DNR News: Environmental education, tree stand safety, small game opener

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News Digest - Week of Sept. 13, 2021

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Fall will be here before you know it! Start prepping for fall hunting and camping seasons.

This week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.  

We'll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources! Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

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 others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Scattered sunbeams at Port Crescent

port crescent state park dunes

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Karen Allmond at Port Crescent State Park in Huron County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Environmental ed conference, Oct. 1-3, features DNR programs

A man in DNR short and shorts talks to a group of male and female conference attendees in the woods

Educators of all types will head to Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, next month for the state’s premier environmental education conference. It takes place Oct. 1-3, a full weekend of workshops, field trips and breakout classes aimed at inspiring teachers, Scout leaders, and staff and volunteers from zoos and nature centers to consider creative, new ways of connecting with students and visitors.

DNR-inspired sessions include:

  • A field trip to Waterloo Recreation Area, the Lower Peninsula’s largest state park.
  • A Project Wild workshop to train teachers on using wildlife management concepts in the classroom.
  • An opportunity to explore virtual learning, built around the DNR’s successful Nature at School program.

Hosted by the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education, the conference is still accepting registrations. Learn more at MAEOE.com.

Questions? Contact Kevin Frailey at 517-974-7941.

September is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month

Video thumbnail play button overlay on a smiling male conservation officer

With deer hunting seasons getting underway around the state next month, many hunters are setting up tree stands now, during Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month.

When using a tree stand or an elevated platform during a hunt, keep these tips in mind:

  • Wear a full-body harness that is properly attached above your head.
  • Always maintain three points of contact when climbing up to or down from the stand.
  • Ensure your tree stand is securely attached and stable before using it.

Watch this short video about tree stand safety for more good ideas.

Tree stands placed on public land must have the owner’s name, address, and Michigan driver’s license number or DNR sportcard number placed on them –information that should be legible from the ground. Tree stands left unoccupied on public land may be used by anyone. 

During every hunt, make safety your top priority. Need a refresher? The DNR's hunter education program teaches tree stand safety, firearm handling, first aid and other important skills. Visit Michigan.gov/HunterEducation to locate a hunter safety course in your area. 

Questions? Contact Lt. Tom Wanless at WanlessT@Michigan.gov.

Small game opener is Sept. 15!


Enjoy Michigan's abundant small game hunting opportunities this fall, all with your base license.  

Spend some time in the woods searching for gray and fox squirrels and maybe scout out a spot for deer hunting later this fall. Squirrel (fox and gray), rabbit, hare and ruffed grouse hunting all open Sept. 15.

New this year, woodcock season also begins Sept. 15. In addition to your small game license, you'll need to have a free woodcock stamp, which includes your Harvest Information Program registration.

More information on small game hunting opportunities in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/SmallGame. Check the 2021 Hunting Digest, available at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests, for season dates, bag limits and other regulations.

For a place to hunt, check out Michigan.gov/MIHunt. MI-HUNT is an interactive map that shows lands open to public hunting throughout the state. Michigan's grouse enhanced management sites (GEMS) sites are great places for grouse and other small game hunting. Learn about these premier bird hunting locations at Michigan.gov/GEMS.

Fall turkey hunting also starts Sept. 15, and even if you didn't enter the drawing for a limited-quota license, you still could snag a turkey tag. Leftover fall turkey licenses will be sold until quotas are met, and hunters may purchase up to one license a day. Hunters may harvest one turkey per license. Check leftover turkey license availability and find additional fall turkey hunting information at Michigan.gov/Turkey.

Still need to get your 2021 base license? Buy online at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere DNR licenses are sold.

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

Natural Resources Commission meets Thursday in Lansing

view of part of someone's body, wearing a tan jacket, with a hand holding a walleye with a rainbow lure hooked on its mouth

Several fisheries orders, a land use order regarding beach access, introduction of DNR Wildlife Division Chief Jared Duquette and several land transactions are just some of the agenda items for the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 16.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, 4125 Beaumont Road, in Lansing. (Please note that masks are required indoors for all people entering MSU facilities. For more information, visit MSU.edu/Together-We-Will.)

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


Fall is prime hunting time; if you're new to the sport and don't know where to start, check out the Learn to Hunt page for tools, tips and tricks for hunting beginners. 


The leaves will soon be turning, and now is the perfect time to make a reservation for your favorite fall campsite, lodging or shelter. Make sure you have your Recreation Passport!


Want to help scientists as they study your favorite species? Check out the abundant community science opportunities available in Michigan and beyond.