DNR News: Firearm deer opener, donate your deer, Tree City USA applications

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News Digest - Week of Nov. 8, 2021

white tail buck header photo

Firearm deer season opens next week! Be sure to observe the five-day quiet period and keep safety top of mind.

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 used in Tree City USA story courtesy of Michigan State University Deptartment of Forestry. Balsam woolly adelgid photo courtesy of Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Marigold leaves at Mackinac

Mackinac bridge

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Henry Roeters at Straits State Park in Mackinac 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.

Five-day quiet period begins Wednesday

foggy morning five-day quiet period

‘Twas days before firearm deer season, and all through the state, hunters were readying stands, blinds and camps, hoping crafty deer would cooperate. Although hunters understandably are getting excited to hit the woods, they must respect the five-day “quiet period” Nov. 10-14.

During these days, it is unlawful to transport or possess a rifle or shotgun with buckshot, slug load, ball load or cut shell in an area frequented by deer. Unloaded firearms securely encased or carried in the trunk of a vehicle may be transported to or from a hunting camp. Refer to page 21 of the DNR Hunting Digest for more information.

“From sighting in rifles to sprucing up the old deer blind, preseason activities can be a hectic time for firearm deer hunters,” said Capt. Pete Wright, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The five-day quiet period creates a window of time, just prior to the opener, in which hunters can catch their breath and the woods have a chance to calm. This period is like pushing a reset button, allowing deer to settle back into their day-to-day patterns, which in turn increases the chances of a successful hunt.”

If you're hunting for small game or waterfowl, or fur harvesting, you can still carry the appropriate firearm for your season. Small game and waterfowl hunters may carry a shotgun with shotshells for hunting small game, but cannot possess buckshot, slugs, ball loads or cut shells during this time. Fur harvesters may carry a rimfire firearm .22-caliber or smaller while actively hunting or checking trap lines during the open furbearing animal season.

Call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800 to report trespassing, shooting and other related natural resource violations.

For current rules and regulations, visit Michigan.gov/Hunting

Questions? Email the DNR Law Enforcement Division at DNR-LawEnforcement@Michigan.gov.

Safety is key to every successful hunt

hunter safety video

Michigan’s firearm deer season is one week out, and the DNR reminds everyone to always put safety first.

Lt. Tom Wanless, who heads the DNR’s recreational safety, education and enforcement programs, said although some safety tips seem like common sense, it’s critical for anyone hunting with firearms to understand and frequently revisit safety basics.

“Success is not always about filling your tag, it’s about safely enjoying the experience and sharing with friends and family back at camp after the hunt,” Wanless said. 

All hunters should:

  • Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
  • Be aware of their surroundings – know the target and what is beyond it.
  • Unload firearms when crossing obstacles and/or getting in or out of a tree stand.
  • Obey “no trespassing” signs; they are there for a reason.
  • Obtain landowner permission to retrieve game that has wandered onto private property.
  • Wear as much hunter orange as possible to increase visibility to other hunters.

During hunting seasons, it’s also important for nonhunters to wear bright colors, especially hunter orange, and be aware of their surroundings when near woods or fields where hunting may occur.

Get more hunting safety tips and resources at Michigan.gov/HuntingSafety. For season and regulation details, see the 2021 Hunting Digest.

Questions? Contact Cpl. Ken Lowell at LowellK@Michigan.gov.

Need a field day? Register now for Nov. 14 in Zeeland

hunter ed

A free, last-minute hunter education field day will be offered 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Holland Fish & Game Club at 10840 Chicago Drive, Zeeland.

Hunter education field days are the final step for students enrolled in the take-home and/or online hunter education course to receive their safety certificate.

Students must bring their printed online hunter safety voucher from the completed online course. This class will run rain or shine, so please check the weather and dress appropriately. There are 100 seats open and the class has a 200-seat limit.

Students 10 and younger will need a parent or guardian present during the class. Each student will need to bring their own mask, pencil and a snack, as lunch will not be provided. A parent or guardian is welcome to stay with their student during the class, but please do not register the parent or guardian for the class because this would eliminate spots for other students. Parents or guardians who want to take the class and receive credit for hunter education are welcome to sign up.

