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Press Releases
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86th anniversary of deaths of CO's Arvid Erickson, Emil Skogland
DNR to reduce Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Michigan
DNR announces EHD now found in 24 counties
Surplus salmon now available to the public
Water samples detect Asian carp eDNA in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay
Angler catches state record black buffalo in Allegan County 
EHD confirmed in eight Michigan counties
Governor Snyder announces Manistique sea lamprey barrier collaboration
No Asian carp found in western Lake Erie
DNR, MDARD update Michigan’s plan for managing chronic wasting disease
NRC approves waterfowl season dates for 2012-13

DNR recommends brook trout daily possession limit stay at five in U. P.
Grass carp found in St. Joseph River was reproductively viable
EHD outbreak confirmed in deer in Ionia and Branch counties
Annual cooperator patches from Michigan Bear Hunters Association
Antlerless deer license applications on sale now

NRC approves antlerless deer license quotas
Natural Resources Commission adopts early waterfowl regulations
Extreme heat and drought causing fish kills
DNR verifies trail camera photo of cougar in northern Marquette County

Six Lake Erie water samples test positive for Asian carp eDNA
NRC expands deer hunting territory for the fall
2012 elk hunting seasons have been posted
Hunters can increase their odds of getting an elk/bear license

Minimum size regulations-lake trout/splake-northern Lake Huron-June 14
Houghton Lake man sentenced on wildland arson felony charges
Felony charges against Arkansas Asian carp salesman
DNR confirms presence of cougar near Skanee in Baraga County
Four northern Michigan men arrested in elk-poaching incident

Michigan Pheasant Restoration

Michigan Department of Natural Resources files suit against hunting ranch
State enters next phase in protecting environment, farms from invasive swine
The Next Pure Michigan Hunt Winner Could Be You
NRC Approves Mentored Youth Hunting Program for 2012
Fisheries Division Releases 2012-2013 Mg Updates for Waters Southwest Michigan
Joint Undercover Wildlife Investigation Yields Four Arrests, Multiple Charges
Surveying Michigan’s Elk Population from an Airplane
Inland fishing guides reminded of permit required to use state lands

Federal Decision to Remove Wolves from Endangered Species List
Michigan DNR Adds More Than 500 Acres to Pigeon River Country State Forest
Hartland Female Archer Wins World Archery Tournament
DNR Confirms Cougar in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties
Hooks & Bullets contributor writes Whitetail book
DNR Reminds Fur Harvesters of New Regulations
New Law Creates Mentored Hunting for Youth for 2012 Season

Torch Lake Atlantic Salmon Recognized As World Record
Michigan’s Last Known Wolverine Now on Display at Bay City State Recreation Area

Inland Fishing Guides Reminded of Permit Required to Use State Lands
DNR Reminds Anglers of Different Fishing Activities by Tribal Members
Status of Eastern Cougars as Extinct

New Law Allows Hunters, Landowners to Take Feral Hogs Anytime
Cougars

DNR remembers 86th anniversary of deaths of conservation officers Arvid Erickson, Emil Skogland - Saturday, Sept. 29, marks the 86th anniversary of the deaths of Michigan conservation officers Arvid Erickson and Emil Skogland, the Department of Natural Resources announced today. Erickson, 30, and Skogland, 36, were killed Sept, 29, 1926, when they encountered an unlicensed hunter near the Sand Plains area in Marquette County. During the course of the arrest, the offender pulled a hidden .22 caliber revolver and fatally shot both officers. When the officers failed to return home, a massive search and investigation led to the offender. The suspect eventually confessed to the murders and disclosed the location of the officers’ bodies. Both CO Erickson’s and CO Skogland’s weighted-down bodies were recovered from Lake Superior near Marquette. The offender, who had recently been paroled from prison for another murder, was convicted of first-degree murder for the officers’ deaths. “Conservation Officer Arvid Erickson and Conservation Officer Emil Skogland were killed in what might be called a routine license check,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “Law enforcement then, as now, has no routine contacts. We will always remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.” This year marks the 125th anniversary of conservation law enforcement in Michigan. Officers Erickson and Skogland are two of the 12 fallen conservation officers commemorated by the DNR earlier this year on May 15, when the department dedicated a memorial to conservation officers who have died while protecting this state's natural resources and the citizens who enjoy them. Anyone seeking more information or who wishes to contribute to the construction of the memorial can get details at www.mcoa-online.net.

DNR to reduce Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Michigan - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that, following more than a year of deliberations with constituents, scientists and fishery managers, it agrees with an inter-jurisdictional recommendation by the Lake Michigan Committee to reduce Chinook salmon stocking by 50 percent lake-wide. The Lake Michigan Committee is comprised of fisheries managers representing Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and five Michigan tribes that are party to the 2000 Consent Decree. Under the lake-wide plan, the 3.3 million Chinook salmon annually stocked in total in Lake Michigan by the four states would be reduced to 1.7 million starting in 2013. “This reduction is essential in helping to maintain the balance between predator and prey fish populations in Lake Michigan,” said Jim Dexter, Michigan DNR Fisheries Division chief. “These reductions are necessary to maintain the lake’s diverse fishery.” A key factor to Lake Michigan’s current and potentially precarious ecosystem balance is an increasing presence of wild Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan. Streams in Michigan continue to produce significant numbers of naturally reproduced Chinook salmon and lake-wide estimates show more than half of the lake’s Chinook population is of wild origin. Because of the significant natural reproduction occurring in Michigan, the DNR will shoulder the majority of the stocking reduction. Michigan will reduce stocking by 1.13 million spring fingerlings, or 67 percent of the 1.69 million recently stocked by the state. Wisconsin will reduce by 440,000; Indiana will reduce by 25,000; and Illinois will reduce by 20,000. This marks the third time in recent history that stocking in Lake Michigan has been reduced by the agencies. Previous decisions to reduce stocking in 1999 and 2006 resulted in maintaining and improving catch rates. Fisheries managers believe this is because natural reproduction continues to fill any available predatory space. The decision to reduce stocking is part of an adaptive management strategy that includes a feedback loop that will monitor certain indicators in the lake – such as Chinook salmon growth. If conditions improve or get worse, stocking will be increased or decreased accordingly, and more quickly. “This will give the DNR more flexibility to adaptively manage the lake,” said Jay Wesley, Southern Lake Michigan Unit manager. “Traditionally, we have made changes in stocking and waited five years to evaluate it, and another two years to implement changes. Now we have the ability, through a defined and accepted process, to make changes as they are needed.” The DNR’s Fisheries Division will discuss with constituents this fall how each stocking location will be affected by the stocking reductions. Future site-specific stocking levels will be based on natural reproduction, net pen partnerships, broodstock needs and hatchery logistics. Every existing stocking location should expect a reduction. Please visit the Michigan Sea Grant's website for more information on the Lake Michigan Chinook salmon stocking reduction plan.
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DNR announces EHD now found in 24 counties - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed in 24 Michigan counties. For a list of all 24 counties, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases and click on EHD, which is located near the bottom of the page. The disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted by a type of biting fly. A constant characteristic of EHD is its sudden onset. Deer can suffer extensive internal bleeding, lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. At present, just over 4,200 dead deer have been reported in 24 counties. The DNR expects more dead deer to be found as farmers harvest their crops and hunters take to the field. “Since July, the DNR, in cooperation with many, helpful volunteers, has been monitoring the EHD outbreak,” said Brent Rudolph, DNR deer and elk program leader. “This is a horrible disease for hunters, DNR personnel and other wildlife enthusiasts to see affecting deer.” Rudolph explained that the first, hard frost should kill the flies. These insects have thrived this year due to the dry, hot summer. This year has seen a number of major outbreaks across the country, and EHD has been documented in all neighboring states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The DNR has received numerous calls from hunters who have asked if deer seasons will be closed this year. They will not be closed; the deer seasons will go as planned this year. Other callers have voiced concern with harvesting an EHD-infected deer. They have asked if deer infected with EHD are safe to eat. EHD does not affect humans, so edibility of the venison is not affected by this disease. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus either from the midge or from handling and eating venison. Hunters in affected townships should anticipate seeing fewer deer this year. However, because EHD die-offs are localized, hunters in adjoining townships may not notice any differences. States that have had similar pronounced outbreaks in the past have consistently seen deer numbers in such localized areas rebound within a few years. “We will continue to monitor this unfortunate situation,” said Russ Mason, DNR Wildlife Division chief. “I understand how important the deer resource is to people. EHD is affecting me and my family as well because we are deer hunters. When we consider regulations for next year, there is no doubt that we will be factoring in the impact of this disease along with other influences on the deer population. Most likely, there will be changes to our management of deer in southern Michigan.” The DNR encourages hunters to stay aware of confirmed outbreak areas and adjust, if appropriate, their hunt and harvest plans. Anyone discovering concentrations of dead deer or those seeking more information can contact their local wildlife biologist at the nearest DNR office. Office locations can be found at www.michigan.gov/wildlife under Wildlife Offices. Because dead deer do not harbor EHD and cannot infect other deer, it’s fine to leave carcasses where they are found. It’s also fine to bury dead deer at a sufficient depth so that no parts are showing above ground. Finally, carcasses will be accepted at landfills that accept household solid waste.
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Surplus salmon now available to the public - The public is again this year invited to purchase surplus salmon that have been harvested at Department of Natural Resources' weirs across the state. The DNR maintains multiple sites where fisheries biologists and technicians collect eggs and milt from Chinook and coho salmon for use in the hatcheries. Fish in prime physical condition are made available to the public by American-Canadian Fisheries (ACF), a private vendor which assists the DNR with the salmon harvest. After the DNR’s egg needs are met, ACF harvests the salmon for the human and pet-food markets as well as excess eggs for the bait market. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon and eggs collected. ACF makes suitable-quality fish available wholesale to distributors that market the fish. "We work closely with ACF to maintain a professional approach to dealing with the returning salmon and to ensure the harvest is done in the most environmentally friendly way," said Ed Eisch, Northern Lower Peninsula hatchery manager for the DNR. "The number of fish returning to our rivers is so large the DNR needs the assistance of private partners like ACF to help in this area of fishery management.” The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recommends using caution when eating certain kinds and sizes of fish from Michigan lakes and streams. For current advisories, the Eat Safe Fish Guide should be consulted. It is available at www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish or by contacting MDCH at 800-648-6942. Check with the DNR about Michigan retailers selling salmon harvested at DNR weirs.
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The following is a joint news release issued by the Michigan and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Media Contacts:
Michigan DNR: Todd Kalish: 517-373-1282, Ed Golder: 517-335-3014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Katie Steiger-Meister: 612-713-5317
Ohio DNR: Rich Carter: 614-265-6345, Bethany McCorkle: 614-265-6873
Water samples detect Asian carp eDNA in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay - Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) has been detected in three of 350 water samples collected from western Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay and Maumee River between July 31 and August 4. The three samples, all positive for silver carp eDNA, were found in Maumee Bay – two in Michigan waters and one in Ohio waters. The water samples were collected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of an extensive sampling effort developed in response to the discovery of Asian carp eDNA in water samples taken from Maumee and Sandusky bays in summer 2011. In addition to the three positive eDNA samples recently found in Maumee Bay, the ODNR, MDNR and Service previously announced that of 150 samples collected from Sandusky Bay in late July, 20 tested positive for silver carp eDNA. The western Lake Erie response plan also included intensive electrofishing and test netting in the Maum Bay and River and the Sandusky Bay and River in August 2012, during which time no Asian carp were found. “I cannot overstate the importance of our Great Lakes fishery to the economy and quality of life in Michigan,” said MDNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter. “We will continue working with our partner agencies to identify the source of Asian carp eDNA in western Lake Erie so we can effectively protect the Great Lakes from the threat posed by silver and bighead carp if the species were to establish viable populations in the Great Lakes or their tributaries.” Addressing the Asian carp threat is a priority issue for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s inter-jurisdictional Lake Erie Committee, which includes representation from Pennsylvania, New York, and the province of Ontario in addition to Michigan and Ohio. The Service and other federal agencies are also key players in Asian carp research and investigative work. “We will keep working to address the uncertainties about the status and source of Asian carp in Lake Erie with our partner agencies through the Lake Erie Committee,” said Rich Carter, ODNR Executive Administrator of Fish Management and Research. “We are aggressively searching for live Asian carp in Lake Erie through different techniques and urge anglers to be vigilant in watching for these species while on the lake as well.” Researchers say eDNA analysis provides a tool for the early detection of Asian carp at low densities, and these latest positive results heighten concern about the presence of Asian carp in western Lake Erie. However, the analysis cannot provide or confirm information about the number or size of possible fish. “Our field crews were out on the water numerous times over the last couple of months, using multiple gear types and they found no live Asian carp,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “We are still trying to pull back the curtain on what the source is for these positive eDNA samples.” At present, eDNA evidence cannot verify whether the DNA may have come from a live or dead fish, or from other sources such as bilge water, storm sewers or fish-eating birds. The Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey are leading a two-year Asian Carp Environmental DNA Calibration Study (ECALS), funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to reduce the uncertainty surrounding Asian carp eDNA results. Extensive sampling conducted for Asian carp this summer and fall have yielded no live fish, suggesting that if Asian carp are present, then they are in very low abundance. Asian carp, including bighead and silver carp, pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy. Help from the public, especially Great Lakes anglers, will be imperative moving forward. All anglers are strongly encouraged to learn how to identify Asian carp, including both adults and juveniles, as the spread of juvenile Asian carp through the use of live bait buckets has been identified as a possible entry point into the Great Lakes. A video teaching people how to identify bighead and silver carp is available on the Service’s YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/B49OWrCRs38. If anglers or constituents have observed or captured an Asian carp, immediately notify ODNR at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or MDNR at 800-292-7800. Photograph the fish from nose to tail, and retain the fish on ice for verification. Online submission forms, identification guides, frequently asked questions and management plans are also available at www.michigan.gov/asiancarp and www.wildohio.com. To learn more about eDNA sampling and filtering in western Lake Erie, view images of the process at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrcc/sets/72157630854558566.
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Angler catches state record black buffalo in Allegan County - The Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state-record black buffalo on Thursday, Sept. 6. The fish, a member of the sucker family, was caught by Bryan DeGoede of Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, on the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County at 11:50 p.m. The fish weighed 37.4 pounds and measured 39.3 inches. DeGoede was bowfishing when he landed the record fish. The record was verified by Jay Wesley, a DNR fisheries manager for Southwest Michigan. The previous state-record black buffalo was caught by Brad Nietering of Nunica on the Grand River (Bruce’s Bayou) in Ottawa County on May 19, 2004. That fish weighed 33.25 pounds and measured 36.5 inches. This is the second state-record fish caught in Southwest Michigan this year. On May 22, Rodney Akey of Niles caught a 49.8-pound, 45.7-inch flathead catfish in the St. Joseph River. State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. For more information about fishing in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. For information about record-breaking fish caught in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/masterangler.
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EHD confirmed in eight Michigan counties: Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Clinton, Eaton, Ionia and Montcalm - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health recently confirmed and announced the death of deer in Ionia and Branch counties was due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). Today the two organizations have confirmed EHD in six additional counties: Barry, Calhoun, Cass, Clinton, Eaton and Montcalm. There has been a nationwide increase of EHD outbreaks due to the extended hot and dry conditions. The often-fatal viral disease, found in wild ruminants, causes extensive internal bleeding within deer and is transmitted by a midge, or type of biting fly. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset. Deer lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus. EHD outbreaks killing deer in Michigan have occurred in isolated areas almost every year since 2006. Prior to 2006, EHD outbreaks in Michigan occurred in 1955 and 1974. The estimated mortality has varied from 50 to 1,000 deer per year in the affected areas. “We are seeing a large die-off of deer in local areas. To date we have over 900 reports of dead deer across all counties,” stated Tom Cooley, DNR wildlife biologist and pathologist. “Although it is difficult to see so many dead deer, this is still a localized issue and the regional deer population should not be impacted.” The DNR would like to remind hunters that they may not see as many deer in the areas where EHD is occurring. Deer numbers in the affected areas should rebound within a few years. There is no known effective treatment for, or control of, EHD. Where EHD is more common, deer have built up antibodies to the disease, and population recovery does not take long. Michigan deer do not have the benefit of these antibodies. Losses may be severe but are typically restricted to localized areas. Population recovery may take longer than has been experienced in other states. Property owners who discover dead deer or would like to talk to their local wildlife biologist should contact their nearest DNR office. Office locations can be found at www.michigan.gov/wildlife by clicking on Wildlife Offices. It is acceptable to allow natural deterioration processes to dispose of deer that die from EHD. Natural deterioration will not spread the disease or cause other disease outbreaks. Property owners are responsible for the proper disposal of carcasses that they wish to remove from the site. Carcasses should be buried at a sufficient depth so that no parts are showing above ground. Carcasses also can be disposed of at landfills that accept household solid waste. For more information on EHD, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlifedisease.
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Governor Snyder announces Manistique sea lamprey barrier collaboration - Governor Rick Snyder and Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh today announced the state will become an important partner in a collaborative effort to construct a new sea lamprey barrier in Manistique on the Manistique River. The existing dam, owned by Manistique Papers, Inc., once served as an impediment to migrating sea lampreys and is now more than 100 years old and deteriorating. Sea lampreys now have free access to the entire Manistique River, a huge watershed covering more than 3,600 miles. The new barrier will be constructed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and financed by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Corps requires that a stable, non-federal partner take ownership of the sea lamprey barrier and associated structures. The state will fulfill that role. "Collaboration is key to moving Michigan forward and this local, state and federal partnership is a great example," Governor Snyder said. "Working together, we will help to protect Michigan's precious water resources from the damage caused by invasive species while also assisting the city of Manistique with some of its needs. I appreciate all of the work that the partners have done to find creative solutions to these challenges." Sea lamprey numbers in Lake Michigan have increased dramatically in recent years because of access to the Manistique River system. Each adult sea lamprey consumes more than 40 pounds of fish during its lifetime. The Manistique River now produces the highest number of sea lamprey of any Lake Michigan tributary and is one of the highest producers in the entire Great Lakes basin. "Driven by instinct to reproduce in the streams of the watershed where their larvae grow into ravenous parasites attacking fish species like lake trout, salmon, and whitefish, sea lamprey relentlessly destroy these fish and the economy they support," said Great Lakes Fishery Commission Executive Secretary Dr. Christopher Goddard. "Vision, determination, cooperation, and courage among committed partners are crucial to successful transformation of the deteriorated dam into a new and powerful tool in the ongoing war against sea lamprey." At an estimated cost of nearly $750,000 to treat and kill sea lampreys every two years in the river, this project will produce significant cost savings over time and allow other critical stream treatments to occur for the control of sea lamprey. “Sea lampreys and other invasive species remain a serious threat to the ecology of the Great Lakes and to local economies,” said DNR Director Creagh. “This partnership marks a significant step forward in addressing one piece of that problem and does so in a way that benefits the local community and the state. I couldn’t be more pleased.” In addition to Great Lakes fishery benefits, this project will also replace an aging water line critical to the City of Manistique and upgrade the city’s flood control wall. Manistique Papers, Inc. will also benefit from this work by having much of the aging dam and associated infrastructure removed, thus providing benefits to the company’s operations.
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The following is a joint news release issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
No Asian carp found in western Lake Erie - After a week of intensive electrofishing and gill netting activities in Sandusky Bay, Maumee Bay and their main tributaries, officials have found no bighead or silver Asian carps in western Lake Erie. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) continue to work together to assess the current status of bighead and silver carp within western Lake Erie bays and select tributaries. “The sampling results are very encouraging, especially since we intensely focused on areas where we believed we had the greatest chances of finding these fish,” said Rich Carter, ODNR executive administrator of fish management and research. “We look forward to the results of the environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis that will help us define future actions. We appreciate all of the efforts the Service has provided in assessing the status of Asian carp in Lake Erie." “We are committed to supporting our state DNR partners in the field,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “Service staff will continue to work side-by-side with DNR employees both on the water and in the labs as we try to answer the question, ‘Are there any live Asian carp in the Sandusky and Maumee areas?’ This week’s sampling has not provided any physical evidence that Asian carp are in these two waterways." Jim Dexter, Chief of the Fisheries Division, MDNR noted that this effort presented an “excellent effort to accompany the more sensitive eDNA testing.” The MDNR looks to this effort as a baseline of information and as a foundation upon which to build any future sampling efforts. Fish sampling activities took place in response to the six water samples taken from Sandusky and north Maumee bays in August 2011 that tested positive for the presence of Asian carp eDNA. Additional eDNA sampling activities occurred July 30-Aug. 4, and those findings will be announced in a few weeks. MDNR and ODNR are committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the region’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
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DNR, MDARD update Michigan’s plan for managing chronic wasting disease -The Natural Resources Commission adopted changes to chronic wasting disease baiting and feeding regulations, as outlined in the state’s newly revised CWD response plan, at its regular monthly meeting Thursday in Lansing. Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams recently signed the first revision to the CWD plan since it was adopted a decade ago. The updated plan takes into account the large amount of research and case studies on CWD that have become available since Michigan’s original Surveillance and Response Plan for Chronic Wasting Disease of Free-ranging and Privately Owned Cervids was finalized in 2002. “This plan is critical in guiding our state’s response to CWD, as it did when the disease was found here a few years ago,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “Much of the 2002 plan is still valid and sound, but we now know a lot more about what causes CWD, how it is spread, what the public thinks about how the disease should be addressed, and the results of CWD management efforts in other states. In light of this, we decided that some modifications to the plan were in order." “CWD is a reportable disease, so if the disease is detected in free ranging cervids or a Michigan Privately Owned Cervid facility, we will define a surveillance zone around the positive case,” said State Veterinarian Steven Halstead. “This plan should protect Michigan’s cervid industry as well as Michigan’s free-ranging deer population while meeting our ultimate goal of safeguarding animal health."
The principal changes to the plan are:

