DNR News: Facebook Live fish spawning, upland game bird hunting, fall composting

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest - Week of Oct. 7, 2019

colorful fall forest in Ontonagon County, Michigan

Get fall getaway ideas and peak color information on the Pure Michigan website!

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 in this bulletin, and additional images, are available in this folder.

Facebook Live: Join us Wednesday at Oden fish hatchery

Two DNR fisheries employees, a woman and a man, holding brown trout over a tank at Oden state fish hatchery

It’s the next best thing to being there! Check in with the Michigan DNR Facebook page starting around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, when fisheries staff at the Oden State Fish Hatchery will showcase the work done during the facility’s annual brown trout egg-take efforts. Viewers will get to see department fisheries staff spawn the fish and take fluid samples for fish-health testing and, possibly, what’s involved with egg rinsing and disinfection.

The hatchery, in the northern Lower Peninsula’s Emmet County, is crucial to the state’s stocking and management plans.

“We typically spawn 3 1/2 million brown trout eggs per year. Some of those will be the fish reared and stocked from the Oden and Harrietta state fish hatcheries, and some are future broodstock – the mature fish we use for breeding,” said Elyse Walter, a communications specialist with the DNR Fisheries Division, who will participate in the Facebook Live from Oden.

The Oden hatchery and the Wexford County-based Harrietta hatchery together stock more than a million brown trout per year, with just over half of those coming from Oden. These fish will be stocked in the Great Lakes and inland waters.

Questions? Watch Wednesday, or contact Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839, for more information about the state’s fish hatcheries and production.

Natural Resources Commission to meet Thursday in Lansing

Spring turkeys walking through the Michigan woods

Spring turkey regulations, several land transactions, lifesaving awards and statewide fishing regulations for trout, salmon, whitefish and several other species are just some of the agenda items for the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission Thursday, Oct. 10, at the west campus of Lansing Community College, 5708 Cornerstone Drive. All sessions will take place in conference rooms M119-120.

Scheduled committee meetings include:

  • 8:30 a.m., Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries.
  • 9:30 a.m., Committee of the Whole. (Note: This committee meeting will break for lunch around 11:30 a.m. and reconvene at 12:30 p.m.)

See the meeting's full draft agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC. For more information or to request time to speak at the meeting, contact Cheryl Nelson, 517-284-6237.

When it comes to falling leaves, consider composting

A composting bin, built from wood pallets, filled with and surrounded by dried, fallen leaves.

One of Michigan’s best autumn activities is catching the yellows, reds and bronzes of aspen, beech, maple and oak trees as they prepare for winter. Once that brilliant color show is over, many homeowners turn to raking leaves.

To dispose of leaves, some people burn them. Cities and townships often prohibit this, though. Debris burning is recognized as Michigan’s No. 1 cause of wildfires. In 2018, DNR wildland firefighters responded to more than 300 fires, and nearly 100 of those were caused by debris burning. City and township fire departments were called to suppress out-of-control debris fires at the local level, too.

“Debris fires started with leaves, grass clippings and other light materials are difficult to manage and can be spread by wind,” said Dan Laux, state fire supervisor with the DNR. “Fires can quickly grow out of control and threaten homes and forest lands.”

An easier and safer solution? Composting, which involves scooping leaves into a pile or containing them in a bin and letting them naturally decompose. Veggie scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells also can be added, cutting down on kitchen waste; just don’t add items like meat scraps that can smell bad and attract pests.

“Composting is an easy way to take care of fall leaves and has the added benefit of cutting down on smoke and airborne particles that can aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions,” said Jenifer Dixon, an air quality specialist at the state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Composting also provides rich garden and landscape fertilizer. Bins can be bought or built from low-cost materials, like repurposed pallets. This handy infographic from PBS Nature gives more tips on composting.

If a composting bin isn’t ideal, use a lawn mower to shred leaves and compost them in place to fertilize the grass. Shredded leaves also could be used to mulch perennial beds or get tilled into garden soil.

Those choosing to burn leaves should visit Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or check local regulations to see if a permit is needed. Check the daily fire danger rating and always remember to keep a shovel nearby, have a ready water source and never leave a fire unattended.

Questions? Contact Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist, 517-284-5872.

Plenty of October options for hunting upland game birds

close-up view of a woodcock in the Michigan forest

Michigan is rich with opportunities to hunt a variety of upland game birds this month, with several seasons already open and other openers on the way.

Currently open are ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting. Ruffed grouse season runs through Nov. 14 and then reopens Dec. 1-Jan. 1, while woodcock season is open through Nov. 4.

Other key seasons include:

  • Zone 1 (Upper Peninsula) pheasant hunting is open Oct. 10-31 in all of Menominee County and portions of Delta, Dickinson, Iron and Marquette counties.
  • Pheasant hunting in zones 2 and 3 (Lower Peninsula) runs Oct. 20-Nov. 14.
  • Sharp-tailed grouse hunting is open Oct. 10-31 in the eastern portions of Chippewa and Mackinac counties.

Upland game bird hunters will need a Michigan base license. Additionally, anyone hunting pheasant or sharp-tailed grouse will need a free pheasant/sharp-tailed grouse endorsement on their hunting license, except for those hunting pheasant only on hunting preserves. Woodcock hunters need a free woodcock stamp, which includes the federal HIP endorsement.

Base hunting licenses and free stamps and endorsements can be purchased online or anywhere licenses are sold.

Bag limits, season dates and information about game bird hunting is available in the 2019 Hunting Digest or at Michigan.gov/Hunting in the small game section.

Those interested in hearing more about upland game bird opportunities are invited to listen to the October episode of the DNR’s Wildtalk Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or online at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

Looking for a place that offers premier bird hunting? Check out Michigan’s grouse enhanced management sites. These GEMS include walking trails, parking lots and information kiosks. Learn more at Michigan.gov/GEMS. Explore additional tools for finding public hunting lands at Michigan.gov/MiHUNT.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453.


Head to Yankee Springs Recreation Area Friday, Oct. 11, for the next Centennial Campfire Storytelling event! Friday also is the kickoff of the Yankee Springs Fall Harvest Festival, running all weekend long (for campers only).


Off-road fans, if you're unsure about when you need an ORV license or where you need an ORV trail permit, visit Michigan.gov/ORVInfo for the latest on where to ride and how to be certain you are riding safely and legally. 


See what's happening with the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3742), important federal legislation enjoying strong bipartisan support. It could mean $27 million a year for wildlife conservation in Michigan!

Was this email useful?

thumbs upthumbs down