LAPEER COUNTY — The opening day of firearms deer hunting season on Nov. 15 serves as a reminder to not just hunters, but recreational hikers, private property owners and runners that hunters orange is a must this time of year.
Hunters in Michigan are required by law to wear at minimum a 6-inch x 6-inch hunter orange. Most exceed that wearing the full hunter orange hunting gear for safety sake, especially when traveling to and from their hunting site.
“Hunting season is well underway in Michigan, and now is a good time to remind everyone that it is wise to wear hunter orange clothing when you are out enjoying the state’s trails and forest lands,” says the DNR in a press release. “The Michigan Department of Natural Resources does not close trails or pathways during hunting season, and it is legal to hunt throughout these areas if you adhere to the laws regarding safety zones.”
The DNR added, that while it is required by law that hunters wear “hunter orange”, there is no law for recreationalists. However, since so much of state land borders private lands and the DNR allows hunting on portions of state-owned land, it is imperative that individuals take precaution and dress themselves and their pets in brightly colored clothing, other than red or blue.
“Due to the very popular activity of deer hunting, now is not an advisable time to take a quiet, unassuming walk in the woods,” says Bill O’Neill, field coordinator for the Forest Management Division of the DNR. “Be smart about where you choose to go, wear brightly colored clothing and let hunters know that you are in the area. We must all work together to have a safe and successful hunting season in Michigan.”
This time of year, it’s important to keep dogs under constant supervision, because if a hunter sees them chasing down deer, they will drop the dog first before it can catch up to and kill the deer. Livestock owners are also cautioned when turning out cattle and horses if bordering properties have hunters on them. Landowners by law, do not have to grant hunters access to their property when hunters seek to retrieve deer that have been shot that may have wandered onto private property, but if approached ahead of time, may grant that access. Hunters who trespass onto private property without permission can be cited for trespassing.
Another point some may not be familiar with pertains to hunters with disabilities and the use of ORV. The DNR says, “it is also important as you go out and enjoy Michigan’s forest lands, that you understand the rules and regulations for hunting. In Michigan it is legal for hunters with disabilities to hunt from standing vehicles or offroad vehicles (ORV). This law does not grant any additional privileges for ORV operators with disabilities. It simply allows for hunters with disabilities better access to hunting locations on state-owned land. The DNR strongly encourages those hunters using alternative modes of transportation to mark their vehicles with hunter orange flags.”
For all others, ORV operation is prohibited in public-hunting areas during the regular November firearm deer season from 7-11 a.m. and 2-5 p.m.; except for these cases:
• Going to or from a residence or hunting camp that is inaccessible by a conventional vehicle, subject to state land regulations.
• On private property, with landowner’s permission.
• Passenger vehicles while being operated on roads capable of sustaining automobile traffic.
• Persons holding a “Permit to Hunt From a Standing Vehicle” or otherwise meeting disability requirements while engaged in hunting or fishing activity.