  • The plan will be implemented if a CWD-positive animal is found within 10 miles of the Michigan border, rather than 50 miles as in the original plan.

  • Baiting and feeding will be banned in any county within a 10-mile radius of where CWD is detected.

  • All Privately Owned Cervid facilities within that zone will be required to complete increased disease testing of their herds to monitor for signs of CWD.

  • If the disease is diagnosed in a Privately Owned Cervid facility, all facilities that have had contact (through purchases, sales or immediate contact) will undergo increased disease surveillance testing, and exposed animals will be removed from contact herds.

These changes eliminate the peninsula-wide management provisions for dealing with a CWD occurrence. Actions that remain from the original response plan include: immediate baiting and feeding bans; a restriction on removing anything more than the boned meat, hide, and antlers of a deer or elk taken within the CWD management zone; and mandatory CWD testing of animals remain in effect. Michigan’s Regional Deer Advisory Teams and a variety of hunting groups have reviewed the modified plan. The updated plan, and more information about CWD, is available online at www.michigan.gov/cwd. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is committed to assuring the food safety, agricultural, environmental, and economic interests of the people of the State of Michigan are met through service, partnership and collaboration.

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NRC approves waterfowl season dates for 2012-13 - Michigan goose hunters will enjoy a longer season and duck hunters will be able to take up to four scaup daily this year according to regulations that were approved by the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing yesterday. The early Canada goose hunting season begins statewide Saturday, Sept. 1 and runs through Monday, Sept. 10 in the North Zone and in Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties; and through Saturday, Sept. 15 in the rest of the state. The daily bag limit is five. The length of the regular Canada goose season has increased to 92 days. The daily bag limit is two. Regular goose season dates are:

  • North Zone: Sept. 22 - Dec. 22

  • Middle Zone: Sept. 29 - Dec. 29

  • South Zone (excluding goose management units below): Sept. 22-23, Oct. 6 -Nov. 30 and Dec. 29 - Jan. 1

The goose seasons in designated goose management units (GMU), where the daily bag limit is two, are:

  • Tuscola/Huron and Saginaw County GMUs: Sept. 22-25 and Oct. 6 - Jan. 1

  • Muskegon County Wastewater GMU: Oct. 9 - Nov. 13 and Dec. 1-23

  • Allegan County GMU: Oct. 6 - Nov. 25, Dec. 8-23, and Dec. 29 - Jan. 22, 2013

The late goose season – in the South Zone only and excluding the GMUs listed above – is Jan. 12 - Feb. 10, 2013. The daily bag limit is five. Hunters may take 20 snow, blue or Ross geese daily and one white-fronted goose and one Brant during the regular and late seasons in respective zones and GMUs.

