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January 01, 2009
Hunters encouraged to report hunting activity online

The DNR reminds deer hunters they can report the results of their hunts online. Information gathered from hunters who voluntarily report their results will be used along with information collected through the DNR's annual mail survey to help provide the best information available for making management decisions.

The DNR encourages hunters to report their results even if they did not bag a deer.

All deer hunters are invited to complete the online survey before April 1, 2009. Hunters should postpone reporting their harvest, however, until they have finished hunting for the season, in order to maximize accuracy. For example, muzzleloader hunters who might still go out for another hunt, or archers who intend to hunt over the holiday period, should wait until after their last hunt to make their report.

The survey is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr, under the Hunting and Deer sections. Anyone who bought a license, regardless of whether they were successful - or even went afield - is encouraged to participate. However, once a survey has been completed, hunters will not be allowed to enter new information.

Additional antlerless deer licenses for Kent County

The DNR has increased the number of private-land antlerless deer licenses available for Kent County .

Demand for antlerless deer licenses has been much higher than usual this year, in the wake of the discovery of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a captive deer in Kent County in August. Wildlife officials believe it is important to test as many deer as possible to learn if CWD is in the wild herd in that area. It is also desirable to lower the deer population in the CWD surveillance zone to minimize spread of the disease if it is present.

CWD is an always fatal neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. The DNR initiated a surveillance program within Kent County as part of an effort to monitor wild deer for the existence of the disease. By making more licenses available, additional hunters will have the opportunity to continue taking deer through the remaining deer seasons. Muzzleloader season concludes Dec.21 and the archery deer season concludes Jan 1, 2009. The late, private-land, antlerless-only firearms season is open from Dec 22 - Jan. 1.

Hunters are reminded that all deer taken in the nine-township surveillance zone in Kent County must be submitted for CWD testing. Deer may be taken to the Howard Christensen Nature Center, 530 20 Mile Road, Kent City; the Rockford Sportsman's Club, 11115 Northland Drive, NE, Rockford; or the Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club on 18 Mile Road in Cedar Springs through Jan. 9, 2009. All wild deer tested to date in 2008 have been negative for CWD.

2008 firearm deer season harvest estimates

Statewide, an estimated 272,000 deer were taken during the firearm season, and about 157,000 were antlered bucks and about 115,000 were antlerless deer. That compares with a 2007 estimated harvest of 273,000. However, there were significant shifts in where deer were taken.

In the UP, the early estimate is that hunters took about 32,000 deer, down 22 percent from last year's harvest of 41,000.

"Most reports indicated that hunting pressure was down noticeably in the UP this year," said Rodney Clute, DNR big- game specialist. "We anticipated a lower harvest in the UP due to the tougher winter there last year and that was a major factor, but lower hunter numbers and the change in rules for use of buck licenses probably contributed too."

In the northern Lower Peninsula (NLP), preliminary estimates indicate that about 91,000 deer were taken, up from about 85,000 last year. About 59,000 antlered bucks and 32,000 antlerless deer were estimated taken in the NLP.

Southern Lower Michigan (SLP) continued to dominate the deer harvest. In the SLP an estimated 149,000 deer were taken, about 75,000 of which were antlered bucks along with 74,000 antlerless deer.

The preliminary harvest estimate is based upon early check station results, license sales, employee reports of hunter effort and processor observations. Final harvest figures, which are based on a mail survey of more than 50,000 deer hunters, along with surveys submitted by hunters who report on the DNR's Web site, will not be available until July, 2009. Hunters wishing to report their harvest online can access it through the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR seeks help finding L.P. denned bears

The DNR is seeking help from hunters and trappers through the winter who encounter denned black bears while in the field in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. In the Northern Lower Peninsula, this effort is part of an ongoing DNR program to annually radio-collar a sample of female bears. Bears are also becoming more common in the Southern Lower Peninsula and biologists are interested in learning more about their movements and habitat associations.

People who encounter bear dens are asked to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at the DNR Roscommon Operations Center at 989-275-5151 for bears in the Northern Lower Peninsula; or Dwayne Etter at 517-373-9358, ext. 256, for bears in the southern Lower Peninsula. The public is reminded that it is illegal to disturb a bear den or disturb, harm, or molest a bear in its den.

Black Lake sturgeon spearing application period Begins Jan. 12

The DNR reminds anglers the application period for the 2009 Black Lake sturgeon spearing lottery is Jan. 12-16.

Interested anglers may register for the spearing lottery by calling the DNR Gaylord Operations Service Center at (989) 732-3541 or applying in person at the center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the application period. All applicants 17 years and older must hold a valid Michigan fishing license. Those under 17 years old also may register for the season. Those applying for the drawing should have proper identification on hand during the application process. This may include a valid Michigan driver license, a Michigan ID card, a DNR Sportcard or a valid Michigan fishing license.

The limited sturgeon spearing season on Black Lake, located in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties, opens Feb. 7, 2009, and runs through Feb. 15 or until the maximum harvest of five fish has been reached. A total of 225 anglers, or 25 per day, will be selected to participate. The drawing to determine those participants will be held Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Chateau North, 10621 Twin Lakes Rd., in Cheboygan. Successful applicants will be notified of their date to fish by mail in advance of the season.

Last year, 704 individuals registered for the spearing lottery. No fish were harvested during the 2008 season, which lasted the full nine days. Reasons for zero harvest were attributed to poor water clarity under the ice following a week of heavy rains prior to the season

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