by Lia Biondo, MUCC Policy Intern
With a fresh bow season underway and the regular firearms season starting shortly, hunters will soon be heading out to the forests in hopes of a successful 2014 deer season. Some of you will be taking to the trees in order to get a better field of vision, and therefore, a better chance of spotting that buck or doe.
Using a raised platform or tree stand on public land is legal, so long as the tree stand or raised platform is portable and has the owner’s name and address written or inscribed somewhere on it in legible English. The name and address of the owner must be visible from the ground, and putting your name and address on a raised platform or tree stand erected on public lands does not guarantee your exclusive use of it.
Additionally, a tree stand or raised platform cannot be attached to the tree with anything that may penetrate through the tree’s bark. This includes nails, screws, or bolts, however a “T” bolt or similar provided by the tree stand’s manufacturer may be used to secure it to the tree. Screw-in steps are illegal to construct on public hunting ground. However, scaffolds, ladders or other platforms used to assist the hunter into the tree stand may be placed on public lands no sooner than September 1 and must be removed no later than March 1. Remember, it is still illegal to use a tree stand or raised platform that does not follow these regulations, even if the tree stand or raised platform does not belong to you.
One of the most common hunting injuries occurs when hunters fail to use the proper safety measures and precautions associated with hunting from a raised platform. In a statement put out by the DNR last week, the department reminded us that at least one hunter is killed or seriously injured each year by falling out of a tree stand.
Remember to review all safety precautions issued by the manufacturer on your tree stand or raised platform, always wear a full-body safety harness and use a haul line to transfer your equipment from the ground into your stand. Choose your tree wisely – making sure that it is a strong, sturdy tree capable of holding your weight and the weight of the raised platform. Check the tree for animal and insect nests, and clear debris from underneath the tree to lessen the risk of harm in the case of an accidental fall. And as always, tell a friend where you are going to be hunting and when you plan on returning!
This past summer at the 2014 MUCC Annual Convention, members worked on crafting conservation policy changes that they would like to see in the upcoming year. One of these resolutions was the expansion of hunting opportunities from a raised platform or tree stand. Currently, the taking of game from a raised platform is legal for all bow and crossbow hunters, all bear, deer and elk hunters when using a firearm, and all fox and coyote hunters. Our members proposed that we work to add small game, bobcats, woodchuck and turkeys into the list of species that are able to be legally hunted from a tree stand or raised platform.
The original proposal, brought to us by individual member Millard Holton of District 6, highlights the benefits and support for expanding the list of species able to be taken from a raised platform. The resolution was voted on by MUCC members and is now part of the policy priorities MUCC staff will work to implement with the Natural Resources Commission.
To access the Michigan DNR’s 2014 Hunting and Trapping digest and learn more about these rules and regulations as you take to the field this fall, click HERE.
To find out more about the policy making process at MUCC and the difference that individual members can make in the shaping of conservation legislation in Michigan, click HERE.
MUCC and its members are an integral part of Michigan’s conservation community and look forward to working towards expanding Michigan’s recreational opportunities. Happy hunting!