The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is proposing a number of regulation changes to bear hunting in Michigan at the February Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with a wildlife committee meeting at Lansing Community College.
The DNR is proposing a number of regulation changes this cycle, as well as quota changes to most of the Bear Management Units (BMU) in the state.
Wildlife Conservation Order 2 of 2023 proposes the following changes:
- Prohibiting field points from being used in a bow and arrow.
- Restricting firearm caliber use to exclude rimfire ammunition.
- Clarifying wood use at bait sites to prohibit the use of manufactured wood products.
- Prohibition of “stupefying substances” in bear bait. Currently, poisons and anti-coagulants are banned, this proposal would also ban substances like melatonin that make bears sleepy or groggy.
- Implementation of wanton waste.
- Changing season structure to address conflict between bear hunters. This would shift bait hunting forward one day, and add one additional day on the end of the season to dog-only hunting.
- Change the definition of a bear cub to bear less than 42 inches in length.
- Allow the use of dogs to fill a bear damage permit.
- Allow nighttime shooting under a bear damage permit.
- Prohibit manufactured openings in bear bait barrels on private land greater than one inch and less than 22 inches.
- The proposal would set restrictions on bear baiting in areas where deer baiting is banned.
- A technical change adding section 2.0 of the Wildlife Conservation Order to allow ground blind placement 31 days before the season.
In addition to the regulatory proposals, the department is also recommending the following quota changes in specific BMUs:
- Red Oak: Decreasing 85 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 685.
- Gladwin: Decreasing 20 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 100.
- Baldwin: Increasing 55 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 395.
- Amasa: No change from 2022, the quota remains 500.
- Bargara: Decreasing 5 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 1,540.
- Bergland: Decreasing 130 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 920.
- Carney: No change from 2022, the quota remains 550.
- Gwinn: Decreasing 65 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 885.
- Newberry: Decreasing 165 licenses from 2022, bringing the quota to 1,005.
- Drummond Island: No change from 2022, the quota remains 6.
These proposals will be in front of commissioners this month for information. The earliest action could be taken is at the March meeting in Bellaire.
Up for information for DNR director action is Wildlife Conservation Order 3 of 2023, Use of Electronic Trap Monitors by Wildlife Damage and Nuisance Animal Control Business. This order is continuing a regulation about to sunset allowing nuisance control businesses to monitor traps by electronic means so long as they meet a list of criteria.
The NRC has no items up for action this month.
The director has a pair of action items: Land Use Order of the Director Amendment No. 1 of 2023. This order would approve the proposed forest road inventory changes. The second item is the approval of the State Land Review Group 6. This land review is proposing keeping almost 2,500 acres, exchanging 410.6 acres, and disposing of 305.3 acres.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) affiliate the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association is providing commissioners with a Michigan trapping overview during the wildlife committee.
MUCC will be streaming the meeting on our Facebook page as technology allows.
To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC.