May Natural Resources Commission Meeting Recap

May NRC Recap

The deer hunting regulatory cycle began in earnest at the May Natural Resource Commission (NRC) meeting.

Chad Stewart, Michigan DNR deer and elk specialist laid out a number of proposed regulation changes which can be found in his presentation HERE. Wildlife Conservation Order #7 of 2023 lays out the proposals and associated regulatory language. 

MUCC also detailed the proposed changes in our May meeting preview

Commissioner John Walters also proposed regulation changes, while the final language may change, the proposals he put forth are listed here:

  • For ALL “Specialty Hunts” (Liberty, Independence, etc.) only antlerless deer shall be harvested.
  • Single Deer License – Hunter may harvest either an antlered or an antlerless deer.
  • Combo License – Hunter may harvest one antlered deer and one antlerless deer, or two Antlerless deer; but not two antlered deer. Once a combo license has been filled and recorded with the DNR, the hunter may purchase a single license to harvest either an antlered deer or an antlerless deer.
  • Lift baiting ban on Upper Peninsula. If CWD is detected in a whitetail deer, the baiting ban will go into effect by following the DNR – CWD Protocol.
  • ALL Opening Days will begin on a Saturday:
    • Specialty Hunts – Begin the last Saturday in September.
    • Bow Season – Begins on the first Saturday in October and ends on the Friday before firearm deer season
    • Firearm deer season begins on the third Saturday in November and ends on the first Sunday in December
    • Muzzleloader Season (LP) – Begins on the second Saturday in December for 10 days
    • Muzzleloader Season (UP) – Begins the Monday after firearm deer season for 7 days.
  • Add Antler Point Restrictions (4 points on one side or greater).
    • (LP) – all DMU’s areas where no diseases have been detected.
    • (LP) – all DMU’s where CWD and bTb have been detected
    • (UP) – DMU 055, 255, 155, 022 and 121
    • (UP) – All Upper Peninsula

Commissioners tabled Wildlife Conservation Order #5 of 2023 until the June meeting, still hammering out language changes with the DNR and commissioners and until NRC Chair Tom Baird returns.

Commissioner Walters offered an amendment to the dog tracking order to remove the testing and CPL requirements, specify the tracker must be 18 years of age, removal of the GPS requirement, and that barking dogs are prohibited on public lands during legal big game hunting hours. Commissioner Anthony offered a friendly amendment to strike the barking amendment, which was accepted by Commissioner Walters. 

DNR Director Shannon Lott indicated that she will be signing Wildlife Conservation Order #6 of 2023, which sets new regulations for individuals to trap nuisance wildlife at their homes. 

The Commissioner’s report became tearful as Commissioner Leslie Love announced her resignation from the NRC and announced her candidacy for United States Senate. 

Preceding the committee of the whole, fisheries committee saw a presentation by Dr. Seth Herbst, DNR Fisheries Division on Inland Walleye Management.

Following the fisheries committee, the wildlife committee will saw three presentations. 

The first was on Sportsmen Against Hunger. The second was a presentation on agent based modeling in CWD monitoring. Lastly, Dwayne Etter of DNR Wildlife Division will be presented the APR study report.

To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today:



  1. Phil Motylinski on May 12, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    Please keep firearm deer season opener on November 15

    • Ken Truman on May 15, 2023 at 4:59 pm

      If you make any change to the opening of gun season, make it the 2nd Saturday so us gun hunters can get more rutting buck action, instead of all the now hunters. I prefer you leave it at Nov 15th, and totally oppose the 3rd Saturday in Nov.

  2. Lee Schardt on May 12, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Please keep November 15th as opening day for the firearm deer. The rest sounds fine.

  3. Michael Hogan on May 15, 2023 at 7:29 am

    Is the December bow season still intact or been extended. Also I believe that apr will hurt the total harvest numbers which defeats the purpose of harvesting more deer in the state especially with declining hunter numbers.

  4. Kevin Kuzera on May 15, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    I support the change to Saturday opening of deer season.

  5. Jim Mervyn on May 15, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    I am steadfastly opposed to changing the dates of the bow and firearm deer season opening dates. Leave them as October 1 and November 15.

  6. Len Ellsworth on May 15, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    I like the opening of archery and firearm seasons to be left alone. It seems like every other year someone comes up with changing the dates for the non majority of the hunters. And don’t try and say “ let’s try it for 3 years and see what happens”! They did that with crossbows and that study lasted about 2-3 months. Also, why do they keep calling it a muzzleloading season when down in zone 3 it’s any legal hunting rifle/pistol? I wonder if with all the studies they do, hopefully, did it make it so their were more hunters in the field, more deer killed or whatever the reasoning behind that change.

  7. PATRICIA RAY MAY15TH 9PM on May 15, 2023 at 8:58 pm


  8. Ken Samyn on May 16, 2023 at 6:08 am

    Commissioner Walters has some great proposals in my opinion. Especially moving the opening days to Saturdays,hunters won’t have to takes as many days off work to Hunt and will be able to participate more freely. Not all hunters get paid vacation days and young Hunters wouldn’t have to take days off from their education opportunities. Their parents could spend some quality time in the woods with their young hunters without child care and financial issues etc. being a negative. We want to encourage Hunter recruitment and get hunters out in the Woods to enjoy all the Hunting experiences have to offer us.
    Traditions are a good thing for sure but circumstances change and we need to evolve and adapt to change as needed. All Hunting Harvest Statistics show how important that the chances for a successful Hunt are all about the first few days of the season! It’s time to allow more Hunters the opportunity to experience an opening day experience.

  9. Chad Waterstradt on May 17, 2023 at 9:29 am

    It makes no sense to try and get all deer hunters in Michigan in the woods the same day, leave opening day on November 15th. The woods are full enough when the opener falls on a weekday, it will be crazy to have everyone in the woods on the third Saturday not to mention how busy the roads will become.

  10. Jim Knight on May 31, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    Adamantly opposed to changing opening day for bow or gun seasons. Leave it alone!
    October 1st and
    November 15th

  11. John on May 31, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    Show me a hunter who’s never shot a buck with less than 4 points per side and hunts public land in the NLP ‐ and I’ll discuss APRs with him. The rest of you are just people who want to force what YOU think is a nice buck on everyone else.

    And what about the kids we’re trying to get interested in hunting? “No, Jimmy (or Jenny), you can’t shoot that 6 point like Grandpa and I did. A bunch of old trophy hunters want bigger bucks so they passed an APR law. Sorry. You’re going home with no buck. Maybe next year. Unless, of course, you decide to play video games instead of going deer hunting.”

    BTW Some of us have already bought our licenses. If you add restrictions can we get a refund?

  12. Gilbert on June 2, 2023 at 11:24 am

    Strongly support Saturday openers for deer hunting seasons. Much easier on people’s schedules and will hunter recruitment.

Leave a Comment