Deer regulations dominate the agenda at the June Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting in Roscommon later this week.
The June 8 meeting is at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center at 104 Conservation Drive in Roscommon. Coffee with commissioners begins at 8 a.m., the fisheries committee at 9 a.m. and the whole committee at 9:30 am.
There are two wildlife conservation orders up for commissioner action and no new orders for information.
The first is Wildlife Conservation Order #5 of 2023 which deals with tracking legally shot game with dogs. The order was tabled at the April and May meetings. The order now includes language allowing for off-lead tracking without the use of GPS, removes the concealed pistol license requirement and removes the prohibition of dogs barking on public land.
The new language requires trackers to receive a biannual permit from the DNR to meet the qualifications to track off-lead. The tracker also is required to be able to demonstrate knowledge of the dogs location and some form of control of the dog, which includes the use of voice commands.
MUCC supports the use of off-lead tracking by qualified trackers. While this order is a step in the right direction per our grassroots policy, we would support a training requirement for dog and tracker and the CPL requirement.
The second order up for commissioner action is Wildlife Conservation Order #7 of 2023. It represents the DNR recommendations for deer regulation changes. These changes include:
The order proposes allowing Liberty Hunt participants to harvest one deer per valid tag, but only one can be antlered.
The order also proposes significant changes in the Upper Peninsula:
- Antlerless option during archery deer season on deer license and deer combination license.
- Allowing crossbows during late archery season across the entire UP.
- Remove the core CWD surveillance area and associated regulations.
The only Lower Peninsula change proposed is to resume the four-plus point APR on the restricted tag in the CWD management zone.
The department is also proposing a number of administrative changes:
- Changing deer harvest reporting to 72 hours after harvest or before transferring possession of the deer, whichever comes first.
- Requiring the reporting of deer shot under deer management assistance permits, deer damage shooting permits and disease control permits.
There are 11 commissioner amendments, but as of the time of writing, the proposed language was not available. A number of them are amendments proposed by Commissioner John Walters at the May meeting. A full breakdown of those proposals can be found in our May Recap.
For the director this month is the State Land Review Recommendations for group seven, which includes: Cheboygan, Crawford, Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Muskegon, Osceola, Otsego, and Ottawa counties.
There are four land transactions on the agenda for acting DNR Director Shannon Lott. MUCC reviews all transactions exceeding 80 acres, of which there are two. Land Transaction Case #20230025 is an acquisition of 140 acres of private land. Land Transaction Case #20230062 is a gift of 80 acres of private land.
The director also has for action a May 2, 2023 Oil and Gas Lease Auction Results.
Up for information for the director is a trio of land use orders. Land Use Order of the Director #2 of 2023 prohibits target shooting at the Cornish State Game Area, Dr. Gordon Guyer Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area, and Three Rivers State Game Area.
Land Use Order of the Director #3 of 2023 proposes a series of changes to parks and recreation division lands.
- The Board of Geographic Names voted to replace a number of offensive site names with new names identified by the board. The names can be found in Orders 2.105(aa), 2.106(w), 2.108(v) and 5.19(t)(v).
- Prohibition of generator use on a department campground during quiet hours, 10 pm-8 am.
- Changes to what makes a camping permit valid. The proposed language would state that a camping permit is not valid “until both of the following occur: 1) the camp fee is paid and 2) the camp is established pursuant to administrative rule 299.921(a).”
- Opens up a boat access site at within the Muskegon State Park and Bolles Harbor Boating Access site for legitimate fishing activities 24 hours a day.
- Allow for access to the Muskallonge Lake State Park during overnight hours to search for Yooperlite in accordance with Administrative Rule 299.922(hh).
- Administrative language clean-up including references to statutory changes.
Land Use Order of the Director #4 of 2023 makes the Belle Isle alcohol prohibition consistent with other Parks and Recreation Division facilities.
The committee of the whole saw presentations from DNR Deer and Elk Specialist Chad Stewart on moose survey results and presentations on each land use order of the director.
The Fisheries committee received an update on upcoming fisheries orders from Dr. Seth Herbst, DNR Fisheries Division.
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.