Photo - Dave Ehrig  Photo – Dave Ehrig
Guest blog by MUCC Policy Intern Nicholas Bade-Dodge 
Hunters, Michigan’s muzzleloading deer season is upon us! In preparation for the beginning of the season, we at MUCC would like to remind you of changes in starting dates that are taking effect this year.
Only about 25 percent of Michigan deer hunters choose to brave the cold and snow of December’s muzzleloading season. Most recently, the opening dates for the Upper Peninsula and Southern Lower Peninsula zones were before the opening date for the Northern Lower Peninsula. This was done to prevent snow accumulation from hindering hunting access or leading deer populations already concentrated in wintering areas to be overly vulnerable to muzzleloader harvest.
After the harsh winter last year, changes were approved this summer by the Natural Resources Commission to begin muzzleloading deer season a week earlier in the Northern Lower Peninsula, which coincides with the muzzleloading opening date for the rest of Michigan. Therefore, the statewide opening date for muzzle loading in all zones is now the first Friday of December. The Southern Lower Zone 3 will continue to be open for 17 days (through Sunday 12/21/2014), while the Northern Lower and U.P. will close after 10 days (through Sunday, 12/14/2014).
MUCC supported this move as it makes for consistent season dates across the state, however a 2014 Policy Resolution approved at MUCC’s 2014 Annual Convention (after the NRC decision was made) indicated a preference to move to a consistent date rather than day of the week. MUCC members supported a December 1 start date throughout the state, which we will be advocating for during the next deer hunting regulation update in 2017.
This simplified statewide opening date means that this Friday (12/5) is the beginning of muzzle loading season throughout the state. So, good luck out there this weekend muzzleloaders!

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