Register for the Nov. 14 class.

Questions? Contact Sgt. Steve Orange at OrangeS@michigan.gov.

Deer hunters can win prizes while helping feed hungry families

deer processor

As Michigan’s firearm deer season draws near, and with bow season already underway, the time is right for hunters to help hungry families in their community by donating a deer to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. 

“Join a different kind of deer drive this November by donating a deer to provide venison for those in need,” said Dustin Isenhoff, specialist in the DNR Marketing and Outreach Division, who coordinates the department’s partnership with Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. “Hunters who donate a whole deer have a chance to win some great prizes for participating.”

Hunters have a chance to win gift cards and other prizes by donating a deer at:

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that helps connect donors, wild game processors and charities like food banks, pantries and shelters to feed those in need. The organization distributed almost 100,000 pounds of venison last year, providing more than 400,000 meals for families experiencing hunger.

To learn more about the deer donation drive, find a participating processor or make a monetary donation to support venison processing, visit SportsmenAgainstHunger.org.

Hunters also can make a monetary donation when buying a hunting license.

Questions? Contact Dustin Isenhoff at 616-916-2796.

Natural Resources Commission meets Wednesday in Lansing

steelhead in net

Awards honoring DNR employees’ lifesaving efforts and contributions to the field, an update on steelhead management and research, a land use order presentation and several land transactions are just some of the agenda items for the next meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. in the forum at the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., in downtown Lansing. For everyone’s safety, masks are recommended for all visitors.

See the meeting's full draft agenda at Michigan.gov/NRC. For more information or to request time to speak at the meeting, contact Victoria Lischalk at 517-599-1067 or NRC@Michigan.gov.

NRC meetings regularly occur on Thursdays, but this month’s meeting was scheduled a day early due to the Veterans Day holiday.

Woolly bully: A new invasive adelgid to watch for in Michigan

balsam woolly adelgid

Since invasive balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae) arrived in North America in the early 20th century, the tiny insect has killed countless fir trees in the northeast, west and southeast parts of the continent.

In August, the invasive insect was detected in Michigan. The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources have been working to protect native balsam firs and popular Fraser and concolor firs, mainstays of the state’s Christmas tree industry. 

Learn more about this pest at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, when the NotMISpecies webinar series hosts MDARD’s Robert Miller, who will share information about identification, potential environmental threats and the state’s efforts to eradicate balsam woolly adelgid.

Register now for this and other webinars in the series at Michigan.gov/EGLEEvents.

Join the ‘Tree City USA’ family of programs

arborists in trees

Apply today to have your community or organization recognized for its commitment to healthy trees and the benefits they provide.

Tree City USA programs promote care and management of public and community trees. The programs, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, are delivered through a partnership with state forestry agencies — in Michigan, the DNR. Watch our Tree City video and explore the benefits of a greener community to learn more.

To be recognized as a Tree City, a community must have met four standards in 2021: maintaining a tree board or department, having a public tree ordinance, developing a tree care plan with at least $2 spent per capita and celebrating Arbor Day.

Awards also are available for college and K-12 educational institutions, utilities and the grounds of hospitals and other health care facilities.

In 2020, a record 128 Michigan communities were certified through the Tree City USA program, including three for the first time: Kentwood, Madison Heights and Orion Charter Township. Currently, 38% of Michigan residents live in a Tree City USA community.

Application materials are available online from the Arbor Day Foundation. They must be submitted by the end of the year via email to Kevin Sayers, or by mail to DNR Forest Resources Division, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909.

Visit Michigan.gov/UCF for more about the DNR's Urban and Community Forestry program.

Questions? Contact Kevin Sayers at 517-582-3209.


DNR fish hatcheries are open to the public, and now is a great time to take a tour. Come see the DNR's fish stocking efforts in action and learn more about Michigan's hatcheries. Call ahead for tour info.


The holiday season is approaching quickly, so make sure to get a jump on your shopping with the DNR's holiday gift guide! These gifts are perfect for the Michigan-lovers in your life.


Do you have an interest in science and natural resources, but don't know where to start? Check out the community science opportunities page for projects in Michigan and beyond.