DNR Updates for Anglers and Hunters

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — September 13, 2022

If you hunt or fish in the great outdoors of Michigan here is some important information you should be aware of and can use as you participate in these awesome adventures.

Get Ready for the 2022 Deer Hunting Season in Michigan

  • 2022 Deer Hunting Preview
  • Review Latest Regulations in 2022 Hunting Digest
  • New This Year: Mandatory Harvest Reporting
  • Early Antlerless Firearm Season: Sept. 17-18
  • Important Reminders
  • Disease Surveillance and Testing
2022 Deer Hunting Preview
Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

Find out what to expect for this year’s deer hunting seasons, including harvest reporting, disease monitoring, and regional forecasts, in the 2022 deer hunting preview.

Review the Latest Regulations in 2022 Hunting Digest

Before you head into the field, be sure to check the latest hunting regulations in your area by looking at the 2022 Hunting Digest.

Download Digests

For on-demand digest access that travels where you do, without the need for internet access, download DNR hunting, and fishing digests right to your phone! Find the current digests and downloading instructions at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests or through the DNR Hunt Fish mobile app.

New This Year: Mandatory Harvest Reporting

Starting with the fall 2022 deer seasons, filing an online Harvest Reporting is required for all hunters who successfully take a deer.

Don’t Overlook This Important New Regulation

You will have up to 72 hours after taking a deer to report your harvest, and there are two ways to do it:

Answers to frequently asked questions are available for questions related to deer harvest reporting.

The reporting process is outlined in this video, and assistance for those experiencing technical difficulties will be available at a variety of locations around the state or by calling 517-284-9453 during normal business hours.

If you would like to commemorate the 2022 season with a deer patch, they will be available for purchase later this fall at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or in the DNR mobile app for $8 each, while supplies last.

Early Antlerless Firearm Season: Sept. 17-18

 

Important Reminders

The sections below refer to specific pages of the 2022 Hunting Digest for more information on these topics.

Baiting and Feeding

Baiting and feeding is banned in the entire Lower Peninsula and the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Area in the Upper Peninsula.

  • See pages 56 and 61-62 in the 2022 Hunting Digest for additional information about the baiting and feeding bans.

Universal antlerless license

  • Universal antlerless deer licenses may be used on public or private land in any deer management unit open to antlerless hunting. See pages 47-48 in the 2022 Hunting Digest.
  • Some hunters in the Upper Peninsula (DMU 351 and 352) will need to have an access permit along with a universal antlerless deer license to hunt antlerless deer. See pages 60-61 in the 2022 Hunting Digest.
Check Access Permit Drawing Results Online
  • If you applied for an antlerless deer hunting access permit in the Upper Peninsula or a reserved hunt at Sharonville State Game Area, Shiawassee River National Wildlife Refuge or Shiawassee River State Game Area, those application results are available online.
Antler Point Restrictions (APR)
  • Mainland Lower Peninsula hunters may harvest an antlered or antlerless deer with their deer or deer combo licenses during archery, firearm, and muzzleloader seasons.
  • Be sure to check the APR chart before heading out this year:
    • Lower Peninsula APR chart, see pages 53-55.
    • Upper Peninsula APR chart, see pages 58-59.

Disease Surveillance and Testing

Deer Stations: Disease Sample Submission Sites

Our new harvest reporting system should make it easier for you to understand if you are in a location where the DNR is looking for volunteers to submit their deer for testing. If you are in one of the disease surveillance zones, you will see a message on the harvest report confirmation page asking you to submit your deer head for testing, along with locations where you can submit your deer head or sample for testing. You can also find a list of disease sample submission sites here.

Check stations will be focused in places where we need to gather physical samples for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and chronic wasting disease (CWD). This allows us to maximize our use of staff resources for disease surveillance purposes. Harvested animals must be reported using the online harvest reporting system.

CWD Surveillance and Testing

Support from hunters and landowners in this year’s CWD surveillance counties is needed to inform the state’s CWD surveillance plan.  Early detection of the disease is an important part of the state’s management philosophy.

In August, a sick-acting, 4-year-old doe was reported in Somerset Township of Hillsdale County, just across the border from Jackson County. This deer tested positive for CWD, and Hillsdale County became the state’s 11th county where the disease has been detected, though, given the proximity to CWD-positive deer previously identified in Jackson County, the location is not surprising. The DNR will continue to conduct surveillance in Hillsdale County to help understand the extent of the disease.

Hunters who harvest a deer in one of the nine counties where CWD has previously been detected can submit deer heads for testing via a drop box or submit lymph nodes for testing to a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory for no charge. To get a free lymph node shipping kit, hunters can contact their local DNR office in Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, and Montcalm counties. More information on this testing program is available at Michigan.gov/CWD under “For Hunters.”

Testing in Isabella and Hillsdale counties, the state’s other two counties where CWD has been detected, is available to hunters at an area disease sample submission site.