Duck hunting seasons are set for:

  • North Zone (Upper Peninsula): Sept. 22 - Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-25  

  • Middle Zone: Sept. 29 - Nov. 25 and Dec. 15-16

  • South Zone: Oct. 6 - Nov. 30 and Dec. 29 - Jan. 1

Duck bag limits are the maximum allowed under federal frameworks with the exception that only one female mallard may be taken daily. The daily bag limit for scaup has increased from two to four. Hunters may take up to six ducks daily with no more than four mallards (no more than one of which may be a female), four scaup, three wood ducks, two redheads, two pintails, one canvasback and one black duck. The waterfowl hunting seasons were established under the federal framework through consultation between the Department of Natural Resources and the Citizens Waterfowl Advisory Committee. “Season dates this year maximize opportunity for Michigan’s waterfowl hunters and provide for complete overlap of duck and goose seasons,” said DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist Barb Avers. “Hunters have expressed how important it is to be able to hunt ducks and geese together, and the dates we have established fit the bill." Avers explained that, despite Michigan mallard numbers being up, drought conditions throughout the summer will likely reduce wetland conditions going into the hunting season and concentrate ducks. Therefore, scouting will be a key factor to duck hunters’ success this year. However, open-water diving duck hunting has the potential to be very good this year. Numbers of diver ducks such as scaup, canvasbacks and redheads are up, and opportunity has expanded with the increase in scaup daily limits. Michigan’s location within the Great Lakes provides ample opportunity to pursue these species. Also, this fall and winter will be a great time for waterfowl hunters to pursue Canada geese. Goose numbers are up and the length of the regular Canada goose season has significantly increased. For more information on waterfowl hunting in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/hunting and click on Waterfowl. The DNR encourages hunters to participate in the new Wetland Wonders Challenge this fall. Hunters can register and hunt at four managed waterfowl areas, and they will be entered to win the ultimate prize package. In addition, special collector waterfowl bands will be available to those who hunt at each managed area. For more information about the challenge and Michigan’s managed waterfowl areas, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.
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DNR recommends brook trout daily possession limit stay at five in Upper Peninsula - The Department of Natural Resources' Fisheries Division announced today that after internal and external reviews, it is recommending the brook trout daily possession limit for the Upper Peninsula remain at its current level of five. In 2000, the daily possession limit for brook trout in most Michigan streams was reduced from 10 fish to five fish. Since that time anglers have asked the DNR’s Fisheries Division to consider reinstating the 10 fish daily possession limit for brook trout on Upper Peninsula streams. Fisheries Division staff conducted an internal review on this issue in 2011 and after that solicited broad public input regarding the proposed regulation change via an online and telephone survey. The survey was open from March 26 through May 28, 2012 and received more than 1,400 responses. This was the highest response rate Fisheries Division had ever seen in regards to a regulation issue. Due to the results of that survey, and based on additional feedback gathered through letters, constituent meetings, and other methods, it has been recommended the daily possession limit for brook trout not be raised to 10 fish at this time for the following reasons:
(1) There are no biological benefits and some slight biological risks with raising the daily possession limit.
(2) Based on the results of the public survey and historic creel data, it appears raising the daily possession limit would benefit a relatively small percentage of the angling population.
(3) Nearly twice as many anglers opposed the possession limit increase compared to those who supported the change. Given that there is no biological need to increase the daily possession limit, it is not prudent to establish a regulation that does not have a significant margin of support from the angling public.
Public input regarding this recommendation can be provided at the Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing on Thursday, Sept. 13. The final decision regarding the brook trout possession limit for the Upper Peninsula will then be announced at the Natural Resources Commission meeting in Ontonagon on Thursday, Oct. 11. For additional information on how this recommendation was developed, including full data from the public survey, please read the Brook Trout Daily Possession Limit Statewide Opinion Survey Review available at www.michigan.gov/fishing.
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Testing shows grass carp found in St. Joseph River was reproductively viable - The Department of Natural Resources is concerned about a recent grass carp finding in the St. Joseph River in Berrien County. On Saturday, July 7 a bow angler harvested a 33-pound grass carp near the Buchannan Dam. Tissue samples from the fish were submitted to a laboratory at Southern Illinois University to determine its reproductive status. Although grass carp findings are not unusual in this river, the lab results confirmed the fish was a reproductively-viable grass carp, which is cause for concern. Grass carp are considered an Asian carp species, and while they do not pose the same risk to Michigan’s waters as the much talked about bighead or silver carp, they are of concern as they eat beneficial types of aquatic plants and alter good fish habitat. Grass carp are rarely found in Michigan waters. Previous cases were usually the result of illegal stocking in ponds or movement from other states where stocking genetically altered triploid fish for aquatic vegetation control is allowed.
Other states allow the stocking of triploid fish because they believe the fish have a low probability of reproduction, but the sterilization process is not 100 percent effective. Given their potential negative effects on fish habitat, the DNR strongly opposes the use of triploid fish and reminds the public that live grass carp are illegal to possess, transport or stock in both public and private waters. In response to this finding, the DNR’s Fisheries Division will continue to assess the distribution of grass carp in the lower St. Joseph River through electrofishing surveys this fall, monitoring movement through fish ladders and angler harvest reports. Potential points of entry will also be assessed to prevent further releases in Michigan waters. For more information on grass carp, visit www.michigan.gov/asiancarp.
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EHD outbreak confirmed in deer in Ionia and Branch counties - Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed as the cause of death in deer found in eastern Ionia and northern Branch counties, the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Lab and the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health announced today. The often-fatal viral disease, found in wild ruminants, causes extensive internal bleeding within deer and is transmitted by a midge, or type of biting fly. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset. Deer lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively, and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus. EHD outbreaks killing deer in Michigan have occurred in isolated areas almost every year since 2006. Prior to 2006, EHD outbreaks in Michigan occurred in 1955 and 1974. The estimated mortality has varied from 50 to 1,000 deer per year in the affected areas. “Due to the prolonged, dry, hot weather this year, we are not surprised to see EHD emerge again,” said Tom Cooley, DNR wildlife biologist and pathologist. “Mortality numbers will depend on how widespread the disease is -- die-offs usually occur within one watershed area. If multiple watersheds are involved, the total mortality is higher.” There is no known effective treatment for, or control of, EHD. The disease has been seen for decades in most areas of the United States, especially the southeast states and Texas. It has been less commonly observed in Great Lakes and New England states, although it has now been detected in Michigan in six of the last seven years. Where EHD is more common, deer have built up antibodies to the disease and population recovery does not take long. Michigan deer do not have the benefit of these antibodies. Losses may be severe but are typically restricted to localized areas. Population recovery may take longer than has been experienced in other states. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division staff members are developing plans for assessing the extent and impact of losses in the affected areas. Property owners who discover dead deer they suspect died of EHD in the vicinity of Branch County should call the Crane Pond field office at 269-244-5928, and in Ionia County contact the Flat River field office at 616-794-2658. In other areas of the state, reports of suspected EHD outbreaks should be made to the nearest DNR office. It is acceptable to allow natural deterioration processes to dispose of deer that die from EHD. Natural deterioration will not spread the disease or cause other disease outbreaks. Property owners are responsible for the proper disposal of carcasses that they wish to remove from the site. Carcasses should be buried at a sufficient depth so that no parts are showing above ground. Carcasses also can be disposed of at landfills that accept household solid waste. For more information on EHD, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlifedisease.
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Annual cooperator patches now available from Michigan Bear Hunters Association - As Michigan’s black bear season approaches, the Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the 2012 bear management cooperator patches are available from the Michigan Bear Hunters Association (MBHA). Cooperator patches were once given to successful hunters at bear registration stations, where DNR staff collect teeth and other research data from harvested bears. In 2008, faced with limited resources, the DNR partnered with the MBHA in order to continue to provide the bear patch. MBHA now designs and produces the patches and administers the patch program, making the patch available to all interested parties. The partnership continues with MBHA donating patch sale profits to the DNR for use in bear education and management efforts. In 2011, MBHA began a contest for youth to design the bear patch. The winner of the 2012 patch design contest is Trevor Simmonds from Davison. Information on how to participate in the patch design contest can be found on the DNR’s bear website (www.michigan.gov/bear) or the MBHA website (www.mibearhunters.org). Youth hunters (17 and under) can receive a free patch by sending in a copy of their current bear hunting license. Other hunters, collectors and enthusiasts can purchase patches for $5 each. It is not necessary to harvest a bear to purchase a patch. Patches from previous years (2009-2011) also will be available until sold out. Please specify the quantity of each year’s patch when ordering patches from multiple years. Patches are available by sending a check (made out to “MBHA”), with a return address, to:
MBHA Patch Program
10510 Fairgrieve Rd.
Johannesburg, MI 49751
For more information on the patches visit MBHA’s website at www.mibearhunters.org or email Alicia at alimcv@yahoo.com.
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Antlerless deer license applications on sale now - The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that applications for antlerless deer licenses are on sale now through Wednesday, Aug. 15 at all license agents or online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. Hunters should note that private-land licenses for southern Michigan and the northeastern Lower Peninsula (Deer Management Units 486 and 487) may be purchased without an application and are available over-the-counter beginning Monday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Applications are $4. Hunters may apply for just one antlerless license – public land or private land. After the drawing, remaining antlerless licenses may be purchased beginning Monday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Licenses will be sold until the quotas are met. The season purchase limit for private-land antlerless deer licenses is five statewide, except for DMU 486 and DMU 487, which will have a season limit of 10 licenses. Young hunters, ages 9 to 16, may purchase one junior antlerless deer license over-the-counter from July 15-Aug. 15; however, a 9-year-old must be 10 by Saturday, Sept. 15 to purchase this license. No application fee or drawing is required for junion antlerless deer licenses. In all, 708,650 antlerless deer licenses will be available in 2012, a decrease from the 756,200 available last year. However, hunters will find more antlerless licenses available in the Upper Peninsula. In 2012, 11 U.P. DMUs will have antlerless deer licenses available, compared to seven DMUs in 2011. In the northern Lower Peninsula, antlerless permits have decreased somewhat, largely due to fewer licenses available on public and private land. All northern Lower Peninsula DMUs will offer antlerless permits, compared to six DMUs that did not offer antlerless licenses in 2011. All private-land licenses for DMU 487 - which includes Alpena, Alcona, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties - may be used throughout the DMU. As another option for taking antlerless deer only within DMU 487, hunters in the unit may use a firearm or combination license for antlerless deer within the Nov. 15-30 firearm season or the Dec. 14-23 muzzleloader season. In southern Michigan, the number of available antlerless licenses has been decreased. All private-land licenses for DMU 486 - which includes all but five DMUs in southern Michigan - will be good throughout the DMU. Baiting is prohibited year-round in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties, and within the townships of Oscoda, Plainfield, Wilber, AuSable and Baldwin in Iosco County due to the presence of bovine tuberculosis among deer in that region. Baiting is allowed outside of the counties and townships listed above from Oct. 1 to Jan. 1. Hunters may place no more than two gallons of bait scattered across a minimum 10-foot by 10-foot area. The DNR requests that hunters not place bait repeatedly at the same point on the ground and only place bait out when actively hunting. This may minimize the chance of direct and indirect exposure of deer to any diseases that may be present. Learn more about deer hunting in Michigan and see the list of antlerless license quotas by DMU online at www.michigan.gov/deer.
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NRC approves antlerless deer license quotas - The Department of Natural Resources will offer a total of 708,650 antlerless deer licenses for the upcoming season after the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) adopted quotas at its regular monthly meeting last Thursday at Harsens Island. The NRC approved a total of 70,750 public-land antlerless deer licenses and a total of 637,900 private-land antlerless deer licenses. The changes result in a decrease of 47,550 licenses from 2011. The quotas represent an increase of 450 private-land licenses and an increase of 1,900 public-land licenses available in the Upper Peninsula. Deer numbers in the region are continuing a short-term increasing trend following mild conditions for three straight winters. The department recommended increased quotas to provide additional recreational opportunity, not to reduce deer numbers in the areas where licenses were added. In the northern Lower Peninsula, the number of private-land licenses available has been decreased by 23,500, while public-land licenses have been decreased by 1,300. Recent trends in deer populations have been variable across the region, but the decreases are primarily intended to match quotas more closely with past demand for antlerless licenses. Though this means fewer leftover licenses ultimately may be available in the region, all northern Lower Peninsula deer management units (DMU) will offer at least some licenses this year. Six DMUs in the region did not offer any antlerless licenses in 2011. In the southern Lower Peninsula, 4,150 fewer private-land antlerless licenses will be available in 2012, and the total public-land quota was decreased by 2,350. Deer populations remain above goal throughout much of the region, though numbers do appear to be approaching desired levels in some areas. “Although antlerless license quotas were reduced overall this year, we still had the opportunity to give hunters ample chances to take antlerless deer across the state,” said DNR Deer and Elk Program Leader Brent Rudolph. “Interest in seeing more bucks and bigger bucks is increasing among Michigan hunters, so we encourage those individuals to pass a buck and harvest a doe instead." Additional information regarding deer hunting regulations, results of the 2011 deer harvest survey and Michigan’s deer management plan are available at www.michigan.gov/deer.
