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Tag Archive | "deer hunting"

Hunter assistance helps identify 65 CWD-positive deer

A DNR employee (right) gives a Michigan deer management cooperator patch to a hunter who brought a deer to a check station for chronic wasting disease testing. Photo by MI-DNR.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is sharing some highlights of the 2019 deer hunting seasons, which ended in late January 2020. Those seasons were marked by widespread participation in the states surveillance efforts around chronic wasting disease, especially in areas of the state with a known CWD presence. In addition to those CWD testing results, the department also takes a look at license sales, compliance with the deer and elk baiting and feeding ban and more.

CWD testing goals and outcomes

Surveillance efforts for the 2019 seasons are complete. The DNR tested just over 20,000 deer for chronic wasting disease, continuing Michigan’s role as a national leader in CWD surveillance efforts. The year before, during the 2018 seasons, about 25 percent of all deer heads tested in the U.S. were tested here in Michigan.

“Once again, we’d like thank our hunters for their cooperation in helping us meet our CWD surveillance goals,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Testing for CWD is of primary importance for the department and we couldnt meet these goals without the assistance of deer hunters.”

Eichinger also praised the assistance of deer processors, taxidermists, local businesses that house deer head drop boxes and other important partners who provide necessary assistance to the department.

For the 2019 seasons the department set testing goals of about 9,200 deer in the Lower Peninsula’s 16-county CWD management zone and approximately 3,300 in the Upper Peninsulas surveillance areas. Those regions, respectively, saw 16,000 and 1,500 deer tested. More than 2,500 deer also were tested in other parts of Michigan not associated with disease surveillance goals.

“This year, we achieved most of our individual county and area goals. In some regions, our goals were quite lofty, and even though we didn’t meet them, we still tested a lot of deer,” said DNR deer specialist Chad Stewart. “The goals we set, and the ensuing test results help us to determine where on the landscape the CWD is found and the scale at which it exists.””

 In the Lower Peninsula, Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson, Muskegon and Ottawa counties fell short of surveillance goals, though nearly 4,000 deer were still tested in those five counties.

In all, 65 CWD-positive deer were identified from the 2019 hunting seasons and all were from counties with a known CWD presence.

Our primary area of infection remains in parts of Montcalm and northeast Kent counties, where we knew the disease existed going into 2019 hunting seasons, Stewart said. We are encouraged that we have not found new CWD positives outside of this known area.”

Despite finding 65 positive animals officials caution about comparing the low number of positives with the high number tested and saying there is not a problem.

“Fifty-three of our total positives came out of Montcalm and northeast Kent counties, where we tested about 3,000 deer,” Stewart added. “This may not sound like much, but we know from the experience of other states that without active management of the disease, CWD prevalence rates can increase rapidly over time.”

Stewart said that CWD is a problem in Michigan’s deer herd that will require a commitment to long-term solutions. “Active management includes targeted removals, baiting and feeding bans and carcass movement restrictions and is our best chance of keeping the disease as limited as possible for as long as possible,” he said.

Disease control permits for landowners

At this time of the year, the department has shifted its CWD management focus by asking private property owners in CWD areas to assist in disease surveillance and provides disease control permits to help them do it.

In townships where CWD has been identified, hunters and landowners with 5 acres or more are eligible to receive disease control permits. These permits allow landowners to take deer on their property and submit deer heads for testing. If the test does not detect CWD, the property owner may keep the deer. The disease control permits are a valuable tool that lets landowners play an active role in CWD management.

Hunter numbers in Michigan and nationally

White-tailed deer. Photo by MI-DNR.

Last fall, much media attention was given to the fact that hunter numbers are declining in Michigan. While true, the trend isn’t new, and it isn’t specific to Michigan. Across the country, states are feeling the financial pressure from reduced hunter numbers, because revenue from hunting license sales makes up a large portion of the funding for critical conservation work.

“Nationwide, hunting has had a gradual decline over the last several decades,” said Eichinger. “The trend is likely due to a combination of factors, including generations of hunters that are aging out of the sport and younger generations that are less likely to participate in hunting due to societal changes.”

Last year, deer license sales were down about 3 percent over 2018. That decline mirrored past years, despite predictions of greater decreases due to Michigan’s deer and elk baiting and feeding ban. In fact, the hunter numbers declined least in the CWD core area, which is beneficial for monitoring and managing the disease.