Testing for a Fee

In the remainder of the state, if you want your deer heads tested for CWD, you may submit them to a participating USDA-approved lab at any time for testing. You will be charged a fee to have your deer heads tested. Visit Michigan.gov/CWD and click on “For Hunters” for more information about participating in USDA-approved lab testing.

Questions?

Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Get Ready for the 2022 Small Game Seasons in Michigan

Cottontail Rabbit, Snowshoe Hare Fox, and Squirrel

Cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, squirrel, fox, and gray squirrel (black phase included) hunting seasons are open statewide from Sept. 15 – March 31.

The daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 10.

 

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse season dates, statewide, are Sept. 15 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.

In zones 1 and 2, the daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 10.  In Zone 3, the daily bag limit is three, and the possession limit is six.

Woodcock

The woodcock season is Sept. 15 – Oct. 29 statewide. The daily bag limit is three, and the possession limit is nine.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR

All woodcock hunters must have a valid base license and a free woodcock stamp. The woodcock stamp includes registration with the federal Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). Shotguns must be plugged so they are capable of holding no more than three shells.

Pheasant

Pheasant (male only) seasons will begin in October. The daily bag limit is two, and the possession limit is four.

  • Zone 1:  Oct. 10-31 (see the Hunting Digest for Zone 1 pheasant management unit boundaries.).
  • Zones 2 and 3: Oct. 20 – Nov. 14.
Pheasant License

A $25 license is required for all hunters 18 years old and older to hunt pheasants on any public land in the Lower Peninsula or on lands enrolled in the Hunting Access Program.

You do not need a pheasant hunting license if you are:

  • A private-land pheasant hunter.
  • Hunting on public lands in the Upper Peninsula.
  • A lifetime license holder.
  • 17 years old or younger.
  • Only hunting pheasants at a game bird hunting preserve.
Pheasant Releases

There will be a pheasant release program for 2022. Details and locations on the pheasant release program will be available at Michigan.gov/SmallGame in the coming weeks. Release locations similar to last year are expected.

Bear Hunting Season Begins

For about 7,000 hunters, bear season will begin this month. Here’s what you need to know before heading into the field.

Photo Courtesy of Michigan DNR
Season Dates
Upper Peninsula

Season dates for Bergland, Baraga, Amasa, Carney, Gwinn, Newberry, and Drummond Island bear management units:

  • Hunt period 1: Sept. 7-Oct. 21.
  • Hunt period 2: Sept. 12-Oct. 26.
  • Hunt period 3: Sept. 25-Oct. 26.
Lower Peninsula

Season dates for Red Oak, Baldwin and Gladwin units are Sept. 11-19 and Oct. 7-13.

Bear Registration

Within 72 hours of harvesting a bear, the hunter must take the unfrozen bear head and pelt, or the entire animal, to a bear registration station to be registered and sealed.

Locations and contact information for bear registration stations can be found online or in the 2022 Michigan Black Bear Digest.

DNR Proposes Increase to Chinook Salmon Stocking in Lake Michigan

After decades of fish stocking decreases to balance the alewife and Chinook salmon populations, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeing good indicators that a modest stocking increase may be warranted in Lake Michigan.

To discuss this proposal and receive public feedback, the DNR will host a virtual meeting Monday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom

“We have seen several years of good Chinook salmon growth and have a slight increase in the alewife biomass or abundance of those fish,” said Jay Wesley, the DNR’s Lake Michigan basin coordinator. “Although the alewife biomass is a fraction of what it was historically we have a good 2021-year class and have seen up to six-year classes of alewives in our fisheries surveys – that means there are up to six different age groups in the current population of alewife.”

A “year class” refers to all of the fish of any species hatched, either through natural reproduction or through fish-rearing efforts, during that year’s spawning period.

Wesley said that a recently run predator-prey model also suggests that Lake Michigan has a good ratio of Chinook to alewife biomass, which is one of many indicators used to inform stocking decisions.

“The proposed 54% increase from 650,000 to 1 million spring fingerlings is a modest increase compared to the estimated 4.5 million wild Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan,” said Wesley. “It will allow us to increase numbers at sites like Charlevoix that contribute to the entire lake fishery and reinstate stocking sites like Ludington State Park and Fairport.”

Meeting Details 

Michigan Sea Grant will assist with the Zoom meeting:

  • Save the date: Monday, Sept. 19, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Passcode: 2022
  • Or join via telephone: 646-876-9923 or 301-715-8592
  • Webinar ID: 994 1124 7153
  • Questions? Contact Jay Wesley

Saginaw River Mouth Boating Access Site to Close This Fall for Improvement Project

For people who want to access the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay this fall, please keep in mind that the Saginaw River Mouth Boating Access Site in Bay County will temporarily close beginning Monday, Sept. 12, for a parking lot and boat ramp expansion project.

The work will include the addition of vehicle and trailer parking, vehicle-only parking, and a new skid pier with a lane on each side, as well as the repaving of the parking lot. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources anticipates the project will take roughly eight weeks, with the boating access site expected to reopen Saturday, Nov. 5.