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Natural Resources Commission adopts early waterfowl regulations - Early Canada goose season will be similar to last year, as the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) adopted regulations at its regular monthly meeting last Thursday at Harsens Island. The season will be Sept. 1-10 in the Upper Peninsula and Huron, Saginaw and Tuscola counties; and Sept. 1-15 in the remainder of the state. The daily bag limit is five.
In addition the NRC:
- set jacksnipe and rail season for Sept. 1 – Nov. 9, with a limit of eight snipe daily (16 in possession) and 25 Virginia and Sora rails, single or in aggregate, daily (50 in possession);
- set the youth waterfowl season for Sept. 15-16; and
- set a maximum shot size of No. 1 at the St. Clair Flats Wildlife Area and Pointe Mouillee State Game Area.
Regular waterfowl seasons will be set at the NRC’s Aug. 9 meeting in Lansing.
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Extreme heat and drought causing fish kills - There have been numerous fish kills recently reported from around the state, and staff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Fisheries Division is tracking and monitoring these events. “We appreciate the public letting us know where they are seeing unusual fish kill events,” said Jim Dexter, Fisheries Division chief. “This can be done by emailing reports to DNR-FISH-Report-Fish-Kills@michigan.gov."
The combination of very high water temperatures and drought flow conditions have made conditions very stressful for fish and, in many cases, these conditions are beyond lethal temperatures for fish. Additionally, high water temperatures also often result in low oxygen values, particularly where there is a lot of vegetation. “For example, water temperatures of nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded in the lower Shiawassee River last week, which resulted in a small kill of northern pike as temperatures were beyond their physiological ability to handle these conditions,” explained Gary Whelan, DNR fish production manager. “We expect to see more of these fish kills until there are major changes in this summer’s weather. The overall fisheries effects of such events are often very local in nature and may not significantly change overall population numbers. However, population level effects are not known at this time and will take some time to fully evaluate. “We recommend anglers be extra careful in handling and unhooking fish that are to be released to keep stress to a minimum. It is also best for our fish if anglers refrain from fishing during the hottest parts of the day and not keep fish to be released in live wells for very long,” continued Whelan. “Fishing in the early morning period is least stressful for fish, as it has the coolest water temperatures." For more information on fish kills in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing. Anyone who suspects a fish kill is caused by non-natural causes is asked to please call the nearest DNR office or Michigan's Pollution Emergency Alert System at 1-800-292-4706.
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DNR verifies trail camera photo of cougar in northern Marquette County - A recent trail camera photo of a cougar in northern Marquette County has been verified by the Department of Natural Resources’ cougar team. The photo was taken at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18 on private property. The landowner, who has asked to remain anonymous, met with DNR Wildlife Division staff this week to confirm the location where the photo was taken. The photo is the 17th time the DNR has been able to verify the presence of cougars in the Upper Peninsula since 2008, coming only a month and a half after a previously confirmed photo from southern Marquette County. “The growing body of evidence continues to indicate the presence of an unknown number of adult cougars in the Upper Peninsula,” said DNR wildlife biologist Adam Bump, one of four DNR biologists specially trained to investigate cougar reports. “In the five years since we confirmed our first cougar report we have yet to receive any evidence of breeding activity, as all images and other physical evidence have been from adult cats." To date, the DNR has confirmed eight separate sets of tracks, eight photos and one trail camera video from nine Upper Peninsula counties: Delta, Marquette, Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Chippewa, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga. “The increase in verified cougar sightings in recent years could be attributed to several factors, although the two most significant are probably the presence of more transient individual cougars moving east from established Western populations, and the growing number of trail cameras being used in the woods, making it easier to capture clear images of elusive cougars,” Bump said. “We appreciate how cooperative the public has been in sending their reports and photos to the DNR for review. This cooperation allows us to effectively monitor cougars in the state." Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were native to Michigan, but disappeared from the state in the early 1900s. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906. Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. DNA evidence collected from a cougar hit and killed by a car in Connecticut in 2011 showed it had originated in South Dakota. Although cougar sightings are regularly reported, verification is often difficult, due in part to a lack of physical evidence. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks - which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks - and suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and buried with sticks and debris. Protecting evidence such as tracks, scat and cached kills from the elements with a bucket or tarp greatly improves the chances that a reported sighting may be verified by DNR wildlife staff. Wildlife biologists on the DNR's cougar team investigate evidence that is reported or submitted, and may visit sites to verify the location and collect additional information. The team then evaluates the collected information and decides whether the presence of cougars can be confirmed. Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by submitting the sighting on the DNR's online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars. If an emergency situation exists, call the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800.
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Six Lake Erie water samples test positive for Asian carp eDNA - Michigan and Ohio DNR's planning follow-up actions with partner agencies. Federal and state wildlife officials working in conjunction with academic researchers today announced six water samples taken from Sandusky and north Maumee bays tested positive for the presence of Asian carp environmental DNA in Michigan and Ohio waters. The positive samples were among 417 taken from Lake Erie in August 2011, and more than 2,000 samples taken from the Great Lakes Basin since 2010. The Lake Erie batch was recently analyzed and test results were confirmed by eDNA researchers this week. The six positive samples represent less than 1.5 percent of the Lake Erie samples. Four samples from Sandusky Bay, in Ohio waters, tested positive for bighead carp eDNA, while two samples from north Maumee Bay, in Michigan waters, were positive for silver carp eDNA. In response to these findings, electro-shocking and netting began Friday in Sandusky Bay with no evidence of Asian carp found. However, additional testing and monitoring are planned by the Ohio and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources in conjunction with partner agencies. The findings indicate the presence of genetic material left behind by the species, such as scales, excrement or mucous, but not the establishment of Asian carp in Lake Erie. Positive eDNA tests are regarded by the scientific community as an indicator of the species’ recent presence, however, positive results can occur whether the organism was alive or dead. While the eDNA findings suggest the possible presence of the invasive species, officials have no physical evidence the fish have migrated to the Great Lakes. Prior to 2003, three individual bighead carp were collected in Lake Erie. No additional observations have been reported during the past decade. “The results from these water samples are certainly concerning, as this marks the first time Asian carp eDNA has been detected in water samples from Lake Erie, or any of the Michigan waters intensively surveyed for the presence of invasive carp,” said Michigan DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “Protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp is critical to the health of our sport and commercial fisheries and to the quality of life in Michigan. We are actively engaged in Asian carp surveillance programs throughout the Great Lakes, including Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, and the Department stands ready to take the necessary and appropriate actions to investigate and respond to these test results.” In response to the positive test results, officials from the Michigan and Ohio DNRs, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and White House Council on Environmental Quality are developing a plan of action in collaboration with the eDNA research team to obtain follow-up samples and test results as quickly as possible. Test results from future water samples will dictate the nature of further response methods. “This lake is Ohio’s greatest resource and our main objective is to keep it healthy,” said Rich Carter, Ohio DNR’s Executive Fish Management and Research Administrator. “The DNA findings have put Ohio fish and wildlife officers on high alert and marshaled our immediate action. In response to these findings, electro-shocking and netting in the identified areas of Sandusky Bay have already been completed and no Asian carp were found. Testing and monitoring will continue and we will work with Michigan and our other management partners to develop a coordinated approach to defining the status of Asian carp in Lake Erie.” Since 2010, the Michigan DNR, Ohio DNR, USFWS, University of Notre Dame, Central Michigan University and the Nature Conservancy have partnered to collect water samples from Great Lakes basin waters, including the Chicago Area Waterway System, southern Lake Michigan, western Lake Erie and tributary streams of lakes Michigan and Erie. The collaborative early-detection Asian carp surveillance program is funded by the USFWS with a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, administered under the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. Asian carp, including bighead and silver carp, pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy. Anglers are urged to become familiar with the identification of Asian carp, including both adults and juveniles, as the spread of juvenile Asian carp through the use of live bait buckets has been identified as a potential point of entry into Great Lakes waters. A video demonstrating how to identify bighead and silver carp can be viewed on the USFWS YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/B49OWrCRs38. Identification guides, frequently asked questions, management plans and an online reporting form are available online at www.michigan.gov/asiancarp and www.wildohio.com, or call 800-WILDLIFE. The Michigan and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources are committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the region’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.
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NRC expands deer hunting territory for the fall -Hunters will have a little more territory to hunt for antlerless deer this fall as the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) opened a few more deer management units (DMUs) in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula at its regular monthly meeting Thursday in Lansing. Newly opened DMUs reflect increased deer populations in those areas, explained Department of Natural Resources (DNR) deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph. The DNR will seek low quotas for the newly opened DMUs, Rudolph said. A total of 72 DMUs will be open to antlerless deer hunting on public land, and 86 DMUs – plus the two multi-county DMUs in the Lower Peninsula (DMUs 486 and 487) -- will be open on private land. A complete list of open DMUs and their quotas will be published shortly in the 2012 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest. Antlerless deer license applications go on sale July 15 at all license agents and online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. In addition, the NRC voted to restrict hunters in DMUs 486 and 487 to a maximum of 10 private land antlerless licenses this season, a decrease from five per day in 2011. Special statewide hunts for youth and 100 percent disabled veterans will be held Sept. 22-23. The early antlerless season on private land in portions of the Lower Peninsula is being reduced from five days to two, also Sept. 22-23. “There have been increasing concerns from some members of the hunting public that the recent expansion of September hunting is causing deer to be more wary during the traditional seasons,” Rudolph said. “By reducing and consolidating the September seasons, we’re addressing those concerns while maintaining opportunities for youth and disabled hunters throughout the state and for early harvest of antlerless deer on private land where it is most needed." In addition, the NRC changed conditions on special crop-damage permits in accordance with recent legislation. Public Act 65 of 2012 allows up to 15 authorized shooters on Deer Damage Shooting Permits. In the past, special authorization was required to allow more than three shooters to be designated per permit. In other action, the NRC reaffirmed that naturally shed deer and elk antlers may be legally collected, possessed and sold.
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Results of the license drawing for the 2012 elk hunting seasons have been posted on the Department of Natural Resources website at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. Two elk seasons will be held in 2012. The first season will run from Aug. 28-31, Sept. 14-17 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1. The second season will run from Dec. 8-16. An additional season may be held Jan. 16-20, 2013, if the DNR determines the harvest is insufficient to meet management goals. A total of 60 any-elk and 140 antlerless-only elk licenses have been issued through the drawing.
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Hunters can increase their odds of getting an elk/bear license by applying for the 2013 Pure Michigan Hunt drawing.  Each application is $4, and applicants can purchase as many chances as they like. Three lucky hunters will win a package of licenses to hunt elk, bear, turkey, antlerless deer and waterfowl. Only Michigan residents may hunt elk. Winning the Pure Michigan Hunt will not affect a hunter’s eligibility for future elk/bear drawings and will not negate any weighted elk chances or bear preference point’s hunters have earned. Apply for the Pure Michigan Hunt at www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt or at a license agent.
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New minimum size limit regulations for lake trout and splake on northern Lake Huron take effect June 14 - The Department of Natural Resources today announced new lake trout and splake regulations in the northern portion of Lake Huron, specifically for Management Units MH-1 and MH-2 (see descriptions below). The changes will be implemented on June 14, 2012, and include:

