DNR News: Boater trends survey, archery deer season opener, waterfowl habitat help

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News Digest - Week of Sept. 30, 2019

Boat at boating access site

Share your feedback about Michigan boating in our boater trends survey, available through Oct. 7.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

Don’t miss out on boater trends survey, open through Oct. 7

A visitor getting into a kayak on the accessible canoe and kayak launch on Lake Cadillac at William Mitchell State Park

Whether you own a boat, rent a boat, or just love to boat in your community and around the state, the DNR and the Michigan Waterways Commission want to hear from you. They have created a boater trends survey, available online through Monday, Oct. 7, to better understand why people boat, where they boat, how often they plan to boat, and a number of other topics that can help guide future planning, design and funding for quality public recreational boating facilities.

“So much goes into the planning and development of public boating facilities in Michigan, whether you’re considering access sites, marinas and harbors, or locks and dams – all of which contain infrastructure that supports a variety of water trail systems, too,” said Jordan Byelich, the DNR’s waterways development program manager.

“It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of what inspires people to boat, as well as the ‘extras’ – adequate parking at the facility and nearby restrooms, for example – not to mention the symbiotic relationships with local communities. All of that adds to a positive boating experience,” Byelich said. “Plus, Michigan’s boaters are the best people to ask about the types of enhancements they want to see at public boating facilities. This survey is one easy way to gather vital feedback.”

The survey, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete, asks questions like:

  • How far do you drive to get to a boating access site?
  • What are your primary reasons for boating?
  • What is the single-most important improvement that could be made to state-managed or municipal boating access sites?
  • How often do you spend the night on your boat?

The survey also offers the opportunity for people to rate, by order of importance, a variety of marina and harbor features, including staff/hospitality, restrooms, fuel, picnic/play areas and power on the docks.

Questions? Contact Jordan Byelich, 517-284-6087.

Archery deer season begins tomorrow

white-tailed buck in Michigan woods

The days are growing shorter, the air is feeling crisp … it’s time for hunters to head into Michigan’s autumn woods for archery deer season, starting up around the state Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Before pulling back that first arrow, hunters are reminded to check the 2019 Hunting Digest for the latest deer regulations for their area.

Some important changes this year:

  • Baiting and feeding of deer and elk are banned in the entire Lower Peninsula, as well as the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula.
  • There are new antler point restrictions in some areas of the state – particularly Ionia, Mecosta and Montcalm counties. Check the APR charts in the hunting digest before heading out with your deer or deer combo tag.

The 40% discounted private-land antlerless deer license is a great option for taking an antlerless deer in the CWD management zone during the archery season. This discounted license expires Nov. 3.

Deer, deer combo and antlerless deer licenses can be purchased online or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Anyone purchasing deer licenses online can expect their kill tags to arrive in the mail within seven to 10 business days.

Successful hunters in Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle and Roscommon counties are encouraged to take their deer to a DNR check station for bovine tuberculosis testing. Find the nearest DNR deer check station or self-service drop box at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.

Questions? Visit Michigan.gov/Deer or contact the DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453.

Hunters: Remember to 'clean, drain and dry' to protect waterfowl habitat

A close-up view of European frogbit, an aquatic invasive plant that looks like miniature water lilies, in someone's hand

With the recent discovery of invasive European frogbit in the Lower Grand River and Pentwater Lake in southwest Michigan, the DNR is asking waterfowl hunters across the region and the rest of the state to take extra precautions to prevent the spread of any invasive aquatic plants. Many waterfowl seasons are underway or soon will start.

European frogbit, a floating aquatic plant that looks like miniature water lilies, tends to grow in slow-moving waters – just the kind of places where ducks and geese tend to gather. The plant creates thick mats of vegetation that can hamper the movement of diving ducks and reduce the availability of snails, mollusks and other food sources.

Plants can get caught in boat motors and gear, too, making it harder to navigate prime hunting areas.

European frogbit is widespread along the coastal areas of lakes Erie and Huron up to the eastern Upper Peninsula and has been found in inland lakes and ponds in southeast Michigan. Infestations can spread to new bodies of water when plant fragments or small, seed-like “turions” attach to boats, trailers, gear and even dogs. (A turion is a bud or small shoot that detaches from an aquatic plant but is capable of forming a new plant.)

A man and a young boy dressed in hunting gear, standing up in a boat and setting out waterfowl decoys

In order to protect Michigan’s waterfowl habitat, hunters are asked to take the following precautions:

  • CLEAN equipment (including waders, decoys, anchors, boats and trailers) thoroughly between trips to keep from transporting undesirable plant fragments, seeds or organisms from one site to another.
  • DRAIN all water from boats, trailers and equipment.
  • DRY boats, gear and equipment for five days (if possible) before transporting to another body of water.
  • Inspect all gear and equipment including anchors, decoys and lines, blinds, waders and clothing, before and after use. Remove any plants, debris or soils.
  • Remember that new Michigan boating laws took effect March 21, 2019, requiring boaters to pull plugs, drain water and remove plants and debris from boats and trailers before getting on the road.

Learn more about European frogbit and other invasive species at Michigan.gov/Invasives.

Questions? Contact Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814.


Spooky specters and waiting werewolves are ready to greet you at Fort Fright Oct. 4-5 at Colonial Michilimackinac, a family-fun evening for all ages! 


Do you love our state's people and stories? Consider becoming a member of the Michigan History Center and enjoy the connections, the benefits and the fun.


Did you know Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger helps provide more than 100,000 meals a year to needy families? You can donate venison or financial support.

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