“While the decline in hunters is certainly discouraging, we know that hunting remains an important part of Michigan’s rich heritage,” Eichinger said. “That’s why we always encourage veteran hunters to introduce the sport to new hunters whenever and wherever they can.”

Deer baiting and feeding ban

The prohibition of deer baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula was another important hunting topic. The ban, which was implemented to limit the spread of CWD and bovine tuberculosis, sought to reduce the congregation of deer over bait piles, where disease can be spread through bodily fluids like saliva, urine and feces.

“While feedback we’ve heard indicates this hasn’t been the most popular regulation, the best available science shows that baiting bans are an effective tool to limit disease spread,” said Stewart. “Anything that we can do to limit the chances for deer to return to the same location hour after hour, day after day, helps to reduce the risk of disease spread. It’s a lot like not hosting a dinner party when you’re sick, to prevent your family or co-workers from getting sick.”

DNR conservation officers enforced the baiting ban in its first year and found that overall hunter compliance was satisfactory, though certainly not 100 percent.

“We appreciate all of the hunters who help protect Michigan’s deer herd by supporting the rules and regulations that are put in place to prevent the spread of wildlife disease”, said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It’s encouraging when our officers have these positive contacts in the field.”

To learn more about deer and deer hunting in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Deer.

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Michigan’s muzzleloader deer hunting season opens 


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the 2016 muzzleloader deer season opened across the state last Friday, Dec. 2.

Zones 1 and 2 will remain open to muzzleloading until Dec. 11. Zone 3 is open to muzzleloader deer hunting until Dec. 18.

Hunters are reminded that archery deer season also is open statewide during this time. Archery season started again on Dec. 1 and runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

Hunters should be aware of any applicable antler point restrictions in the areas where they are hunting. Check the antler point restriction map and chart on pages 32 and 33 of the 2016 Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.

In the Upper Peninsula, only deer hunters with a certified disability may use a crossbow or a modified bow during the late archery and muzzleloader seasons. This restriction applies to the Upper Peninsula only.

All deer hunters are required to wear hunter orange when participating in the muzzleloader season. The hunter orange requirement does not apply to those participating in the archery season.

For more information about deer hunting in Michigan, visit mi.gov/deer.

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Michigan records second consecutive hunting season with no fatalities

OUT-No-hunting-fatalities-BuckFor the second year in a row, Michigan recorded no fatalities in 2015 during all hunting seasons, according to reports compiled by the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division. Thirteen incidents resulting in injuries were recorded in the state during the year, up slightly from 10 incidents in 2014. Twelve incidents occurred in the Lower Peninsula and one in the Upper Peninsula.

This is part of an overall trend toward fewer hunting-related fatalities and injuries over the past several decades, a downward trend that started in 1988 when completion of a hunter education class became mandatory for all first-time hunters born after Jan. 1, 1960.

In 1988, the state saw the lowest fatality rate – four deaths – since annual record keeping began in 1970, when there were 18 fatalities. Record keeping began in the 1940s, but fatalities and injuries figures were compiled per decade rather than per year.

Our excellent hunter education program saves lives,” said Sgt. Steve Orange, supervisor of the DNR’s Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement Section. “When looking at the downward trend over the last five decades, it becomes very clear that our hunter education program is one of the major factors attributed to preventing fatalities and injuries.”

Injuries have fallen substantially since hunter education classes became mandatory. From 212 injuries in 1970 and climbing to 275 injuries by 1974—the most recorded in a single year—injuries have, for the most part, steadily decreased every year since. Incidents involving injury fell below 50 in 1991 for the first time, and after a very slight increase over the next several years, injuries began dropping again. Incidents resulting in injury have not exceeded 15 per year for the past five years.

The steadily decreasing numbers are attributed by Orange to the dedicated team of hunter education volunteer instructors—who currently number over 3,400—and the expanded hunter education programs, which now include a home study program and online hunter safety courses.

Our many hunter education volunteers, who cumulatively donate over 35,000 hours every year, are dedicated to providing new hunters with the skills needed to handle and operate their firearms or archery equipment safely, which results in enjoyable experiences for them and others in Michigan’s out of doors,” said Orange.

He also noted the benefits for experienced hunters in taking or retaking a hunter education class as a refresher.

Individuals completing home study or online hunter safety courses must still complete a hands-on field day, where they receive instruction and practice in operating firearms, bows, traps and more. Field days are taught by volunteer instructors and conservation officers.