- A daily possession limit of three (3) lake trout or splake
- A minimum size limit for lake trout and splake of 15 inches
- A possession season from May 1 through Sept. 30
Additionally, the revised regulations set the lake-wide minimum size limit for lake trout and splake at 15 inches throughout Lake Huron.
These regulation changes affect the following Lake Huron fishing ports:
- MH-1 Ports: Cedarville, Cheboygan, DeTour, Hammond Bay, Mackinaw City, Rogers City and St. Ignace
- MH-2 Ports: Alpena, Black River, Presque Isle and Rockport
These regulations will remain in effect until March 31, 2017, or until Fisheries Order FO-200 is amended or rescinded, whichever comes first. While these regulations may be reviewed and amended annually, a review of these regulations will occur no later than Aug. 1, 2016.
MH-1 and MH-2 Legal Descriptions - MH-1 is bounded on the west by the Mackinac Bridge, on the north by an east-west line from the village of DeTour in Chippewa County at Latitude 46°00'N to the west shore of Drummond Island and an east-west line from the east shore of Drummond Island at Latitude 46°00'N to the international boundary, and on the east and south by a line beginning where Longitude 083°30'W intersects the international boundary near Drummond Island in Chippewa County and extending southward along said longitude to Latitude 45°30'N, then extending westward along said latitude to Longitude 083°40'W, then extending southward along said longitude to shore about 3.5 miles southeast of Adams Point in Presque Isle County. MH-2 is bounded on the north by MH-1, on the east by the international boundary, and on the south by an east-west line extending from the shore about 1 mile north of Black River in Alcona County at Latitude 44°50'N and extending eastward along said latitude to the international boundary.
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Houghton Lake man sentenced on wildland arson felony charges - A Houghton Lake man was sentenced on Tuesday June 5, 2012 on felony charges that he intentionally set multiple wildland fires in Roscommon County on three separate dates. Howard LeRoy, 71, of Houghton Lake, was sentenced in 34th Circuit Court in Roscommon. LeRoy entered guilty pleas on two counts of felony arson on Feb 16, 2012.
LeRoy was sentence to one year in jail, followed by 24 months probation, $648.00 fines and costs, and he was ordered to pay a total of over $13,000 in restitution.
The charges stemmed from an investigation initiated by Department of Natural Resources forest fire officers when they noted a trend in certain areas of unexplained, suspicious fires. The fire officers collaborated with DNR conservation officers on the investigation over the last several years, sharing information, collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Detectives from the DNR’s Special Investigations Unit conducted interviews and followed up on many leads. LeRoy was originally charged with setting seven fires in Roscommon County.
“Collaboration between divisions, in these times of limited manpower and resources, is vital to the successful conclusion of complicated cases,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.
“Arson, whether to residential property or wooded land, has extreme costs to the people of this state,” said Scott Heather, DNR state forest fire supervisor in the Forest Management Division. “Costs in timber and habitat damage and suppressing the fires, along with the potential for the public or firefighters to be injured, are reasons to fully investigate and prosecute these offenses.”
Persons with information of any natural resources violations can call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Arson in Michigan can be reported to the Arson Tip Line at 800-44-ARSON. Tipsters may be eligible for rewards if an arrest or conviction occurs.
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Felony charges against Arkansas Asian carp salesman - Investigations by DNR revealed illegal sales of live Asian carp from semi-truck in Midland. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes today announced that the Attorney General’s Criminal Division has charged an Arkansas man with 12 felony counts of possessing and selling live Asian carp in violation of state law protecting against the spread of invasive species. The charges follow a joint investigation by the DNR’s Special Investigation Unit and Commercial Fish Enforcement Unit.
“Once destructive Asian carp enter our waterways, the damage cannot be undone,” said Schuette. “We must remain vigilant and use every tool available to protect Michigan's tourism and sport-fishing industries from this dangerous threat."
“Invasive species in general and the Asian carp in particular pose one of the most serious current threats to the economy and the ecology of the Great Lakes,” said Stokes. “The excellent work in this case by the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division is one more indication that we will continue to vigilantly protect the lakes from this menace.”
It is alleged David Shane Costner, 42, of Harrisburg, Ark., possessed 110 grass carp fish, a type of invasive Asian carp. The fish were allegedly transported and sold from tanks housed in a semi-truck furnished by parent company Farley’s Arkansas Pondstockers. Costner allegedly traveled around the state, conducting sales of the illegal carp from store parking lots. The trucks also contained live fish species permitted under state law, including channel catfish, largemouth bass and fathead minnows. On May 16, 2012, Costner allegedly sold two of the live grass carp to undercover DNR investigators in Midland, Mich. Grass carp, which are herbivorous and could potentially remove all vegetation from a body of water at the expense of native species, have been illegal to possess in Michigan for decades. Stokes said the DNR has been aggressively monitoring traffic in restricted species since the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes became apparent.
Schuette filed the following charges against Costner today in Midland’s 75th District Court: 10 counts of possession of an illegal species, a felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $2,000-$20,000 for each violation; and Two counts of selling an illegal species, a felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $2,000-$20,000 for each violation. Arrangements are being made for Costner to surrender himself to the proper authorities. Arraignment will be scheduled in Midland’s 75th District Court at a later date.
Citizens who are aware of the trade or movement of any restricted species of fish in Michigan are asked to call the DNR’s 24-hour Report All Poaching (Rap) Hotline at 800-292-7800.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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DNR confirms presence of cougar near Skanee in Baraga County - The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of a cougar in Baraga County in the Upper Peninsula. A photo of the animal was taken by Baraga County resident Fred Nault near Skanee on Saturday, May 5.
DNR Wildlife Division staff were contacted by Nault and visited the property on Tuesday, May 15 to verify the location of the camera.
"This is the 15th time we have verified the presence of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula since our first confirmation in 2008," said DNR wildlife biologist Adam Bump, who is a member of the Department’s specially-trained cougar team. "This is the first confirmation in 2012, and the first verified photo of a cougar taken in person and not by a remote camera.”
The cougar was spotted crossing a road near Skanee by Nault, who had a camera on him and was able to take a photo before the animal fled into the woods.
A handful of cougar photos and tracks were also verified by the DNR in the fall and winter of 2011. Tracks and photos were confirmed in Ontonagon and Baraga counties, a photo was verified in Houghton County, and tracks were confirmed in Keweenaw County.
The cougar confirmed in Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties had a radio-collar, while the cougar verified in Baraga County did not have a collar. The timing and locations of the photos and tracks suggests there were at least two cougars in the western Upper Peninsula in December 2011.
The DNR has now verified eight separate sets of cougar tracks and seven separate photos in the Upper Peninsula since 2008. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were native to Michigan, but disappeared from the state around the turn of the last century. Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory.
Although cougar sightings are regularly reported, verification is often difficult, due in part to a lack of physical evidence. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks - which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks - and suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and buried with sticks and debris.
Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by submitting the sighting on the DNR’s online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars. If an emergency situation exists, call the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800.
Preserving evidence such as tracks, scat and cached kills greatly improves the chances that a reported sighting may be verified by DNR wildlife staff.
Wildlife biologists on the DNR’s cougar team investigate evidence that is reported or submitted, and may visit sites to verify the location and collect additional information. The team then evaluates the collected information and decides whether the presence of cougars can be confirmed.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go www.michigan.gov/cougars.
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Four northern Michigan men arrested in elk-poaching incident - Four Vanderbilt, Mich., residents been arrested in connection with the illegal killing of a bull elk in Otsego County on April 20, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.
Joshua Tillman, 19,
Alex Webber, 17, Eric Webber, 20, and Joseph Moore, 20, have been arrested and charged with illegally killing an elk and using an artificial light while in possession of a firearm.
Department of Natural Resources conservation officers also seized firearms and recovered the head of a bull elk when they arrested the suspects.
“The Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division would like to thank the public for its assistance in providing information that ultimately led to the break in this investigation,” said DNR conservation officer Mark DePew. “Without the public’s help, this case might not have been solved.”
All four suspects face fines of up to $2,500, restitution of up to $1,500, loss of the firearm used in the incident, and loss of hunting privileges for up to three years.
DNR officers continue to investigate the illegal killing of a cow elk that occurred on or around March 14 near M-33, just south of Rouse Road in Montmorency County. Officers believe the March incident is not connected to the April case.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division at the Gaylord Operations Center, 989-732-3541, or the 24-hour Report All Poaching Line at 800-292-7800. Information can be left anonymously, and monetary rewards are often offered for information that leads to the arrest of violators.
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Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative gaining momentum through work of groups like Lake Hudson Pheasant Cooperative - The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today applauded the Lake Hudson Pheasant Cooperative (LHPC) for its efforts in building a coalition of landowners and others committed to restoring pheasant habitat and revitalizing pheasant hunting in Michigan.
“The Lake Hudson Pheasant Cooperative’s progress illustrates that bringing back Michigan’s pheasant hunting tradition is important to people and that they’re eager to work together to make it happen,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist. “If we can duplicate what the LHPC has accomplished in other communities – and I believe we can – then we’re well on our way to success with the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative.”
One of the first cooperatives to form as part of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, the Lenawee County-based LHPC is collaborating with the DNR at Lake Hudson Recreation Area, where multiple Pheasants Forever chapters are providing volunteer labor and funds for habitat improvements that the DNR budget would not allow for otherwise. This work will take several years but will produce prime pheasant habitat containing native grass plantings with wildflowers and food plots. Cooperative members hope that local landowners will continue to join in this effort and connect filter strips, buffers and other blocks of habitat to this site, as well as enhance existing habitat to create a changed landscape that will benefit pheasants as well as song birds, migratory birds, deer and other wildlife.
The LHPC also recently hosted its first annual meeting for 30-plus members, interested neighbors and partners, bringing local landowners together to learn about and discuss the cooperative’s plans for restoring pheasant habitat.
“This meeting was for those who really do care about quality habitat and bettering the pheasant populations in the area. And this cooperative will help them all get together for a common cause, a common goal,” said Lauren Lindemann, Lenawee Conservation District’s Farm Bill biologist. “This cooperative has a life of its own now. There are passionate people here.”
The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI) is a conservation initiative to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations and hunting opportunity on private and public lands. It will accomplish this through public-private cooperatives that improve habitat for pheasants and other wildlife on a landscape level. The MPRI works by acquiring state and federal resources to assist landowners in the cooperatives to improve wildlife habitat on their property and by improving habitat on selected state game areas, recreation areas or other public lands. Learn more about the MPRI at www.michigan.gov/pheasant.
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Michigan Department of Natural Resources files suit against hunting ranch - On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources filed a civil complaint against Ronald McKendrick and Charlene McKendrick, who own and operate the Renegade Ranch Hunting Preserve in Cheboygan County. The McKendricks are being sued for violations of Michigan’s Invasive Species Act, which outlaws certain types of swine. The complaint, brought in Cheboygan County Circuit Court, asks the court to require the McKendricks to comply with the state’s Invasive Species Act and to remove prohibited swine from their property. The court action is part of the DNR’s enforcement of a December 2010 Invasive Species Order that declares certain types of swine illegal. The order addresses the significant threat posed by invasive swine to agriculture and the environment in Michigan. The prohibited animals carry diseases that can devastate domestic livestock. Also, the swine engage in behaviors – rooting and wallowing – that damage soils, crops and waters. The Invasive Species Order applies to wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus). The order does not apply to domestic swine, Sus domestica, in domestic hog production. A December 2011 declaratory ruling from the DNR defines the physical characteristics used to identify prohibited swine. The Invasive Species Order went into effect Oct. 8, 2011. However, to give those in possession of prohibited swine every opportunity to come into compliance with the law, the DNR delayed enforcement of the order for an additional six months, until April 1, 2012. Last year, the DNR contacted people believed to have prohibited swine to inform them about the timeline for enforcement. Those facilities, farms or individuals still in possession of prohibited swine are in violation of the law and could face criminal or civil penalties under Part 413 of the state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Part 413, a section titled “Transgenic and Non-Native Organisms,” is commonly known as the Invasive Species Act. “In implementing this order for the protection of Michigan’s environment and economy, the department has sought to work cooperatively with property owners wherever it can,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “For that reason, enforcement actions thus far have involved voluntary compliance inspections. Where prohibited swine continue to be held, property owners must come into compliance with the law.”  Pursuant to enforcement of the Invasive Species Order, DNR officials on April 3, 2012, visited the Renegade Ranch. The ranch has in the past been known to possess swine that are prohibited under the order. DNR officials asked permission to inspect the facility for prohibited animals. Ronald McKendrick denied the DNR access. In conjunction with the visit, DNR officials received information to suggest there are prohibited swine on the McKendricks’ property. The complaint against the McKendricks seeks court-imposed fines for possession of a prohibited species and the sale or offering for sale of a prohibited species. The complaint asks the court to compel the McKendricks to depopulate remaining prohibited swine. In addition, the complaint seeks recovery of costs to the state for preventing or minimizing damages to natural resources caused by the prohibited species. Civil fines for violating the cited sections of the Invasive Species Act range from $1,000 to $20,000 per violation. More information about the Invasive Species Order and the problem of invasive swine in Michigan and across the country can be found at www.michigan.gov/feralswine.