During the closure, boaters are encouraged to use one of the following locations that also access the Saginaw River and/or Saginaw Bay:

  • Linwood Bay Marina, located at 135 S. Linwood Beach Road in Linwood (Bay County).
  • Independence Launch, located off Harry S. Truman Parkway in Bangor Township (Bay County).
  • Edward M. Golson Boat Launch, located at 1598 N. Johnson St. in Bay City (Bay County).
  • Quanicassee River Boating Access Site, located on Barney Drive off M-25 in Fairgrove (Tuscola County).

It’s recommended that anyone planning to visit the Saginaw River Mouth Boating Access Site first visit Michigan.gov/DNRClosures to view any changes to the anticipated reopening date. Additional information on closures and trail detours in DNR facilities, including state trails, boat access sites, state parks, and campgrounds, also is listed on this page.

For more information, contact Rich Fenner, Bay City State park manager, at 989-684-3020 or FennerR@Michigan.gov. Information on additional boating resources is available at Michigan.gov/Boating.

DNR Urges Waterfowl Hunters to Use Caution, Expects Fall Surge in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

With certain duck and goose hunting seasons starting Sept. 1 throughout the state, and others to follow this fall and winter, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources asks all hunters to be observant and careful when harvesting and handling wild birds, due to the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.

Although the rate of positive HPAI detections has slowed this summer, a recent uptick in reports of wild bird die-offs, neurologically abnormal wild birds, and HPAI detections has prompted the DNR to issue additional guidance. Influenza experts expect a resurgence of this “bird flu” as waterfowl migrations get underway and fall hunting seasons begin.

The H5N1 virus continues to be detected through wild bird surveillance activities and is considered widespread in wild bird populations throughout Michigan, including all watersheds in both the Upper and Lower peninsulas. Dabbling ducks are the most commonly infected waterfowl, but geese, swans, shorebirds, and other species also can be infected.

“Avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ is caused by viruses that infect both wild and domestic birds. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses can severely affect the health of domestic birds, wild birds, and sometimes, humans and other mammals,” said Megan Moriarty, the state wildlife veterinarian with the DNR.

“As Michigan waterfowl hunters get out in the fields and marshes this season, we want them to know there is a lot they can do both to help prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza and to keep themselves, others, and our bird and wildlife populations safe,” she said.

HPAI Origin, Observable Symptoms

In late 2021, a Eurasian strain of the HPAI virus was introduced into North America, and HPAI cases now have been confirmed in domestic birds, wild birds, and wild mammals throughout most of the United States and Canada. Michigan’s initial HPAI detection, in a wild bird, occurred March 15, 2022. Since then, our state has had approximately 150 positive detections in wild birds and mammals.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza is highly contagious, and poultry are especially vulnerable. The strain of HPAI now present in North America has caused extensive morbidity (illnesses) and mortality (death) events in a range of wild bird species. In particular, waterfowl, raptors, and avian scavengers such as vultures, gulls, and terns have been affected.

Making the situation more challenging, wild birds can be infected with HPAI and show no signs of illness. They can carry the disease to new areas when migrating, potentially exposing domestic poultry to the virus. Currently, the DNR does not anticipate any serious impact to Michigan’s waterfowl populations.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza primarily affects birds, but is also a zoonotic disease, or one that has the potential to pass from domestic or wild animals to humans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the public health risk associated with HPAI remains low, but advises people to avoid handling any sick or dead wild birds.

Safety Guidelines for Hunters
  • Harvest only waterfowl that act and look healthy. Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Field dress and prepare game outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game.
  • Remove and discard intestines soon after harvesting and avoid direct contact with the intestinal contents.
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or vape while handling carcasses.
  • When done handling game, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable), and clean knives, equipment, and surfaces that came in contact with game. Wash hands before and after handling any meat.
  • Keep waterfowl cool (either with ice or refrigeration), below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, until processed, and then refrigerate or freeze.
  • Thoroughly cook all game to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating it.
Help Prevent the Spread of HPAI
  • Immediately report wild bird deaths to your state wildlife management agency so that bird die-offs can be investigated and tested for avian influenza. In particular, die-offs involving six or more birds should be reported. Sick, dead or neurologically abnormal wild mammals also may be cause for concern, so please report those, too.
  • Prevent contact of domestic or captive birds with wild birds.
  • Do not handle sick or dead wildlife. If it is necessary to do so, use a shovel, wear impermeable gloves, wash hands with soap and water, and change clothing before having contact with domestic poultry or pet birds.

Moriarty encouraged the public to continue sharing wildlife observations, even though the DNR will be unable to respond to every person submitting a report.

“It just takes a few minutes, but each report about birds and animals that are sick or appear to have unexplained deaths, especially in clusters, is a tip that often can lead to valuable information about a wildlife community,” she said. “We appreciate every effort to share those observations. While every bird or animal will not necessarily be tested for HPAI, all such observations are important and contribute to our understanding of this outbreak.”

Other HPAI Resources