Hunter education classes have been available since 1946, although they were not mandatory at that time. In 1971, the program became mandatory for first-time hunters ages 12-16. That was expanded in 1988 to all first-time hunters born after Jan. 1, 1960. Since 1988, more than 600,000 hunters have completed hunter education classes. In recent years, over 20,000 hunters complete the program annually.

During the 2015 season, 651,588 base licenses were sold. Michigan’s hunting incident rate per license is .002 percent. The base license is required to purchase any hunting license.

Of the 13 incidents resulting in injury reported in 2015, one involved a turkey hunter, one involved a waterfowl hunter, one involved a trapper and six involved deer hunters. One injury does not specify animal hunted because the report is pending. Victims ranged in age from 21 to 74. The majority of injuries, over 60 percent, were a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Five of the deer hunting incidents were reported during the firearm deer hunting season Nov. 15-30 and occurred in the counties of Calhoun, Gladwin, Roscommon, St. Clair and Van Buren. The sixth deer hunting incident that resulted in injury occurred during late antlerless firearm season Dec. 19-Jan. 1. The incident took place in Lapeer County.

The DNR reminds hunters to follow all safety rules and recommendations to ensure a safe hunting season, including:

  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.
  • Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun. It might be loaded, even if you think it isn’t.
  • Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it. Know the identifying features of the game you hunt. Make certain you have an adequate backstop; don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
  • Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. This is the best way to prevent an accidental discharge.
  • Make certain the barrel and action are clear of obstructions, and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.
  • Unload firearms when not in use. Leave actions open, and carry firearms in cases and unloaded to and from the shooting area. Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a gun.
  • Don’t run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
  • Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely. Store each in secured locations beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before and during shooting. Also avoid mind- or behavior-altering medications or drugs.

Although these are all common sense rules and recommendations, the majority of accidents and fatalities happen because one or more of these safety points were not followed,” Orange said.

Cpl. Dave Painter of the DNR’s Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement Section reminds hunters to wear hunter orange during designated seasons.

It’s the law, and it’s paramount in keeping hunters seen and safe,” Painter said.

In 1977, wearing hunter orange became mandatory on certain lands for the first time. In 1984, the law was amended to require hunters to wear hunter orange on all lands open to public hunting.

Regulations require hunters, during designated hunting seasons, to wear a cap, hat, vest, jacket or rain gear of hunter orange. The garments that are hunter orange must be the outermost garment and visible from all sides.

Hunter orange is a high-visibility color that, when worn according to regulations, increases hunters’ safety,” Painter said.

Hunter orange is readily identified as the color worn by hunters, according to Painter.

For nearly 40 years, hunters have worn this color so that they can be seen by other hunters while in the field. This is an important added safety measure and can also be attributed, along with hunter education programs, to saving lives and reducing the number of incidents leading to injury.”

Painter encourages individuals who aren’t hunters but enjoy public and private lands with hunters – such as hikers, birders and general outdoor enthusiasts – to also wear hunter orange during designated seasons so they are seen and recognized.

Outdoor enthusiasts who share lands with hunters are taking the initiative to wear hunter orange because they recognize its significance,” Painter said. “They correctly attribute the color to safe hunting and safe outdoor recreation.”

Information on the hunting incidents recorded in 2015 can be found online at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers under Law Enforcement Reports.

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DNR reports 2014 deer hunting harvest down across Michigan


Several factors added to decline; wildlife managers working on improvements


Several factors contributed to a lower deer hunting harvest in 2014.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued a Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report on the 2014 hunting seasons indicating that roughly 615,000 hunters statewide harvested a total of roughly 329,000 deer. The harvest represents a drop of 15 percent from 2013.
Wildlife managers report that regional declines in deer harvest were greatest in the Upper Peninsula, where the overall harvest was down by nearly 36 percent.
The DNR said several factors—including back-to-back years of severe winter weather that depleted the deer population in some parts of the state—contributed to the decline.

Snow, snow and more snow

“In the Upper Peninsula, winter started early with more than three feet of snow on the ground in some areas before the Nov. 15 opening of firearm deer season,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Frawley. “Though not as severe as the previous season, this marked the third consecutive rough winter for the deer population in the U.P.” Frawley said that much of the region’s drop in deer harvest could be explained by those conditions. The heavy U.P. snowfall, for example, made it challenging—sometimes impossible—for some firearm deer hunters to get to their camps. Given the conditions, many decided not to hunt; others, after experiencing the effects of the two previous winters, decided not to buy licenses.
“When the number of hunters is reduced in a given year, the deer harvest potential naturally is reduced, too,” Frawley said.