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State enters next phase in protecting environment, farms from invasive swine - On Sunday, April 1, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources began active enforcement of an Invasive Species Order declaring certain types of swine illegal in Michigan. As part of that effort on Tuesday, April 3 the department’s Law Enforcement Division conducted inspections of six properties that in the past may have had prohibited swine. The inspections were conducted with permission of the landowners. Each of the properties was found to be free of prohibited swine and therefore in compliance with the Invasive Species Order. Those facilities, farms or individuals still in possession of prohibited swine are in violation of the law and could face criminal or civil penalties under Part 413 of the state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. “Our intent from the beginning of this Invasive Species Order has been to enforce the law while minimizing the impact on individuals and livelihoods,” said Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes. “For that reason, we provided additional time and assistance for ranch owners, breeders and others to remove prohibited animals from their properties prior to the April 1 enforcement deadline. The additional time allowed property owners to adjust their business plans to minimize economic hardship. We will continue to work cooperatively with property owners where we can." Sus scrofa Linnaeus, the scientific name for the prohibited animals, can pose a significant threat to the environment and to domestic pork production. The animals have been known to carry several diseases and parasites, including hog cholera (classic swine fever), pseudorabies, brucellosis, tuberculosis, salmonellosis, anthrax, ticks, fleas, lice and various worms. When released into the wild, the animals are highly mobile, making it easy for them to spread disease quickly in Michigan's wildlife and domestic livestock populations. One sow can produce two litters of four to six piglets in a year’s time, increasing the threat. The swine engage in two types of behavior that damage soils, crops and water -- rooting and wallowing. Their rooting behavior, during which they dig for food below the soil surface, causes erosion, damages lawns and farm lands, and weakens plants and native vegetation. Wallowing behavior, during which swine seek out areas of shallow water to roll in mud, increases turbidity in ponds and streams and increases erosion along stream banks, which affects water quality. The DNR in December 2010 issued an Invasive Species Order outlawing certain types of swine in Michigan. The order went into effect Oct. 8, 2011. In order to give those in possession of prohibited swine every opportunity to come into compliance with the law,  Director Stokes delayed enforcement of the order for an additional six months, until April 1, 2012. In the absence any other regulations for the swine, the DNR is moving ahead with the next phase of implementation of the Invasive Species Order. A declaratory ruling from the DNR, issued Dec. 13, 2011, lists the specific physical characteristics the DNR will use to determine if particular swine are prohibited.
Those characteristics are:
Bristle-tip coloration: Sus scrofa exhibit bristle tips that are lighter in color (e.g., white, cream, or buff) than the rest of the hair shaft. This expression is most frequently observed across the dorsal portion and sides of the snout/face, and on the back and
sides of the animal’s body.
Dark “point” coloration: Sus scrofa exhibit “points” (i.e., distal portions of the snout, ears, legs, and tail) that are dark brown to black in coloration, and lack light-colored tips on the bristles.
Coat coloration: Sus scrofa exhibit a number of coat coloration patterns. Patterns most frequently observed among wild/feral/hybrid types are: wild/grizzled; solid black; solid red/brown; black and white spotted; black and red/brown spotted.
Underfur: Sus scrofa exhibit the presence of underfur that is lighter in color (e.g., smoke gray to brown) than the overlying dark brown to black bristles/guard hairs.
Juvenile coat pattern: Juvenile Sus scrofa exhibit striped coat patterns. This consists of a light grayish-tan to brown base coat, with a dark brown to black spinal stripe and three to four brown irregular longitudinal stripes with dark margins along the length of the body.
Skeletal appearance: Sus scrofa skeletal structure is distinct. Structures include skull
morphology, dorsal profile, and external body measurements including tail length, head-body length, hind foot length, ear length, snout length, and shoulder height.
Tail structure: Sus scrofa exhibit straight tails. They contain the muscular structure to curl their tails if needed, but the tails are typically held straight. Hybrids of Sus scrofa exhibit either curly or straight tail structure.
Ear structure: Sus scrofa exhibit erect ear structure. Hybrids of Sus scrofa exhibit either erect or folded/floppy ear structure. More information about the Invasive Species Order and the problem of invasive swine in Michigan and across the country can be found at www.michigan.gov/feralswine.
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The Next Pure Michigan Hunt Winner Could Be You! - Would you like to hunt elk and bear, along with other species in Michigan next year? You can if you win one of three Pure Michigan Hunt (PMH) packages. However, to win you need to apply. Applications for the 2013 drawing are now available for purchase. You can purchase an unlimited number of $4 applications for Michigan’s “Hunt of a Lifetime” from now until December 31. Three winners will be drawn to win the ultimate prize package of licenses to hunt elk, bear, turkey, deer and waterfowl, plus various hunting merchandise yet to be determined.  Dollars generated from this opportunity fund wildlife habitat management here in Michigan.  Wildlife Management in Michigan is funded by the users. The three recent winners -- Brad L. Belcher from Howell, Mark A. Schulz from southeast Michigan, and Dan A. Beaudoin from Waterford -- were announced Feb. 9, 2012. In addition to their hunting licenses for elk, bear, turkey, deer and managed waterfowl, the three winners received the following prize package from Michigan companies and organizations:
*Ameristep: Brickhouse Groundblinds
*Darton Archery: 2012 Scorpion II Crossbows packages
*Ducks Unlimited Michigan Chapter: One-year subscription and duck decoy
*Michigan Gun Owners: 30.06 Savage Arms rifle
*Michigan United Conservation Clubs: one-year subscription Youth and Adult magazine
*MOR Archery: Nine Square Target Systems
*National Wild Turkey Federation, Michigan Chapter: Custom Box calls, hunting vests, turkey patches
*Northwoods Wholesale Outlets: Soroc sports sleds
*Quality Deer Management Association, Michigan Chapter: QDM start-up package
“When you are buying your new 2012 licenses, buy yourself a couple Pure Michigan Hunt applications," said DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason. "You could win every limited-access hunt the state of Michigan has to offer. We can’t wait to hear the recent winners' stories of this spring turkey season. Last year’s hunters had a blast." You can purchase Pure Michigan Hunt applications anywhere DNR licenses are sold or you can purchase one online at www.mdnr-elicense.com. For more information on the PMH, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt. The 2013 prize package of merchandise is currently being put together, and will be posted on the PMH website soon.
Photos of the winners are available at http://www.michigandnr.com/ftp/OutReach.
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NRC Approves Mentored Youth Hunting Program for 2012 - The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has approved a new program aimed at introducing children under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing. The Mentored Youth Hunting program will start with the 2012 season, with licenses on sale starting March 1. “The Department is fully supportive of this new program that will help introduce children to the sport of hunting, ensuring that we successfully pass along Michigan ’s rich outdoor traditions,” said Rodney Stokes, director of the Department of Natural Resources. “We wish to thank our many conservation partners who helped develop this program with the NRC, providing a new opportunity for us to interest Michigan ’s youth in hunting and fishing.” The $7.50 Mentored Youth Hunting license will be a “package” license that includes small game, spring and fall turkey (private or public land), two deer tags (any deer), a furbearer trapping permit and an all-species fishing license. An adult mentor must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience and possess a valid Michigan hunting license. Another provision of the law allows 10-year-olds to hunt big game on private land with a firearm, which was implemented starting with the 2011 deer season. The regulations approved by the NRC for the Mentored Youth Hunting program include:
No limit on the number of youth a mentor can have with him or her in the field, leaving it at the discretion of the mentor.
A limit of two hunting devices – bow, crossbow or firearm – per mentor.
The youth in possession of a hunting device and engaged in the act of hunting must be within arm’s length of the mentor.
The mentor shall ensure that the hunting device is sized appropriately to fit the physical abilities of the youth to ensure safe and responsible handling.
The mentor will be held responsible for the youth’s actions.
The issued deer tags under the Mentored Youth Hunting license can be used for either sex (antlered or antlerless), are not subject to antler point restriction regulations in certain parts of the state and can only be used on private land, consistent with current state law. Voluntary mentor guidelines have been developed by the DNR, and are available at www.michigan.gov/mentoredhunting, along with other information about the program. A workgroup consisting of representatives of several conservation organizations, including three youth representatives, developed recommendations for the regulations, which were adopted by the NRC. Organizations serving on the workgroup included the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan Hunter Safety Education Instructor Association.
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Fisheries Division Releases 2012-2013 Management Updates for Waters in Southwest Michigan - The Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit is announcing fishery management actions and activities for the 2012-2013 angling season. These actions and activities include fish stocking, habitat rehabilitation projects, creel census, fish community surveys and angler access programs. “These management updates are provided as a means to notify anglers and the public of changes in management and to make lake and stream property owners aware of our survey activities,” said Jay Wesley, Southern Lake Michigan Unit Manager in Plainwell. “We also value and encourage public input regarding our management actions and activities.” For more information, contact Jay Wesley at 269-685-6851 or at the Plainwell Operation Service Center, Plainwell, MI 49080. The Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit covers the Grand, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Galien river watersheds and all the lakes and streams within that area. Each year, fisheries biologists and technicians evaluate management options on various water bodies in order to achieve increased fishery benefits. Fish-stocking actions are reviewed at least every six years based on fish community or creel surveys. Counties with specific management actions and waters that are planned for surveys in 2012 are listed below. Anglers are asked to provide feedback on specific management options.
Allegan County- The Kalamazoo River will be sampled in April to determine the presence of spawning lake sturgeon as part of a long-term population rehabilitation effort. Available sturgeon eggs and larvae will be collected and raised in a streamside rearing facility in New Richmond. Pike Lake and Lake Sixteen will be removed from the Type C trout lake regulations since management of rainbow trout in both lakes has been discontinued. The Duck Lake Drain fish community will be surveyed as part of a random stream status and trends program. Excellent walleye, catfish, steelhead and Chinook fishing is available along the shore of the Kalamazoo River below Allegan Dam through the Allegan State Game Area.
Barry County- Rainbow trout will be stocked in Deep Lake in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Walleye will continue to be stocked in Thornapple Lake, and the DNR will begin stocking the Great Lakes strain of muskellunge to establish future broodstock in Thornapple Lake. A fish community survey will be conducted on Baker Lake. The Morgan Dam is scheduled for removal on Highbanks Creek, and floodplain restoration work will begin on Quaker Brook. There are excellent shore fishing opportunities in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area at Gun Lake State Park, Deep Lake Campground and Hall Lake.
Berrien County- Blue Jay Creek in the Galien River watershed will be removed from the designated trout stream list due to a lack of trout. The Paw Paw River will continue to be stocked annually with yearling steelhead and with fall fingerling steelhead and coho salmon when available. A creel survey will be conducted to evaluate Lake Michigan effort and harvest at the Port of St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. Fisheries surveys will be completed at several sites on the St. Joseph River as part of a multi-year walleye population evaluation. Good fishing opportunities are available along the St. Joseph River for walleye, steelhead, salmon, catfish and smallmouth bass in Berrien Springs, Buchanan and Niles.
Branch County- Fisheries surveys are planned for Cary, Craig and Morrison lakes. Matteson Lake will continue to be stocked with walleye, and Lake Lavine will continue to receive rainbow trout. Fisheries Division will be partnering with local anglers and the Union Lake Association to raise walleye in a local pond for stocking in Union Lake.
Calhoun County- A fisheries survey will be conducted on Nottawa Creek. Natural resource damage assessments associated with the oil spill will continue on the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek. A rock ramp will be constructed on the Garfield Lake outlet control structure to provide better fish passage. Walleye are planned to be stocked in Duck Lake. Brown trout will continue to be stocked in Dickinson Creek at the Historic Bridge County Park.
Cass County- Rainbow trout stocking will continue in Birch Lake, and walleye will be stocked in Magician Lake. Dowagiac River shore and wading opportunities for brown trout are available at Dodd County Park. 
Clinton County- A fish community survey is scheduled for Peet Creek and the Maple River. There are great shore fishing opportunities on Lake Ovid in the Sleepy Hollow Recreation Area.
Eaton County- Lakes Interstate and Delta will continue to be stocked with channel catfish, and they provide great shore fishing opportunities for bluegill and largemouth bass. The Grand River offers fishing opportunities for walleye, suckers, smallmouth bass, steelhead and coho salmon in Delta Mills and Grand Ledge.
Ingham County- The majority of the coho salmon stocked in the Grand River in Lansing are proposed to be moved downstream to improve survival. A public meeting will be conducted during the summer of 2012. The Grand River offers fishing opportunities for walleye, suckers, smallmouth bass, steelhead and coho salmon in the City of Lansing at the North Lansing and Morse dams.
Ionia County- A fish community survey will be conducted on the Maple River . Steelhead will continue to be stocked in Prairie and Fish creeks, and the brown trout strain will change from Wild Rose to Gilchrist Creek in Fish Creek. Shore fishing opportunities are available along Sessions Lake in the Ionia Recreation Area. Good angling opportunities are available along the Grand River in Portland, Lyons and Ionia for catfish, suckers, walleye, steelhead and coho salmon.
Jackson County- Fishing opportunities are available on Portage Lake in the Waterloo Recreation Area.
Kalamazoo County- Natural resource damages associated with the Kalamazoo River oil spill will continue to be assessed. Portage Creek will be surveyed to assess stream habitat improvements near Alcott Street. Muskellunge stocking will resume in Austin Lake. Fishing in the parks opportunities are available on Eagle, Whitford and Jackson lakes in the Fort Custer Recreation Area.
Kent County- Spring Brook, Flat River and Bear Creek will be surveyed as part of a status and trends program. The Flat River and Rogue River will continue to be stocked with steelhead. Muskellunge will be stocked in Murray Lake. Brown trout stocking will be discontinued in Buck Creek due to lack of survival and angler effort. Grand River shore access is excellent in the City of Grand Rapids for sucker, walleye, steelhead, Chinook salmon and coho salmon fishing.
Montcalm County- Clifford Lake will no longer be stocked with spring fingerling walleye due to poor survival.
Muskegon County- Mona Lake will be stocked with walleye.
Ottawa County- Crockery Creek will continue to be stocked with steelhead. Walleye will continue to be stocked in Lake Macatawa and the Grand River. The Great Lakes strain of muskellunge will be stocked when available in Lake Macatawa and the lower Grand River to take advantage of over-abundant gizzard shad and to provide a sport fishery. Fishing in the park opportunities are available along Lake Macatawa and the Holland Pier in the Holland State Park and beach areas. A creel survey will be conducted at the Port of Grand Haven.
St. Joseph County- Fish community surveys are scheduled for Lake Templene and the Pigeon River. Spring Creek will be removed from the designated trout streams list and Type 4 trout regulations due to a lack of trout.
Van Buren County- Clear Lake is scheduled for a fish community survey. Walleye stocking will continue in Maple Lake and the Black River. Bankson Lake will continue to receive muskellunge and the East Branch Paw Paw River will be stocked with brown trout. A creel survey will be conducted at the Port of South Haven.

