Michigan firearm deer hunting starts Thursday
As Michigan's regular firearm deer hunting season begins with updated regulations, hunters are urged to remember not to eat deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township.
State officials have issued an advisory about the deer around the marsh because a deer taken in the area had a dangerous chemical in it.
Michigan's regular deer hunting with firearms season starts Thursday and ends Nov. 30.
The chemical, PFOS, is used in fire-fighting foam, which was used at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base and other sites in Michigan. State officials consider 300 parts per billion of the chemical in meat or fish dangerous and testing found 547 parts per billion in a deer.
Consuming meat containing the chemical for long periods of time can increase the risks of cancer, thyroid illnesses and infertility.
Gavin Schmitz of Hesperia in west Michigan is a fan of the new regulations, which allow hunters to harvest up to 10 deer. Schmitz has been hunting since age 12, said with the new rules, he made a small food plot instead of resorting to bait.
"I’ve noticed a decrease in does this season, whether it’s from allowing hunters 10 private-land tags, I can’t say, but I do think it does play a role in it," Schmitz said. "With firearm season starting tomorrow, I am pretty worried that there is going to be a lot of deer harvested that is going to impact next year because people are allowed so many tags."
Farmer and hunter Raymond Simpkins of Sand Creek in Lenawee County said chronic wasting disease in deer is a concern, but that won't stop him from eating deer he harvests.
"I am not afraid to eat the deer I harvest, but I may turn in heads for testing," he said.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges hunters in CWD areas to get their deer tested. Locations for testing can be found at mi.gov/deercheck.
The new deer hunting regulations in effect this season are designed by the MDNR to slow the spread of chronic deer wasting disease.
Key rule changes include:
- A statewide ban on all natural cervid urine-based lures and attractants.
- A ban on baiting and feeding in Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.
- A ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula, effective Jan. 31, 2019.
On Wednesday, the Michigan State Police issued some safety tips for hunters.
- Always let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages or any mind-altering drugs before or during hunting.
- Always wear a hunter orange hat, cap, vest or jacket.
- Carry a cellphone with you and make sure it's fully charged. Cellphones emit a signal that can help rescuers find you if you get lost.
- Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
- Don’t run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you climb a fence or tree or jump a ditch.
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not the muzzle.
- Be certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing.
- Know the identifying features of the game you hunt.
- Make sure you have an adequate backstop – don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.