Many of Michigan’s 600-thousand deer hunters will be headed out for firearms season starting November 15th. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer’ Dave Painter says a serious disease called Chronic Wasting Disease, which kills deer, is forcing wildlife managers to impose restrictions in certain areas.
“One of those is Mecosta and Montcalm Counties, part of each of those counties. And the other one is part of Clinton, Ionia, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee Counties. Those two deer management units, it is mandatory to get them checked. And we do have deer check stations, I think we have 5 or 6 in each of those units where hunters can get their deer checked”
Painter says any hunters going out of state are required to take significant steps before bringing deer back into Michigan. Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological condition that causes malnutrition and eventually kills the deer.
Natural Resources officials say another goal this season is to lower the number of people injured in firearms accidents during the 15-day season. Painter says there were too many people injured last year.
“Last year we had 12 firearm related incidents. We would like to see that get to zero. So the things we talk about are treat every firearm as though it is loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire and leave the safety on until you are ready to fire and always point the muzzle in a safe direction”
Painter says those simple steps, plus looking beyond the target before shooting, could help prevent accidents. He says even people who don’t hunt should keep an eye out during the season, especially on the roads
“Deer are breeding this time of year so that’s got them up and moving and then we have between 6 or 700,000 going into the woods also gets the deer up and moving, so motorists need to be aware and maybe slow down a little bit this time of year”
Firearm Season for deer opens on November 15th and runs through November 30th.