Next Wednesday and Thursday, May 9 and 10, 2018, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will be meeting at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons (Kirkbride Hall), Traverse City.
Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the NRC Committee of the Whole will be participating in a chronic wasting disease (CWD) workshop. The public is invited to attend the workshop but will not have the opportunity to provide comments or input. The day will start off with a report from the Director, followed by presentations on deer and CWD management in Michigan, the CWD current state of science, a deer season summary, a summary on CWD customer and public awareness and input and finally what we can learn from other states. At 12:45 the NRC Committee will go over CWD management and regulations options and will recess for the day at 5:00 p.m.
On Thursday, the NRC Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will meet at 10:00 a.m. There will be a fisheries update on Arctic grayling and Michigan fishing tournaments. The Wildlife Division will give updates on squirrel season dates, furbearer regulations and open/closed DMU’s for the 2018 hunting season.
For 2018, the Department selected all of the issues that dealt with either bobcat regulations that impacted the Upper Peninsula (UP) or with marten and fisher regulations. Over the past few years, hound hunting organizations have advocated for a statewide one bobcat bag limit. Under current regulations, the season bag limit is two per resident; only one bobcat may be taken in Bobcat Management Units (BMU) C, D, E and F combined; and only one bobcat may be taken from BMU B. The Department is recommending reducing the season bag limit for bobcat from two to one, statewide. However, there are no recommended changes for nighttime bobcat hunting regulations, hunting bobcat from a treestand, cable restraints for bobcats and the bobcat season structure.
In 2011, the Department reduced bag limits for both marten and fisher due to concerns over population declines. Both populations were estimated using a new technique, giving the Department population estimates for the first time. Fisher populations showed significant declines and marten modest declines. Trapping organizations reluctantly accepted the changes although they did not feel the changes were necessary. Since that time trapping organizations have requested some level of increase in bag limits for these species, particularly marten. Biological information suggests fisher continue to decline while marten populations appear to be stable. The Department recommends an increase in the bag limit for martens by adding a marten only tag to the current one marten or one fisher tag. The Department is also recommending a reduction in season length from 15 days to nine days, with a start date on the first Friday in December. These combined changes provide more marten harvest opportunity while reducing the time for capture, minimizing increases in marten harvest and in incidental fisher harvest. The Department is not recommending any changes to the fisher hunting season and fisher season on Drummond Island.
Items that are up for action include the statewide trout, salmon, whitefish, lake herring and smelt regulations and the deer management assistance permit (DMAP) regulations. If you have concerns regarding the proposed DMAP regulations please call the NRC Commissioners, their contact information can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79763_79909_83509-26986–,00.html.
MUCC will be live streaming the meetings both days on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mucc1937/ and the full memorandum and agenda for the May 9 and 10, 2018, NRC meeting can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/May_Agenda-FINAL_4.26_621548_7.pdf. We hope to see you there!