DNR News: Reporting tagged fish, baiting and feeding ban, Wetland Wonders Challenge

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News Digest - Week of Nov. 18, 2019

black lab in camo sitting in a duck blind on the water

Waterfowl hunting seasons are open throughout the state; check the digest for species and date information.

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.

Baiting and feeding ban remains firmly in effect

White-tailed buck and does in a grassy, autumn field

DNR offices around the state continue to field questions from people confused about the status of the baiting and feeding ban for deer and elk in the Lower Peninsula and the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR wants to let all hunters know that the ban has not changed and remains fully in effect.

Bills to lift the ban have been approved in the Michigan Legislature, but nothing has been sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer or signed into law. The governor has promised to veto the legislation should it come to her desk.

This is important information, given that Michigan's firearm deer season started Friday. The DNR will notify the public of any significant changes to deer regulations that might occur. 

For more information watch this brief video explaining the baiting and feeding ban, visit Michigan.gov/Deer or contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Caught a marked or tagged fish? Report it to the DNR

Two fish, one laid out against a ruler, one in a gloved hand, being tagged for research purposes

Have you ever been fishing Michigan waters and pulled in a fish with a missing fin or one with an external tag on it? Several fish species found around the state are marked in some way, and the details on the fish and the tags are important to several DNR studies and management efforts.

Such species include Chinook and Atlantic salmon, steelhead, walleye, lake sturgeon and brown and lake trout. A fish may have an external mark, such as a fin clip, or the mark could be internal and not visible to the naked eye. Many fish with internal tags also will have a clipped fin. For instance, a fish with an implanted coded-wire tag in its snout would be missing its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin found to the rear of a fish’s dorsal, or top, fin).

Anglers may come across several different fish tags, including:

  • Telemetry or temperature/depth-recording tags, some of which would be discovered only when cleaning a fish for consumption (although some external tags are visible).
  • Anchor tags, which often are inserted near the base of a fin.
  • Jaw tags, which hook onto a fish’s upper or lower jaw.

Tags can be reported through the tagged fish form, available on the DNR’s Eyes in the Field observation reporting system. The form asks for contact information; catch location, fish and tag details; and (if available) photos.

Anglers who catch and keep fish with large internal or external tags (about the size of a finger in some cases) are urged to return the tags to the nearest DNR office. The tags often can be reused, and some tags also offer small monetary rewards. In most cases, an angler will receive a detailed report about the fish the tag came from. For tagged fish intended for release, please don’t remove tags; just report the tag information.

Marking and tagging fish help the DNR understand their growth, mortality, exploitation and movement, as well as the value of naturally reproduced versus stocked fish. Learn more about these efforts at Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.

Questions? Contact Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839.

Still time to enter the Wetland Wonders Challenge

view from behind as a youth duck hunter in camo takes aim at the sky, surrounded by water and wetland grasses

By visiting just three of the state’s official Wetland Wonders Challenge sites, hunters can put themselves in the running to win a prize package that includes:

  • A $500 gift card for duck hunting gear.
  • A Zink custom duck call.
  • A YETI water bottle.
  • A "golden ticket" good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area drawing (non-reserved) for the 2020-21 waterfowl season.

It’s all part of the annual Wetland Wonders Challenge – offered by the DNR in partnership with Consumers Energy and Michigan United Conservation Clubs – that encourages people to explore and hunt some of the finest waterfowl hunting areas in the state.

To enter the contest, visit three of the official Wetland Wonders Challenge sites and fill out the punch card. Hunters who visit four or more sites will receive a bonus entry for each additional site visited, giving them more chances to win. Wetland Wonders sites can be visited through Feb. 10, 2020.

Seven grand-prize winners each will receive the prize package.

Get full challenge entry instructions and more information about these premier waterfowl hunting areas at Michigan.gov/WetlandWonders. Use the Wetland Wonders locator to find managed waterfowl hunt areas to explore.

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


There's snow on the ground just about everywhere in Michigan; it must be time to ride! Check the DNR's snowmobiling webpage for interactive trail maps, safety tips, permit information, trail reports, closures and more.


If you or someone you know has dreamed of becoming a conservation officer, we are accepting applications for the July 2020 academy. Eligibility guidelines and other details are available on the DNR's conservation officer webpage.


Love the outdoors and camping? The DNR is recruiting for volunteer campground hosts in Michigan state parks and some rustic forest campgrounds. In exchange, camping fees are waived. It's a great way to give back!

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