What’s that sound ringing out at the indecent hour of 8 am? You crack open an eye, curse the sun coming in through the curtain, and, there it goes again. For the past week or so, shots have been heard several times a day as hunters “sight mark”—test their sighting equipment—in preparation for deer season, which starts today. Sometimes it sounds like it’s coming from the marsh, sometimes from up on the bluff. The Alert set its sights on local outdoorsperson Jonathan Drury and tagged some information.
“As of October 1, it’s bow season for deer. November 15, it’s rifle and shotgun (regular firearm) season for deer for 15 days, until the 30th. Until the 14th you could have also shot upland birds including woodcock and ruffled grouse and late turkey,” says Drury. (Only one turkey total!) According to the 2010 Hunting and Trapping Digest, you can shoot a turkey with a crossbow, bow and arrow, shotgun … basically if the weapon is longer than your arm, you can use it.
A body-gripping trap, as shown in the 2010 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest
Small game (squirrel, rabbit) are fair game most of the year. You can take five cottontail rabbits a day until the end of March. Some trapping is open, but you have to have a fur harvester license, even if you’re doing it on your own property. This would be for fox, coyote, bobcat, raccoon (firearm kills) and badger, bobcat, fisher, marten, fox, coyote, weasel, mink, muskrat, beaver, otter, skunk, or possum (trap kills).
“It’s open season all year on most nuisance species, such as coyotes and nonindigenous birds—crows, sparrows, grackels, starlings, etc.,” says Drury. “In my opinion it should also be open season all year on feral cats, who kill native songbirds just for fun.”
If you hear a shot going off more than half an hour before sunrise or half an hour afterward (basically, when it’s dark), somebody’s screwing up. “Pick up a DNR booklet where hunting and fishing licenses are sold, for example at the Tackle Box or True Value Hardware in Frankfort. This has all the info. Read it and follow it if you want to have any interaction with game and fish whatsoever,” Drury says.