June NRC Preview

June 2024 NRC Preview

Deer regulations dominate the agenda at the June 13 Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.  

The meeting will be held at Lansing Community College West Campus, beginning at 9:30 a.m. 

The Deer Management Initiative’s (DMI) work is complete, and the first batch of regulatory proposals is on the agenda for the meeting.  

Throughout the DMI process the two groups, separated by peninsula, developed regulatory and non-regulatory proposals. This month’s wildlife conservation order (WCO) includes any proposal from the DMI process that the commission has the authority to act on immediately.  

The commission is under no obligation and made no promises to accept any proposal in its entirety. The WCO will still have to go through the normal commission process before action in July. Anything in the order is subject to amendment or removal by the commission.  

In addition to the normal process, the commission is holding a workgroup meeting on June 26 at Treetops Resort. The public is welcome to attend, but the meeting’s structure is still unannounced. Public comment at that meeting may be limited, or not included. MUCC will be streaming the workgroup on our Facebook page.  

Wildlife Conservation Order #6 of 2024 – Deer Regulations, contains the following proposals from Commissioners: 

  • Item 1: Reinstate Antler Point Restrictions (APR) on the Single Deer License in DMU 122 (Commissioner Anthony). This item does not appear in WCO language because it is addressed by the UP DMI.  
  • Item 2: Antlerless Harvest Only During Liberty and Independence Hunts (Commissioner Walters) 
  • Item 3: Use of Deer Combination License Prohibited in Certain Areas (Commissioner Walters). This proposal would eliminate the ability to use the combo tag north of M-134 from 1-75 to Detour, and North of US-2 from 1-75 to the Michigan/Wisconsin border.  

The proposals from the UP DMI are: 

  • Item 1: Year-round coyote season, as this was just taken up by the commission in March no WCO language is included.  
  • Item 2: Only Allow Antlerless Harvest During Early Archery Deer Season on the Single Deer License or Deer Combination License 
  • Item 3: Eliminate Antlerless Access Permits in DMUs 351 and 352 
  • Item 4: Deer Management Assistance Permits Only Available in Southern DMUs 
  • Item 5: Implement a 3-point APR on the Single Deer License 
  • Item 6: Antlerless Deer Bag Limits. Changes the maximum number of antlerless harvest from ten to five in DMUs 022, 122, 255, 055, 155, and 121. Other UP DMUs would not be open for antlerless harvest. 
  • Item 7: Bear Season Date Changes. No WCO language is included, the proposal will go to the Bear Forum later this year.  
  • Item 8: UP Wide Wolf Hunting and Trapping Season When Available. No WCO language is included as the federal protections on wolves still exist.  
  • Item 9: Revisit Regulations Every Three Years 
  • Item 10: Promote Hunters Safety in Schools. No WCO language is included, this is a legislative issue.  

The LP DMI proposals are: 

  • Item 1: Early and Late Antlerless Firearm Seasons Open to Public and Private Land 
  • Item 2: Reinstate Baiting in Counties Where Disease Has Not Been Detected 
  • Item 3: Implement APRs 
  • Item 4: One Antlered Deer Limit 
  • Item 5: Expand the urban archery deer season to include Huron, Kent, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair, Tuscola, and Washtenaw Counties.  
  • Item 6: Antlerless deer bag limits in the NLP. A bag limit of five antlerless deer per season per hunter is proposed to be applied to Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Otsego, Roscommon, and Wexford counties. 
  • Item 7: Use of Muzzleloaders Only During the Muzzleloader Season 
  • Item 8: Continue Mandatory Harvest Reporting 
  • Item 9: Pursue Earn-A-Second Buck. This proposal requires additional authorizing legislation and is not included in the WCO language.  
  • Item 10: Promote and Expand the Hunting Access Program. This proposal is not included in the WCO language.  
  • Item 11: Drone Harvest Recovery.  

One additional change is proposed, at the request of the National Park Service. 

  • Item 1: North Manitou Island DMU. This is an administrative change and will allow park staff to more effectively manage the island. 

MUCC was a part of the DMI process, representing our members’ grassroots positions on deer management in Michigan. MUCC is neutral on several deer management proposals, APRs for instance. An in-depth dive into MUCC’s positions will be posted next week. 

There is a separate WCO on the agenda, Wildlife Conservation Order # 6 of 2024. This order would create a voluntary use of electronic kill tags for the 2024 fall turkey season. 

This order is a pilot program to test the effectiveness of an electronic kill tag model for hunting seasons. The idea is to see how it works on the law enforcement side, as well as measure hunter satisfaction for a kill tag-less season.  

Also on the agenda is Land Use Order of the Director #4 of 2024 which regulates E-Bikes on certain state lands. The order proposes “that bicycle trails and pathways managed by the Parks and Recreation Division be open to class-1 electric bicycles, including natural surface mountain biking trails, and that Class-2 electric bicycles be authorized for use by an individual with a mobility disability on bicycle trails and pathways through the issuance of an annual use permit.” 

Before the committee of the whole the fisheries committee will see a presentation from Jay Wesley of the DNR on steelhead biodata results. 

MUCC will be streaming the meeting 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.  

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