Joint Undercover Wildlife Investigation in Colorado, Michigan, Yields Four Arrests, Multiple Charges - Three men from Prescott, Mich., have been arraigned on multiple charges of illegally taking wildlife, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today. A fourth man was arraigned on a single count of cruelty to animals. The charges result from a 12-month undercover investigation conducted jointly by the Michigan DNR and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. In addition to the Michigan charges, the defendants face separate charges in Colorado. “I commend the thorough work of all the law enforcement professionals involved in this investigation,” said Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “This cooperative effort shows that concern for wildlife conservation does not stop at state borders.” The three Prescott men are Jerome Thorson, 64, and his sons, Ole Thorson, 35, and Travis Thorson, 40. The Thorsons were arraigned Thursday, Feb. 16 at 82nd District Court in Ogemaw County. Todd Osier, 41, of Standish was arraigned Thursday, Feb. 23 in Ogemaw County District Court on a single count of cruelty to animals. The investigation was conducted by the Michigan DNR’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Unit. Jerome Thorson faces 23 separate counts on charges that include importation of illegally taken game from another state; capturing whitetail deer from the wild; building and maintaining an illegal deer enclosure without a permit; illegal taking of otter, bobcat and mink; illegal trapping; possession of an illegal silencer; and animal cruelty to horses. Ole Thorson has been charged with importing elk illegally taken in another state and possession of an illegally taken pine marten. Travis Thorson faces one count of cruelty to animals. Each Michigan wildlife charge is a misdemeanor with a possibility of 90 days in jail. Fines and restitution range from $100 to $1,000 on each charge. Several of the charges require mandatory hunting license revocation upon conviction. The illegal possession of a silencer is a felony with the possibility of five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. The felony animal cruelty charges have fines up to $5,000 and the possibility of four years in prison. In Colorado , the Thorsons, Osier and three accomplices face a total of 48 charges stemming from the illegal killing and possession of several trophy-class elk, black bear and bobcat over several years in the King Mountain area of Routt County. In addition to the misdemeanor violations, Ole Thorson is charged with felony willful destruction of wildlife and forgery.  Travis Thorson has already been arraigned in Colorado on multiple felony menacing charges related to his 2011 hunt. Colorado law allows for enhanced fines and jail time in instances where either trophy big game animals or multiple big game animals are taken. If convicted, Ole Thorson faces more than a year in prison, more than $90,000 in fines and a lifetime suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in Michigan, Colorado and 35 other states that participate in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Each of the other defendants faces in excess of $10,000 in fines and lengthy suspensions of their hunting and fishing privileges. “Our wildlife laws are intended not only to protect opportunities for lawful hunters, but to preserve a valuable resource for all of the residents of Colorado and its visitors," said Bob Thompson, acting chief of Wildlife Law Enforcement for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  "We appreciate all of the hard work that Michigan DNR has put into assisting Colorado in investigating this case." The hunting public in Michigan is reminded to report any illegal hunting and fishing activities to the 24-hour Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline at 1-800-292-7800.
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Surveying Michigan’s Elk Population from an Airplane - Did you ever wonder how the DNR determines how many elk there are? In order to responsibly manage the elk population, the DNR needs to know where the elk are located and how many there are. The Department of Natural Resources conducts aerial elk surveys every other year in northern Michigan. Two fixed-wing Cessna 182 airplanes are used for the elk survey. Three DNR staff are in the plane: a pilot and two observers. Observers look out the window on each side of the plane for elk as the plane is flying about 80 mph and 500 feet in the air. The planes do not fly around looking for elk just anywhere; instead, to conduct the most effective survey, grids are placed onto a global positioning system (GPS) unite. Each grid is two miles wide and six miles long and the entire elk management area is broken into 86 grids. Several passes will be made within the grid to adequately cover the survey area. This allows for optimal viewing to find herds, or even locate lone elk standing in the snow. When an elk is spotted, the pilot starts circling to allow staff to count the elk. The aerial survey usually begins in early January, after enough snow has fallen to make it easy to spot elk. The survey allows staff to see where elk are gathering, and to get an idea of the number of male elk (bulls), female elk (cows), and young elk (calves). This survey provided the data needed for DNR wildlife biologists to recommend license quotas to the Natural Resources Commission for the 2012 elk hunting seasons. The goal for elk management in Michigan is to achieve optimal elk viewing and hunting opportunities with minimal timber browse and agricultural damage impacts. The core of the elk range is an area from Indian River east to Onaway south to Atlanta and back west to Vanderbilt. But elk also live outside that area. Hunting is the best management tool to control the elk population and distribution. “Our survey was delayed by about two weeks this year, due to low snow accumulations,” stated Wildlife Biologist Mark Monroe. “Fortunately we got the snow we needed, and we ended up having a great survey.” DNR staff flew the entire elk range from January 18 to February 1. Several days had to be cancelled due to poor visibility but weather conditions improved and those days were made up in reasonable time. In the end, a total of 850 individual elk were counted, which provided an estimated population of 1042 elk. “We know that we do not see every elk because the plane is moving fast and elk are sometimes under heavy cover,” stated UP Wildlife Biologist Dean Beyer. “Therefore, aerial counts underestimate the number of elk in the population.” To provide a more accurate estimate of elk, totals are adjusted with a correction factor that accounts for the elk missed. This correction factor was established by running experimental trials on radio-collared elk. This is now a standard practice among wildlife managers throughout the nation. Contact: Katie Keen, 231-775-9727 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014.
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Inland fishing guides reminded of permit required to use state lands - The Department of Natural Resources reminds fishing guides who use state-owned lands to access Michigan's inland lakes or streams as part of their commercial operation that they are required to have written permission from the DNR prior to using state-owned lands.
Since 2006, inland fishing guides in Michigan have been required to obtain written permission, in the form of an operating agreement, to use state-owned public water access sites. In addition to paying an annual Use of Land fee, guides must also provide proof of general liability insurance and must have a state-issued inland pilot's license or a U.S. Coast Guard captain's license. Annual fees provide funding for state forest lands maintenance, including public-water access sites. Guides are also required to participate in the Recreation Passport initiative when using boating access fee sites.
For more information, contact, Brenda Mikula, DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 231-597-0472 or visit www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on Angler Information, then Inland Fishing Guides, to find a link for the fishing guide operating agreement application form. For information on how to obtain an inland pilot license, contact Sylvia Roossien, DNR Law Enforcement Division, at 517-241-3793.
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DNR Applauds Federal Decision to Remove Wolves from Endangered Species List - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today applauded the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the federal endangered species list. The decision returns management of the species to the state level. The federal delisting rule removing wolves from the endangered species list will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, Dec. 28, and will take effect Friday, Jan. 27, 30 days after its publication. Returning wolves to state management will allow the DNR to more effectively manage the species under Michigan 's highly-regarded Wolf Management Plan, which was created through a roundtable process involving interested parties representing viewpoints from all sides of the wolf issue. “This is great news for the state’s wolf population and for Michigan citizens who have been affected by this issue,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Treating wolves as an endangered species, when the population has exceeded federal recovery goals in Michigan for more than a decade, has negatively impacted public opinion in areas of Michigan where wolves are established on the landscape. I firmly believe that the more flexible management options allowed under the state’s Wolf Management Plan will help increase social acceptance of the species while maintaining a healthy, sustainable wolf population.” Once wolves are removed from the endangered species list, the DNR will continue to recommend nonlethal methods of control first, including flashing lights, flagging and noisemakers. In addition, the DNR administers a grant program that provides some funding to livestock owners with depredation issues for improved fencing and guard animals such as llamas, donkeys and Great Pyrenees dogs. However, in cases where nonlethal methods are not working or feasible, DNR officials will now have the ability to kill problem wolves when appropriate. Under federal Endangered Species Act protection, wolves are protected from lethal control measures except in defense of human safety. Livestock and dog owners in Michigan will also be able to legally protect their private property from wolf depredation once wolves are removed from the endangered species list. The Michigan Legislature passed laws in 2008 to allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture, or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is “in the act of preying upon” (attempting to kill or injure) the owner’s livestock or dog(s). These state laws will go into effect on Friday, Jan. 27, 30 days after the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register. After the wolf is taken off the federal endangered species list, the animal will remain a protected species in Michigan . There is no public hunting or trapping of wolves allowed in Michigan . The DNR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate and continue vigorous prosecution of any wolf poaching cases. Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, and the cost of prosecution. Reports about poaching can be made to the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) Hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-292-7800. For more information on Michigan ’s wolf population and to see the state’s Wolf Management Plan, go to www.michigan.gov/wolves.
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Michigan DNR Adds More Than 500 Acres to Pigeon River Country State Forest - Natural Resource Trust Fund Grant Made Purchase Possible. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has completed a recent purchase of more than 500 acres of private land within the Pigeon River Country (PRC) State Forest in northern Michigan .  The acquisition of the property occurred through a partnership with the Little Traverse Conservancy, assistance from the Headwaters Land Conservancy, and with funds from the Natural Resource Trust Fund. “This land acquisition simply makes sense,” said Scott Whitcomb, DNR unit manager for the Pigeon River Country State Forest .  “Given the size and location of the property and the natural resources that occur there – this is a perfect addition to the PRC.” The 517-acre tract of land, the second largest piece of private property within the PRC, is a natural fit for the state forest system.  The land is bordered on two and a half sides by state-owned land with a level to gently rolling topography.  The property also contains a nearly one mile stretch of the Black River and approximately one-half mile of Saunders Creek.  Both waterways are situated in the headwaters area of the Black River system, an area that is a highly regarded “blue ribbon” brook trout fishery. “We are excited about this land acquisition.  It nicely ties together the southern portions of the Pigeon River Country State Forest ,” said John Walters, chairman of the Pigeon River Advisory Council and president of the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  “The Pigeon River Country is a special place and the addition of the portions of Saunders Creek and the Black River make it all that much more special, especially for folks interested in quiet recreational opportunities.” The property will be managed as part of the Pigeon River Country State Forest in accordance with the Concept of Management.  This includes managing for timber and wildlife, specifically elk and other forest wildlife habitat, as well as for fisheries habitat.  The property will also be open to the public at all times for hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing and other resource-based recreation. “Thanks to the Natural Resources Trust Fund, the purchasing of this land is an outstanding addition to the PRC and should provide to be a huge benefit to the citizens of Michigan ,” added Whitcomb. For more information on the Pigeon River Country State Forest and the Concept of Management, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrpigeonriver.
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Hartland Female Archer Wins World Archery Tournament, Honored by Natural Resources Commission
In October, 1,071 kids from around the world arrived at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex to compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) World Tournament.  The three-day competition included students in grades 4 thru 12 from 28 states, Canada , New Zealand and South Africa.
Michigan student Emily Bee, a Hartland High School sophomore, emerged from the tournament a world champion archer. Bee scored 292 out of a possible 300 points earning first place in the female division and a NASP World Tournament title.
“When my name was called, I couldn’t believe it, I’m still in shock that I’m first in the world,” Bee said.  Bee won more than $4,000 in scholarships, two new bows and a target, among other honors. Hartland also did well as a team, finishing fourth overall and only 15 points from first place.
“The Hartland archery program is an excellent representation of the Department of Natural Resources’ Archery in the Schools Program,” said Mary Emmons, DNR Archery Education coordinator.  “Under Hartland Coach Rob Jellison’s direction, the school’s archery team has acquired seven state championships, two top five finishes at worlds, one national champion and one world record since the program started in 2007.”
DNR Director Rodney Stokes honored Bee at a recent Natural Resources Commission meeting for her world record achievement by presenting her with a plaque and a letter from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
“There is no doubt in my mind that archery is a challenging sport, both physically and mentally, but you can truly get children of every age, size, and athletic ability shooting arrows safely down range,” said Jellison, “I love seeing some of my star athletes from other sports shooting on the same team as students who have never been on a ‘team’ until archery.”
The DNR Archery in the Schools introduces international-style target archery to students in 4th through 12th grade physical education classes. The in-school curriculum’s core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement. To date, more than 500 schools across Michigan have implemented the program.
The DNR offers free archery certification classes for teachers. Additionally, archery equipment grants are available to schools, both public and private, that enroll in the Archery in the Schools program.
For more information on Archery in the Schools, contact Mary Emmons at 517-241-9477 or by email at emmonsm@michigan.gov. Information also is available online at www.michigan.gov/archery.
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DNR Confirms Cougar in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties - The Department of Natural Resources recently confirmed the presence of a radio-collared cougar just north of the city of Hancock in northern Houghton County . The animal was captured on a trail camera on Nov. 13, walking directly in front of the camera, with the noticeable presence of a radio collar. DNR Wildlife Division staff visited the property on Nov. 17 where the trail camera is mounted and verified the location of the camera. Property owner Jesse Chynoweth submitted the pictures to the DNR for confirmation. “This is the third time this animal has been captured on trail cameras in the Upper Peninsula.” said Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the DNR’s Cougar Team “The Wisconsin DNR earlier verified two trail camera pictures of this cat as it passed through Wisconsin on its way to the UP." The Department has also verified a set of tracks from a cougar in southern Keweenaw County on Nov. 20.  The cougar passed about 30 feet from a deer hunter who later returned to the area with a friend to snap pictures of the cougar’s tracks.  The animal is almost certainly the same, radio-collared cougar that was photographed about 15 miles south near Hancock a week earlier. The DNR is still in the process of tracking down where the cougar is from and has been checking frequencies from collars of cats from South Dakota , Utah and Montana . Only western states currently have cougars collared for research projects, so the animal likely traveled a great distance to reach the Upper Peninsula. The Department will inform the public if more details are discovered about this cougar. Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were once found throughout North America, including Michigan . Habitat loss and heavy persecution led to cougars being eliminated from Michigan in the early 1900s. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. Although sightings have increased and are regularly reported in the Upper Peninsula , verification is often difficult. Cougar tracks and a cougar photo from in the eastern Upper Peninsula were verified in 2009. Additionally, the DNR was able to verify several sets of cougar tracks in Marquette and Delta counties in 2008.  The radio collared cougar has been photographed in Houghton and Ontonagon counties in 2011. Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota , and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris. Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by calling the department ' s 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan . It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. For more information about the recent cougar tracks and photo, call your local DNR office to report it or report it on our website. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go www.michigan.gov/cougars.
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Hooks & Bullets contributor writes Whitetail book, TROPHY WHITE TALES - By Jerry Lambert
 
