Last week, on April 12, 2018, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) took action on two different wildlife conservation orders (WCO) that were up for information at the March 15 NRC meeting.
Those two orders included elk regulations for WCO Amendment No. 4 of 2018 and Public Act 03 of 2018; the introduction of a new 3-day nonresident small game license with waterfowl license issuing rights; and Public Act 04 of 2018 allowing mentored youth hunters to purchase additional licenses for WCO No. 5 of 2018.
Additionally, for information only, the Department of Natural Resources gave an update on deer management assistance permit (DMAP) regulations. The pilot study initially ran from 2014-2017 and addressed concerns in the northwest part of the state. Applicants who qualified were allowed to use firearms with DMAPs during all of archery season except for October 1-4 and November 10-14 in the five-county pilot area, while the remainder of the state was only allowed use firearms from October 1-14 through the DMAP. The study allowed for harvest of one antlered deer per permittee per year on a DMAP, while the remainder of the state prohibited the taking of antlered deer.
In 2017, they proposed adopting the pilot program statewide, and the workgroup that had originally met to develop the pilot study wanted to have more discussion so the NRC extended the pilot program area for one more year. The workgroup agreed on the following proposal: to expand the pilot regulations statewide, with modifications that included allowing the take of one antlered deer per permittee, except in an APR area where up to three antlered deer may be taken per permittee. The head and antlers must be submitted within 72 hours of harvest. Additionally, a DMAP report is to be due on January 15. The workgroup also wanted to clarify applicability to adjacent lands. However, the workgroup did not come to a consensus on when a firearm can be used during the archery season. The proposal recommends a firearm exception may be granted during the archery season except a quiet period must be observed October 27 through November 9 and the withstanding quiet period of Nov. 10-14.
The meeting also included updates on the statewide trout, salmon, whitefish, lake herring and smelt regulations, as well as an update on the inland trout management plan.
The next meeting of the NRC is scheduled for May 10 at Kirkland Hall in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.