 Michigan deer hunters spent 8.8 million days afield last year.

Michigan deer hunters spent 8.8 million days afield last year.

Across all hunting seasons, 84,099 people hunted deer in the U.P. in 2014, down about 19 percent from 2013.
Natural cyclical movement

DNR Director Keith Creagh said that like Michigan’s deer population, the state’s deer harvest numbers have risen and fallen in an ebb-and-flow pattern since the early 1960s.

“The number of deer harvested hit a low in the early 1970s at below 100,000 statewide,” Creagh said. “With mild winters and changing forest conditions, deer populations then rose and hunter harvest climbed to more than 400,000 by the late 1980s.”

After tough back-to-back winters in the mid-1990s, the harvest followed the population steeply downhill, but rebounded again to nearly 600,000 by the end of the decade. Since then, deer harvest has remained below 500,000 since the early 2000s.

Other population indicators

DNR deer program biologist Ashley Autenrieth said U.P. deer-vehicle collisions tallied 2,961, down 22 percent from 2013. Crop damage permit kills were down to 1,664 in 2014 from 1,745 the previous year. “These two factors indicate a drop in the overall deer population,” Autenrieth said. The winter severity index, crop damage permits and deer-vehicle accidents also were down in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Pockets of success

In northern parts of the U.P., firearm deer hunters who did get to their camps and blinds found the snowy conditions had put many deer on southward seasonal migration paths early. Hunters who altered their strategies to follow those paths fared better. Despite the challenging conditions, firearm deer hunters in the U.P. harvested 14,734 antlered bucks, with 41,415 taken in the northern Lower Peninsula and 49,110 in the southern Lower Peninsula.
Across all 2014 deer hunting seasons, nearly a fourth of hunters in the western U.P., and 14.6 percent in the eastern U.P., harvested at least one antlered buck. Statewide, the percentage jumped to 26.9 percent.

Overall deer harvest, hunter satisfaction

Statewide, 41 percent of hunters harvested a deer in 2014, compared to 43 percent in 2013. Roughly 11 percent of deer hunters harvested two or more deer of any type. Less than 4 percent of hunters took two antlered bucks.
About 20 percent of deer hunters harvested an antlerless deer and 27 percent took an antlered buck. “Across Michigan, 39 percent of hunters said they were satisfied with their overall hunting experience, with the highest satisfaction in the Lower Peninsula,” Frawley said. “Those are numbers we want to build on as we work to provide a positive experience for hunters in every part of the state.”

Other population, harvest factors

Michigan deer hunters spent 8.8 million days afield last year. DNR efforts to improve the deer population affected the harvest numbers as well. Those actions include:

To protect more does in the U.P., the Michigan Natural Resources Commission restricted the number of deer management units open to antlerless deer hunting to three areas in the southern part of the region.

Recently, at the urging of hunters, the NRC decided to remove for this fall the ability of hunters in the U.P. to tag antlerless deer during the archery season with a single or combination deer license.

For the long-term, DNR and hunter efforts continue to improve deer habitat:

A U.P. Habitat Workgroup reconvened in January, focused on improving and conserving critical winter deer habitat, offering technical assistance and incentives to private landowners.

A Mississippi State University multiyear study on the role of predators, winter weather and habitat on white-tailed deer fawn survival in the U.P. is continuing, aided by the DNR and Safari Club International.

Reasons for optimism

Although the overall number of license buyers was down from 10 years ago, an increased number of people younger than 14 years old and people older than 50 bought a hunting license last year. Overall, 12 percent of license buyers were younger than 17 years old.
The DNR continues efforts to meet changing hunter demographics by promoting hunting to younger hunters and female hunters, whose numbers are rising.
Across Michigan, about 57 percent of hunters supported antler point restrictions on buck harvest that were implemented for the U.P. and about 63 percent of the hunters who preferred to hunt in the U.P. supported the antler point restrictions.

The DNR offered all deer hunters the option to voluntarily report information about their deer hunt via the Internet. More than 4,200 hunters responded. Next, a questionnaire was sent to 58,857 randomly selected individuals who had bought a hunting license, but had not reported harvest information online. Respondents who promptly responded became eligible to win a firearm or a bow.
Questionnaires were returned by 29,035 hunters (a 51-percent response rate), providing additional valuable harvest and experience data.

Moving forward, the DNR and the NRC will continue to talk with the public regarding their ideas on more measures that potentially could be taken to further improve deer hunting in Michigan.

