonly used for safety purposes.
For more information on hunting opportunities in Michigan, visit the DNR’s Hunting website at www.michigan.gov/hunting.

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DNR confirms cougar in UP


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed last week the presence of a cougar in Ontonagon County, on the far western side of the Upper Peninsula. The animal was captured on a trail camera on private property on Sept. 8, walking directly toward the front of the camera and clearly showing it has an ear tag and a radio collar.
DNR Wildlife Division staff visited the property Sept. 12 where the trail cam is mounted and verified the location of the camera.
“We are pleased that the individuals that caught this animal on video reported it promptly to the DNR and allowed us to verify the location of the camera,” said Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the DNR’s Cougar Team. “It is a very interesting sighting given the fact that the cougar has been radio-collared and ear-tagged.”
The DNR is in the process of tracking down where the cougar is from, and is contacting other states with known cougar populations. Only western states currently have cougars collared for research projects, so it is possible that the animal traveled a great distance to reach the Upper Peninsula.
The Department will inform the public as soon as more details are known about this cougar.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, originally were native to Michigan but were thought to have been extirpated around the turn of the last century.The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. However, sightings are regularly reported and although verification is often difficult, the DNR has verified two sets of cougar tracks and confirmed the location of a cougar photo in the eastern Upper Peninsula in 2009 and several sets of cougar tracks in Marquette and Delta counties in 2008.
Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris.
Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by calling the department’s 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. If a citizen comes into contact with a cougar, the following behavior is recommended:
- Stop, stand tall, pick up small children and do not run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
- Do not approach the animal.
- Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
- If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
- If a cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Do not play dead. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go www.michigan.gov/cougars.

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Special deer hunts on tap for youths, disabled veterans


The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters as the early antlerless firearm season concludes, a deer season continues for some people with a pair of special hunts.
Tuesday (Sept. 20) through Friday, Sept. 23, youth hunters 10 through 16 years of age may hunt antlerless deer only in Deer Management Unit (DMU) 486. DMU 486 includes the majority of southern Michigan with the exception of four counties on the southeastern edge of the peninsula – Monroe (DMU 058), Wayne (DMU 082), Macomb (DMU 050), and St. Clair (DMUs 074 and 174). For a map of DMU 486, see the 2011 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest, which is also available at www.michigan.gov/deer. The bag limit during this special early season is one antlerless deer per antlerless license.
Following the early antlerless youth season, there will be a statewide youth and disabled veterans hunt this weekend, Sept. 24-25. A firearm or combination deer hunting license is valid for either an antlered or an antlerless deer during this special season. Veterans must be determined to be 100 percent disabled by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to be eligible to participate in the Sept. 24-25 season.
All hunters are required to wear hunter orange during these seasons.
The recently adopted Hunter Heritage Act extended the opportunity for hunters 10 through 13 years of age to hunt on private land with a firearm deer license, junior combination deer license or antlerless license—if they have successfully completed hunter education training, or with an apprentice hunting license. In any case, the youngster must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult designated by the parent or guardian. The change is not reflected in the 2011 Hunting and Trapping Digest, as the publication went to press before the law was changed. Youth ages 10-13 can hunt with archery and crossbow equipment on both public and private lands, and those age 14-16 may hunt with archery, crossbow or firearm equipment on both public and private lands.
To see which DMUs still have antlerless licenses available, visit www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.
For more information on these hunts, check the 2010 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest or visit www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting.

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Bear hunter injured by black bear


A 49-year-old bear hunter from Shepherd, Mich., was injured Sunday night (Sept. 11) when he was attacked in his tree stand by a female black bear in Mackinac County, west of the village of Trout Lake, the Department of Natural Resources reported today.
The hunter sustained non-life threatening lacerations to his legs and was transported to a local hospital by a member of his hunting party.
According to initial reports, the hunter was seated approximately 10 to 12 feet above the ground in a tree stand when a female bear and three cubs approached. The sow climbed up the tree and clawed at the hunter and he attempted to kick her to fend off the attack. The bear retreated momentarily, and then returned up the tree to again claw at the hunter. At that point, he was able to shoot the bear with his rifle as it was attacking him.
Investigation of the incident is ongoing by the DNR and Michigan State Police.
The black bear is the only bear species native to Michigan, with approximately 90 percent of the bear population living in the Upper Peninsula. Black bears are shy by nature, and have a fear of humans. However, a perceived threat to cubs can provoke a mother bear to attack on occasion.
For more information on bears in Michigan, including how to prevent problems between bears and humans, go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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