DNR check station staff hunting valuable deer data

Most Michigan deer hunters have been in the woods as much as possible during this firearm deer hunting season.

However, one group of deer hunters — members of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division — have given up some of their days afield to check other hunters’ deer at check stations around the state.

Two DNR check station workers inspect a deerCollecting valuable data about the state’s deer population is something the DNR has been doing for decades.

The DNR is aided in its efforts by students and other volunteers and through partnerships with meat processors, taverns, recreation vehicle dealers and other businesses that provide some of the most popular check station venues.

“We get a ton of information from our hunters,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer specialist, who is located at the Rose Lake Research Center. “It’s the one time of year when we can really get our hands on so many deer.”

The DNR collects data on the age and sex structure of the harvest, location data from where the deer are being taken and a glimpse of the herd’s overall health.

“We get a lot of data at the township-range-section level,” Stewart said. “Any one data point doesn’t have much value. But, when you get that same data over time, it has a far greater impact. We’re able to tell where these deer came from and anything that changes over time regarding any of the factors we’re looking at.” Read more

Wildlife officials ask for hunters’ help in eliminating chronic wasting disease in Michigan

The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring.

Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance.

So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.

“Most people right now are on board with what we are doing,” he said. “They seem to understand the regulatory changes we’ve made. Not everyone likes them, but they understand them.”

In April, Meridian Township police dispatched a 6-year-old female deer that was exhibiting signs of DSK524 52.jpgneurological disease. An initial screening at the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory identified the deer as a CWD suspect. Soon, the National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the DNR’s suspicion: Michigan became the latest state to have found CWD in its free-ranging deer herd. Read more

Farm Bill Funds Available for Habitat

Upcoming Workshops Planned Around Southern Michigan

(Lansing) – Over the next couple months, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), Pheasants Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, local Conservation Districts, USDA Farm Services Agency, the DNR, and many other partners are coming together to promote pheasant cooperatives and general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)  sign-up around Southern Michigan. January 2016 marks the 5th year of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI), and along with sharing the successes of the MPRI, general CRP is opening for enrollment. These programs provide financial assistance to put quality wildlife habitat on the ground.

“The goal of these events is to provide landowners with valuable information and tools that equip them to create and enhance wildlife habitat on their properties,” said Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator with MUCC, Anna Mitterling. “Landowners will walk away with tips for increasing their odds to receive financial assistance, and will have personal access to experts who work with various habitat programs.” Read more

Dead mule deer dumped in Eaton County; DNR officials remind hunters of importation laws, CWD implications

Last week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources responded to calls of a male mule deer lying on the side of the road in a rural area of Eaton County. The antlers had been removed and the animal was field-dressed, though DNR staff determined, after close X-ray examination, the animal was killed by a vehicle. There were no bullet holes or lead fragments, but there were numerous broken ribs and other trauma indicative of a deer/vehicle collision. Since there are no registered mule deer in Michigan’s privately owned cervid facilities, it is believed that this carcass was brought into Michigan from somewhere out west. Read more

S.556, The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Bill Advances

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to advance the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S.556) The legislation was reported out of the committee with overwhelming bipartisan support. Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) cast the sole recorded vote opposing the measure. The vote represents an important step toward enactment of this important legislation which will become eligible for consideration by the entire Senate subsequent to additional provisions of the Act being reported out of the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Thank you to all of the NSSF members and hunters and shooters who took the time to contact your Senators to urge advancement of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Our industry’s voice was heard and we made a difference.

Upper Peninsula firearm deer season opens with improvement over last year

Young hunter on his first deer hunt, Menominee County

Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff said Sunday’s opening day of the firearm deer hunting season was improved in some parts of the Upper Peninsula over last year, based on reports from deer check stations.

Young hunter on his first deer hunt, Menominee CountyAcross the region, temperatures reached the low 50s, with sunny skies, though lingering snow that had fallen earlier in the week remained on the ground in some places.

Last year, much of the northwestern part of the U.P. was buried under 3 to 4 feet of snow by opening day, in the wake of a strong winter storm that began Nov. 10 and continued for three days, followed by lake-effect snow showers.