For more information on the 2014 deer harvest report, visit www.michigan.gov/deer.

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Being a guide and having a guide

Pastor Chad Hampton

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs (just north of 19 Mile)

Huntin The Truth Ministries




The first day of October marks an extra exciting season in the life of a select group of people: deer hunters. This day marks the opening of archery deer hunting season. This time of year brings the excitement and anticipation of hopefully harvesting those deer that you have been watching on your trail cameras, dreaming of, and talking to other hunters about the entire year. This is not to mention seeing pictures of some of the nice bucks being harvested by our youth during the early youth hunt that builds the excitement! Speaking of youth, for a ministry I’ve founded called “Huntin the Truth Ministries,” this also brings the excitement of having the privilege and opportunity to fulfill our mission. We take youth and physically challenged men and women out into the fields to hunt those deer and use the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with them and help guide these men and women spiritually as they also “hunt” the plan that God has for their lives.

This year as I pondered the great memories we will make hunting and guiding other hunters, I began thinking about how God is providing for a new chapter when it comes to my family life and ministry. Even though I have been in ministry for 15 years, hunting for almost 25 years, and approaching my middle-aged years of life, this will be a season I have never been through before. Even though I have security of knowing that God is in control at every new season that life brings, I know that God uses people in our lives to help guide us along each journey, much like we do with the youth in our ministry during hunting season.We teach them where and how to hunt, how to use their weapons, and sometimes warn them of the dangers of what lies ahead based on the hard lessons we have learned from our successes and our failures. I began to realize that although I guide others and have gained experience from the years I have lived on this earth, I also need a guide, or a mentor, who God will use to lead me through this new phase in life.  I need a wise person with experience in this stage who will educate me on the ups and downs that occurred throughout a past season of his/her life.

The Bible actually tells us that even if we are wise, we will seek out and listen to more wisdom!  Proverbs 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” We see in Proverbs chapter 1 that Solomon declared that he wrote the Proverbs “That the wise man may hear, and increase in learning: And that the man of understanding may attain unto sound counsels.” Solomon, who God blessed with greater wisdom than anyone of his day, also had his share of failures even though he had wisdom to that degree. He is trying to teach us a great lesson from his life: Even though you might have much wisdom and experience, you always need more.

I began to realize this year—more so than ever—that our entire lives are cycles of seasons that we have never been through before. Whether you are a young boy or girl just entering junior high school, a young man or women who is entering a new marriage or having children, a middle-aged man or woman who is experiencing the empty nest, or a man or woman approaching retirement, these are all fresh stages in life; these are times we can navigate through easier with the wisdom and direction of someone who has already been through your current season.

So, let me ask you: Do you have a guide or mentor in your life who God could use to help guide you through this current season of your life and the seasons ahead? Regardless of our age, we have never been through our current stage of life, and I would recommend seeking God on whom that person or persons would be to help guide you! Furthermore, if you have never been a mentor to another person, I would recommend that you seek God and your church leaders concerning who you could mentor through times you have already experienced. God bless you, and if you’re a hunter, God bless your hunting!



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NRC expands deer hunting territory for the fall

Hunters will have a little more territory to hunt for antlerless deer this fall as the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) opened a few more deer management units (DMUs) in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula at its regular monthly meeting Thursday in Lansing.
Newly opened DMUs reflect increased deer populations in those areas, explained Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph. The DNR will seek low quotas for the newly opened DMUs, Rudolph said.

A total of 72 DMUs will be open to antlerless deer hunting on public land, and 86 DMUs, plus the two multi-county DMUs in the Lower Peninsula (DMUs 486 and 487), will be open on private land. A complete list of open DMUs and their quotas will be published shortly in the 2012 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest.

Antlerless deer license applications go on sale July 15 at all license agents and online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.

In addition, the NRC voted to restrict hunters in DMUs 486 and 487 to a maximum of 10 private land antlerless licenses this season, a decrease from five per day in 2011.

Special statewide hunts for youth and 100 percent disabled veterans will be held Sept. 22-23. The early antlerless season on private land in portions of the Lower Peninsula is being reduced from five days to two, also Sept. 22-23.
“There have been increasing concerns from some members of the hunting public that the recent expansion of September hunting is causing deer to be more wary during the traditional seasons,” Rudolph said. “By reducing and consolidating the September seasons, we’re addressing those concerns while maintaining opportunities for youth and disabled hunters throughout the state and for early harvest of antlerless deer on private land where it is most needed.”