Deer hunting and storytelling walk hand in hand and Trophy White Tales is a classic collection of deer hunting stories that includes fiction (White Tales) and real life hunts (Campfire Stories) about North America’s number one pursued game animal, the majestic whitetail deer. Outdoor writer, Jerry Lambert, writes in a manner that you feel like you are actually on the hunt. These stories include a variety of hunting methods, weapons, habitats and tactics. There are many how-to books about whitetail hunting but this book uniquely teaches through example by providing a wide range of hunting adventures and experiences.
 
Trophy White Tales is about the spirit of the hunt and creatively captures the mystique and lure that attracts its passionate pursuers. The relationship between man and nature, the thrill of the chase and the camaraderie with other hunters is highlighted throughout. Great respect is given to the values of God, country, family and friends. Hot topics are tackled such as game management, poaching, substance abuse, urban sprawl, grieving and healing.
  Deer camps are usually filled with humorous antidotes and there are several stories that will bring a quick smile, knowing grin or outright laughter out loud! The true life adventures include monster bucks from Michigan and a treestand perspective about the Kalamazoo River oil spill that traumatized southern Michigan in 2010. Also included are stories about youth hunters and the ever growing demographic of women hunters.

  The author has been published in North American Whitetail, Whitetails Unlimited, mossyoak.com, Turkey Country, Woods-N-Water News, Michigan Outdoor News, Michigan Out-of Doors, Michigan’s Hooks & Bullets Magazine and Deer & Deer Hunting’s Little Book of Big Bucks.
  For more information or to order your book, call Jerry at 1-
269-501-2088 or e-mail: Jerry.lambert44@comcast.net
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DNR Reminds Fur Harvesters of New Regulations - The Department of Natural Resources reminds fur harvesters that new regulations are in effect for all species that require registration this season. Trapping season begins Oct. 15 with the opening of fox and coyote season statewide and raccoon and badger seasons in northern Michigan (Zones 1 and 2).  Seasons for species with mandatory registration kick off with otter season in the Upper Peninsula beginning Oct. 25. Fur harvesters are required to submit entire skulls from marten, fisher, bobcat and otter when presenting pelts to the DNR for registration and sealing. Skulls will be used for aging to help the DNR with population modeling and management policies. Skulls will not be returned to fur harvesters. The required submission of skulls standardizes data collection among all furbearer species that require registration. In previous years, the DNR only collected the skull from fisher and a tooth from marten and bobcats when they were registered. Submission of otter skulls or teeth was not required. Pelts that have been registered and sealed will be released to fur takers immediately. “The data we collect will help us better understand population dynamics of these species and will enable us to make appropriate harvest regulations,” said DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “We appreciate the hunters’ and trappers’ cooperation with this effort." For more information on furbearer registration and harvest seasons for these species, please see check the 2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Digest or visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.
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New Law Creates Mentored Hunting for Youth for 2012 Season- A new law recently signed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will provide new hunting opportunities for youth under the age of 10 by creating a mentored hunting program for the 2012 hunting season. The program is known as the Hunter Heritage Program. “This is a great opportunity for Michigan ’s youth,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Our youngsters can start hunting earlier with a safe program, which can have a lifelong impact on their interest in conservation and natural resources. Since becoming Director, I made increasing participation in our hunting heritage one of my top four priorities. This program will help us achieve that goal.” The new law provides hunting opportunities for youths under the age of 10 by allowing them to hunt in conjunction with the mentored youth hunting program.  The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has been charged with developing the program under the law. The law also creates a mentored youth hunting license, which allows mentored youths to participate in a wide variety of hunting opportunities on a single license.  Mentored youth hunting license holders will be able to hunt deer, turkey, small game, trap fur-bearers and fish for all species on this license. In the coming months, the NRC will engage both department staff and external partners in developing the mentored youth hunting program, with the objective of having the program start in the 2012 license year. 

Under the new law:

  • A parent or legal guardian of the minor child must apply for the license on behalf of the child;

  • A mentored youth hunting license will cost $7.50;

  • The mentor, who must be at least 21 and possess a valid hunting license, will need to accompany the youth at all times;

  • At age 10 the youth will no longer be eligible for a mentored youth hunting license, but will need to either take hunter safety and then purchase a regular license, or hunt under an apprentice license for up to two years.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Frequently Asked Questions Hunter Heritage Law/Mentored Youth Hunting Program

What does the new law do?

The law allows youths under the age of 10 to hunt with a mentor. Mentored youths will be required to obtain a mentored youth hunting license and hunt in conjunction with the mentored youth hunting program, which is now being developed. 

 

When does the program begin?

In the coming months, the NRC will engage with both department staff and external partners in developing the mentored youth hunting program, with the objective of having this program up and running for the 2012 license year. 

 

How much will a mentored youth hunt license cost?

The cost for a mentored youth license is $7.50. The fee was established in the legislation that created the license.

 

What hunting privileges are provided under this license?

Resident small game, combination deer, spring and fall turkey, all-species fishing, and resident fur harvesters.

 

What is the apprentice license?

The apprentice license is for anyone 10 years of age and older who has not received hunter safety certification. An individual may hunt with an apprentice license for two license years. A regular licensed hunter who is 21 years or older must accompany the apprentice license holder into the field.

 

What license do I purchase once I receive my hunter safety certification?

If you are 10 years of age or older with hunter safety certification, you can purchase regular hunting licenses.
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Torch Lake Atlantic Salmon Recognized As World Record - The Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has recognized an Atlantic salmon caught at Torch Lake in Antrim County last October as a world record for land-locked Atlantics. The record Atlantic salmon, caught by Indiana resident Tom Aufiero, weighed 26 pounds, 12 ounces. Aufiero, who caught the fish while fly-fishing with a shrimp pattern, released the fish after weighing it. IGFA regulations require that scales used to weigh potential record fish must have been calibrated and certified as accurate within a year of the catch. Aufiero’s salmon was weighed on an uncertified hand-held scale, but the scale was sent to the IGFA, which tested it and certified it as accurate. The IGFA certified the record March 7, 2011. “It doesn’t surprise me to see a 26-pound Atlantic come out of Torch Lake,” said DNR fisheries biologist Mark Tonello of Cadillac. “We know Torch Lake is capable of producing big lake trout, big muskies, and last year someone caught a 29-pound brown trout there.” The previous IGFA all-tackle world record for land-locked salmon was a 24-pound, 11-ounce specimen caught in Sweden in June 2010. Torch Lake was last stocked with Atlantic salmon in 2008. For more information about fishing opportunities in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing. Contacts: Mark Tonello (231) 775-9727 ext. 6071.
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Michigan’s Last Known Wolverine Now on Display at Bay City State Recreation Area - Michigan ’s only known wild wolverine is now on display at the visitor center at Bay City State Recreation Area. The animal was found dead by hikers last winter at Sanilac County ’s Minden State Game Area, where it had lived for much of the previous six years. The wolverine was first discovered by coyote hunters who treed it while running hounds near Bad Axe on Feb. 24, 2004. It was the first wolverine ever verified as living in the wild in Michigan. Michigan is known as the Wolverine State because it was a center for trade in the early trapping industry and wolverine pelts from the north and west of Michigan came through the state. Biologists say that if wolverines were native to Michigan, they were extirpated about 200 years ago. It is uncertain how the wolverine arrived in Michigan, though DNA evidence indicates it is related to animals native to Alaska. The wolverine was mounted by Bay Port taxidermist Sandy Brown; the mount recently won an award from the state’s taxidermy association. Park interpreter Valerie Blashcka said the display has become quite an attraction. “It’s bringing a lot of visitors who have never been here before,” she said. “It’s really exciting.” The visitor center, located at 3582 State Park Dr. , is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
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Inland Fishing Guides Reminded of Permit Required to Use State Lands - The Department of Natural Resources reminds fishing guides who utilize state-owned lands to access Michigan’s inland lakes or streams as part of their commercial operation that they are required to have written permission from the DNR prior to using state- owned lands. Since 2006, inland fishing guides in Michigan have been required to obtain written permission, in the form of a lease to use state-owned public water access sites. Guides pay an annual Use of Land fee, must also provide proof of general liability insurance, and must have a state-issued inland pilot’s license or a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license.  Use of Land fees provide funding for maintenance of state forestlands, including public-water access sites. Michigan residents and visitors have an abundant supply of freshwater inland lakes, streams and Great Lakes that provide a variety of recreational fishing opportunities. Annually, it is estimated that two million residents and visitors fish Michigan waters. Michigan’s recreational fishery has an annual economic value of more than $2 billion and provides more than 15,000 jobs statewide. For more information, contact, Brenda Mikula, DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 231-597-0472 or visit www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing and click on Angler Information, Inland Fishing Guides, to find a link for the fishing guide lease application form. For information on how to obtain an inland pilot license, contact Sylvia Roossien, DNR Law Enforcement Division, at 517-241-3793.
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DNR Reminds Anglers of Different Fishing Activities by Tribal Members - The Department of Natural Resources reminds the public that certain fishing opportunities for tribal members of tribal governments located within the 1836 Treaty of Washington and 1842 Treaty of La Point are different than those allowed for state-licensed recreational anglers under Michigan law, and that these activities may be observed this spring. Tribal governments are sovereign nations and these Tribes have their own Code of Regulation for fishing matters. The Treaty of Washington, signed in 1836, covers the eastern Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in 2007 the state of Michigan, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Bay Mills Indian Community and the United States government signed a Consent Decree which defines the extent of the Tribes’ inland treaty rights. The Treaty of La Pointe, signed in 1842, covers the western Upper Peninsula and areas of northern Wisconsin and there is no formal agreement to define the extent of 1842 Treaty rights within Michigan. However, the 1842 Treaty rights have been adjudicated in Wisconsin and Tribal fishers of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community exercise their rights in the 1842 area of Michigan following tribal regulations consistent with the Wisconsin court cases. As established under the 2007 Inland Consent Decree, Tribal members may use spears or conventional fishing tackle to take walleye and steelhead in some waters of Michigan covered by the 1836 treaty.  Similarly, a tribally regulated, spring subsistence spear fishery is present in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula within the 1842 Treaty area. These activities may occur during periods when these waters are closed to fishing for State-licensed recreational anglers. A map of the portion of Michigan covered by the 1836 and 1842 Treaties can be found by following this link to the DNR Web site: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/TCU_map_183629_7.pdf  For information on the 2007 Inland Consent Decree and the 1842 Treaty Area, check the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr. “We appreciate anglers’ concerns when they witness different fishing methods and seasons, but we ask people not to interfere with Tribal members who are exercising their fishing rights,” said Nick Popoff, supervisor of the DNR Fisheries Division’s Tribal Coordination Unit. “If you think a violation is in progress, you can call the DNR’s Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800 and report it.”
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Recent Federal Recommendation on Status of Eastern Cougars as Extinct Has No Bearing on Michigan Cougars - A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) report issued earlier this week has concluded that the eastern subspecies of the cougar is extinct; however, this has no bearing on cougars in Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment said today. “The USFWS has determined the eastern cougar to be extinct, and this has no bearing on cougars in Michigan,” said DNRE Wildlife Chief Russ Mason. “The cougars present in Michigan are dispersing from the Dakotas, where the nearest established population exists.” The report was a routine review of status of the cougar species. The review included the most recent genetics, ecology and sightings of this subspecies. Because no evidence for the subspecies could be found, the status review determined that the subspecies is extinct and recommended its status be changed from endangered to extinct. The status review does not change the status of cougars in Michigan, which would occur as a federal rule change at some time in the future.  For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report please visit: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ECougar/newsreleasefinal.html  Cougars were originally native to Michigan, but were extirpated from Michigan around the turn of the century. The last known wild cougar taken in the state occurred in 1906 near Newberry. “There is little agreement among cougar researchers as to the number of separate subspecies, and whether to separate them by genetics or appearance,” said Christopher Hoving, DNRE endangered species coordinator. “The eastern cougar (Puma concolor cougar) was known to occur only in the Lower Peninsula. A separate subspecies was described in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin, called Puma concolor shorgeri. Other subspecies of cougar exist in the western United States, where populations continue to grow and expand eastward. However, many researchers now consider all cougars in North America to be one subspecies.” Regardless of subspecies, DNRE biologists have verified five sets of tracks and two trail camera pictures of cougars in the Upper Peninsula since 2008. These sightings probably represent dispersing cats from western populations. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report has little effect on cougar conservation in Michigan because the entire species is listed, regardless of subspecies,” Hoving said. “All wild cougars in Michigan will remain state endangered until the population is viable and self-sustaining.” For more information on cougars in Michigan, visit the DNRE website at www.michigan.gov/cougars. The website contains an online observation form to use to report sightings. Sightings with physical evidence, such as tracks or pictures, are most useful in verifying a potential cougar sighting.
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New Law Allows Hunters, Landowners to Take Feral Hogs Anytime - Licensed hunters and landowners may now take feral hogs at any time, since a package of bills has been signed by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment announced today. Hunters or individuals with concealed-carry permits may take swine running loose on public land or on private land with landowner permission. Landowners may take hogs on their property at any time.
The law also authorizes animal control officers and law enforcement officers to shoot hogs running loose on private or public property. “Feral swine are known vectors for diseases that are transmissible to humans, livestock and wildlife,” said DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries. “This change in the law gives us another weapon for dealing with this unhealthy situation.” The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) is in full agreement with the new law. “Three years of hard work by many partners has paid off,” said Dr. Nancy Frank, MDA deputy director. “The joint resolutions by both the Natural Resources and Agriculture Commissions sent us in this direction. This legislation is key to preventing an environmental and animal health
disaster
.” The new laws take immediate effect.
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Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. For more information about the recent cougar tracks and photo, call Sitar at 906-293-5131. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on Wildlife and Habitat. 
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Please click on the following link to view the updated Natural Resources Commission Meeting Schedule for 2011. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2011_Meeting_Dates_299472_7.pdf

LuCinda Hohmann Environment Michigan Regional Field Organizer
email: LucindaH@environmentmichigan.org  web site:  http://www.environmentmichigan.org 

Also Check The Events Calendar For More Information.

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