At the Marquette DNR check station, one deer was checked on opening day last November. This year, the Marquette station checked six deer, closer to the 10-year average of 10 deer brought in on opening day. Read more

Covert Scouting Camera’s MP8 Black Now Available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

Lewisburg, KY- Covert Scouting Camera’s HD 60 is now available in new Mossy Oak® Break-Up Country®. The MP8 Black provides customers with an invisible flash camera to those who desire extra security and want invisible flash technology at a very affordable price.

The MP8 Black is equipped with an adjustable 3-5-8MP resolution, a color viewer and can hold an SD card up to 16GB. Technical features include a time lapse mode, start stop mode, three adjustable sensitivity levels and photo bursts of one to three images. The date/time/temp and moon phase stamp is a must for tracking movement. With its 40 invisible flash LED’s and 8MP resolution, the MP8 Black is a best buy from Covert. The MP8 Black in all new Mossy Oak Break-Up Country will help you increase your hunting success. Read more

Michigan DNR Suspects Fourth Deer with CWD


Hunters Encouraged to Keep Hunting and Check Deer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources suspects that a fourth free-ranging white-tailed deer may have Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan. The news comes just days before the start of the state’s annual firearm deer season.

The deer, a year and a half old buck, was shot by a bowhunter near DeWitt and detected when the hunter brought the deer into a DNR check station. This is the first deer to test positive for the degenerative and always-fatal disease outside of Meridian Township. The first three deer were all genetically related and found within one mile of each other. The deer was sent to a research facility in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation of the positive CWD test, which could take weeks.

“This makes it more important than ever to keep hunting in the area, check your deer and follow the CWD zone rules,” said Dan Eichinger, Executive Director for Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “It’s up to us as hunters to help the DNR get as many samples as it needs for testing so that we know just how far CWD has spread.”

With the firearm deer season starting Sunday, hunters are reminded that they are required to check their harvested deer within a nine-township Core CWD Area consisting of Alaiedon, Delhi, Lansing, Meridian, Wheatfield and Williamstown townships in Ingham County; Bath and DeWitt townships in Clinton County; and Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County.

The DNR strongly encourages hunters in a broader CWD Management Zone – consisting of Clinton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties – to check their deer and have them tested for CWD as well.

“The firearm deer season is our single best opportunity to collect sufficient samples to understand the extent of this invariably fatal disease,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist, in a statement.

Because the suspect positive deer was harvested within 10 miles of the Eaton County border, the DNR strongly encourages all hunters within Eaton County to voluntarily stop baiting and feeding, continue hunting, and most importantly bring harvested deer into a DNR check station.

“What we want to avoid here in Michigan is the situation that exists when CWD goes unchecked. There are areas of Wisconsin where almost half of the deer have CWD and can’t be eaten,” said Drew YoungeDyke, Chief Information Officer for MUCC. “That’s tragic. We don’t want that situation here in Michigan, but we’ll have it if we don’t stay vigilant.”

Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest conservation organization in Michigan. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.

U.P. Focus: DNR launches ‘Keep the U.P. CWD Free!’ campaign in the Upper Peninsula

CWD fact sheets, bumper stickersThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources has launched a public information and education campaign to try to keep chronic wasting disease from reaching the Upper Peninsula.

Discovered earlier this year in free-ranging deer in the Lower Peninsula, CWD affects the central nervous system and is fatal to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. There is no known treatment.

DNR officials are concerned CWD could be brought into the U.P. by those hunting in other states. Read more

Become a FeederWatcher to Help the Birds

Rufous Hummingbird by S. Beebe, a weekly People’s Choice winner in the most recent BirdSpotter Photo Contest.

Grand Prize Winner in last season’s BirdSpotter Photo Contest. Baltimore Oriole by Diane Marshman.

Every bird observation reported makes a difference

Ithaca, N.Y.—Watching birds is a joy unto itself–but you can easily make it mean so much more just by reporting the birds you see to Project FeederWatch. This popular citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology launches its 29th season on November 14. Whether you’re already a dedicated bird watcher or would like to give it a try, sign up now at FeederWatch.org to support the scientific study and conservation of birds with your observations. Read more

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