In addition, the NRC changed conditions on special crop-damage permits in accordance with recent legislation. Public Act 65 of 2012 allows up to 15 authorized shooters on Deer Damage Shooting Permits. In the past, special authorization was required to allow more than three shooters to be designated per permit.

In other action, the NRC reaffirmed that naturally shed deer and elk antlers may be legally collected, possessed and sold.

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Weekly fishing report

From the Michigan DNR

This is the time of year when fishing reports are harder to come by as most anglers turn their attention to deer hunting. Those heading out for the firearm season are reminded that late fall and early winter offer prime fishing on inland lakes for hungry walleye, pike and bass. It is also a good time to catch big perch, bluegill and crappie.
Southwest Lower Peninsula (as of November 10):
St. Joseph: Pier anglers are catching whitefish on a small hook with a single egg. Steelhead were caught in the harbor in the early morning or late afternoon.
St. Joseph River: Has prime steelhead fishing right now even though angler numbers were down.
Kalamazoo River: Had good numbers of steelhead all the way up to the Allegan Dam. Those fishing below the dam caught walleye.
Grand River at Grand Rapids: Salmon fishing is pretty much done but the steelhead action continues to grow with some large fish caught between Fulton Street and the dam. Try spawn under a bobber, small spoons or flies.
Grand River at Lansing: Steelhead were reported in Prairie Creek near Ionia and below the dam at Lyons. No reports for Lansing.
Muskegon River: Has lots of steelhead downstream from Newaygo. Some are fly fishing while others are floating fresh spawn. Walleye and pike were caught near Hardy Dam and smallmouth bass were caught upstream of the dam.
For other areas in Michigan, or to get it in your email, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on fishing, then weekly fishing report.

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2011 Michigan deer hunting prospects

by Brent Rudolph, Deer and Elk Program Leader, DNR

Over the last few years, around 700,000 individuals have purchased a license to hunt deer in Michigan. These hunters ultimately spend more than 9.6 million days afield and take more than 400,000 deer. Over 300,000 hunters participate in Michigan’s archery season, about 600,000 hunt with a firearm and 200,000 with a muzzleloader.
Deer are not evenly distributed across the state. There are considerable differences in habitat and deer numbers across Michigan’s three regions – the Upper Peninsula (UP), northern Lower Peninsula (NLP), and southern Lower Peninsula (SLP).
Part of hunting preparations each year includes becoming familiar with the most recent regulations. The deer website of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a new collaborative website with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University provide highlights of regulations changes, information about deer management, and links to additional resources, such as a list of deer check stations. These sites are located at www.michigan.gov/deer and http://deer.fw.msu.edu. Please refer to the 2011 Hunting and Trapping Digest and Antlerless Digest, available at DNR Operations Service Centers, license vendors, or available in electronic formats through links at these sites, for a map of all Deer Management Units and other regulations details.
Southern Lower Peninsula
An average of nearly 360,000 hunters have pursued deer in the SLP over the last few years, including more than 185,000 participants in the archery season, more than 290,000 firearm hunters, and an average of about 125,000 hunters pursuing deer with a muzzleloader.
Baiting has been reinstated as legal throughout the SLP. Baiting may only occur from October 1 through January 1. Hunters are restricted to no more than 2 gallons of bait per hunting site spread over 100 square feet (equivalent to a 10 foot by 10 foot area).
The deer population in southern Michigan is expected to be similar to the last few years. Abundant food and cover in the form of agricultural crops and scattered swamps and woodlots provide very good habitat across the southern Michigan landscape. This high quality habitat, combined with relatively mild winter conditions, results in an abundant and productive deer population. Deer populations generally exceed DNR goals and fawns generally come in sets of twins and triplets. High numbers of antlerless permits are available again this year.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Girl gets first deer

OUT-Shears-deerFor Catrina Shears, age 12, of Solon Township, the first time was the charm. Catrina, who hunts with her brothers Mitchell and Joshua, shot this doe her first day out during youth hunt. She was hunting on her Grandpa Demorest’s house in Howard City, and was shaking so much, her brother had to hold the gun!
When she shot at a deer in the morning, she found out the safety was still on, and missed her prey. But they went out again that night, and brought home this doe. “She was so excited!” said Catrina’s mom, Chris Shears.
Catrina said she was the only girl in 7th grade at Creative Technologies Academy to shoot and get a deer for youth hunt weekend. Congratulations, Catrina!

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