69
      Thursday
      84 / 63
      Friday
      84 / 65
      Saturday
      86 / 67

      Focus on scope of hunting

      Wildlife experts will take a closer look at a wide range of hunting issues in Michigan.

      The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will hold its regular monthly meeting Thursday in Lansing.

      The day will begin at 9 a.m. with a meeting of the NRC's Marketing and Outreach Advisory Committee . The committee will receive updates on the Mentored Youth Hunt , webcasting NRC meetings and the Youth Conservation Council. Also on tap are discussions on the ongoing Michigan Waterfowl Legacy program, the 2013 Youth Outdoor Jamboree, and improvements in the state's system for hunting and fishing on-line license sales.

      At 10:30 a.m., the Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will receive reports from the Fisheries and Wildlife division chiefs, including updates on the recently completed elk hunt, and review a land order that would limit access to Kirtland's warbler habitat during nesting. The committee will also receive a status update on wolves following a new law that declared the wolf a game species in Michigan.

      At 1 p.m., the NRC will hold a two-hour meeting on establishing NRC policy topics for 2013.

      At 3 p.m., the Committee of the Whole will receive a report from Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh and an update on legislative issues.

      At 4 p.m., the NRC will present a Partners in Conservation Award to the Michigan Duck Hunters Association. In addition, the DNR Fisheries Division will present to Mentor Michigan a donation of $3,340, money raised during a silent auction.

      The proposed restrictions for deer hunting in twelve counties in the Northwest Lower Peninsula will not be a point of discussion at the meeting, but will be the focus in the coming months.

      A survey was completed in 2012 to determine whether hunters supported proposed mandatory Antler Point Restrictions (APR).

      A key feature of the proposed mandatory regulations was changing the definition of a buck to a deer with three or more points on one antler.

      The questionnaire was sent to 2,100 randomly selected hunters from the Northwest Lower Peninsula. Among hunters in the area who took part in the survey, about 69% supported the proposed mandatory APR regulations. About 32% of the hunters did not support implementation of the mandatory APR regulations.

      The idea is based off of a rule in Leelanau County, which has hunters seeing more deer with bigger antlers.

      The support of hunters was sufficient to recommend adoption of the proposed APR for the Northwest Lower Peninsula by the Wildlife Division to the Natural Resources Commission. The Natural Resources Commission holds final authority regarding APR implementation, which will be up for consideration during establishment of deer hunting regulations for the 2013 season.

      The Natural Resources Commission will officially take up the issue of approving the change based on the survey results and recommendation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resource at its meeting in the spring. If the NRC approves of the regulation changes, it would go into effect for the 2013 hunting season and cover a five year test period.