DNR News: DNR V-Day cards, #FreeFishingWeekend, coyote tips

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News Digest - Week of Feb. 8, 2021


Spend some time on the ice with your valentine over Free Fishing Weekend.

Some of this week's stories may reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customers' needs and protect public health and safety. We will continue to share news and information about the best ways to enjoy our state's natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on access to facilities and programs. For public health guidelines and news, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the 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.

Enjoy #MiFreeFishingWeekend Feb. 13-14


Winter weather is the perfect opportunity to cuddle up with your loved ones, but you don’t have to stay inside to have an awesome Valentine’s Day weekend! Take your valentine fishing during Free Fishing Weekend, Feb. 13-14. 

Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy world-class fishing – without a fishing license – on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species. Just keep in mind that all fishing regulations still apply. 

The Recreation Passport fee for vehicle entry into state parks and boating access sites also is waived during this weekend.

This time of year brings more anglers out on the frozen waters to fish because, unlike warmer months, it's easier to get just about anywhere on a lake during ice fishing season without a boat. Regardless of the season, you should always make safety a priority. Whether you’re a beginner or an avid angler, review ice fishing safety tips at Michigan.gov/IceSafety

Before you head out on the water, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing for fishing tips, regulation information and the weekly fishing report. New to ice fishing? Check out our how-to videos, which cover ice fishing basics, demonstrations on how to drill a hole in the ice and suggested gear and equipment.

Take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend with the ones you love (as long as you're at least 6 feet apart from those outside your household) to get outdoors and experience some excellent fishing. Keep a face mask handy for times when social distancing isn't possible.

Want to share photos of your catch or your time on the ice? Use #MiFreeFishingWeekend on social media.

Questions? Contact Sierra Medrano at 517-230-8788.

Treat your sweet to DNR valentines

v day card

Delight your sweetheart, family or friends with a special DNR-themed message this Valentine’s Day! These pun-derful cards are sure to make everyone smile and feel a little more connected (to each other and the outdoors).

With 14 different designs to choose from, you’ll find just the right sentiment for your favorite people. Cards include affectionate plays on words, like “I’m very fawned of you!” and “You make me a happy camper, Valentine!”

“We wanted to create something to brighten this long stretch of winter, while capitalizing on so many of the special natural and cultural resources found in Michigan,” said Eric Hilliard, digital media specialist with the DNR Wildlife Division, who helped create the cards. “And who can resist a good pun?”

These valentines can be printed and mailed, or just grab a screen shot and text your Valentine's Day greetings. Share your love of Michigan’s great outdoors and history! These valentines are sure to make an impression.

Want some space from coyotes? Follow these tips


Coyotes can be found statewide in just about any type of habitat, including urban and suburban neighborhoods. People often unintentionally create excellent habitat for adaptable wildlife like coyote, fox, rabbit, squirrel, deer, geese and turkey, making it easier for these animals to expand beyond traditional wildlife habitat boundaries. While they’re an integral part of our ecosystem, coyotes can quickly become a nuisance to people.

"If there is an unwelcome coyote visiting the area, the first thing to consider is what the coyote might find appealing about the location. Is there a nearby patch of woods or natural area that might provide shelter? Are there food sources available, such as bird feeders, that attract small mammals or an abundance of bunnies?" said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator with the DNR. "If so, where possible, modify or remove the things that make the area attractive to coyotes." 

This could be as simple as taking down bird feeders and keeping trash cans indoors until the morning of your trash collection service. In addition to removing possible attractants, there are “hazing” tactics that can help maintain the coyotes’ natural fear of people. All of these efforts reduce opportunities for coyotes or other animals to get used to finding easy food sources.

"You want to make it an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for the coyote to be near people," added Schauer. "Coyotes that become accustomed to being in close proximity to people may become bolder as they are less fearful. Remind them that people should be avoided." 

If you've tried these tactics but find coyotes are still hanging around your property or you have concerns about their presence in the area, contact a nuisance wildlife control business for assistance. These businesses are permitted by the DNR to remove certain wildlife, including coyotes, from private property. 

If hunting is allowed in your area, coyote hunting season is open year-round statewide, with no bag limit. Check local laws and review the statewide hunting and trapping regulations for coyotes in the current Fur Harvester Digest at Michigan.gov/Trapping

Learn more about coyotes and how to handle conflicts with wildlife at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

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

Watch the February NRC meeting live online

migrating birds

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s next regular meeting is Thursday, Feb. 11. Due to COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines, the meeting again will be hosted in an online format.

You can register to watch the meeting live online using this link. After registering, you'll receive an email with info on how to join the webinar. Those who want to provide public comment should call 517-881-9630 or email NRC@Michigan.gov.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. with the Committee of the Whole, and the agenda includes additional information related to migratory game bird hunting, Pure Michigan Hunt winners and land transactions.

See the full draft meeting agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC. For the latest on other public meetings, visit the DNR's boards, commissions and committees webpage.


There's a new episode of Wardens this week! Tune in for salmon surveillance, a CO elementary school visit and ORV violations. Episodes air on the Outdoor Channel Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. 


Registration for the Happy Little virtual 5K is closing March 1, so make sure to sign up before then! You can get some happy little swag, including a medal with a reproduction of a real Bob Ross painting. Don't miss out!


Interested in how the DNR takes care of 4.6 million acres of public lands like state game and wildlife areas, state forests and more? View and comment on the draft land strategy by Feb. 12. We want to hear what you think.

Enjoy responsible recreation

Stay informed, stay safe: Mask up MichiganDNR COVID-19 response