DNR discusses increase in hunting, fishing licenses during pandemic; fewer CWD testing locations

Local News

UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – As the seasons change, the different hunting seasons change as well. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has seen more people itching to get outside and participating in hunting season this year.

“We did notice that early on, certainly with turkey season in the spring and then, of course, fishing licenses and hunting licenses,” said Monica Joseph, a DNR wildlife biologist for Iron-Dickinson counties. “People have plenty of time. It’s good to be out and so people are taking advantage of that time and being outside.

And so I expect to have pretty good participation as long as the weather holds. If it gets really bad or we get a ton of snow, that kind of cuts back on a number of hunters that are participating or can get access to their hunting camps or whatever but I expect that it will be quite a popular thing to do this year because of everyone being quarantined.”

Deer check station locations, hours, and days of operation will be reduced in 2020 to prevent “unnecessary risk to hunters and DNR staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing will continue free of charge for all deer harvested in the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee, and Delta counties) from now until Jan. 4.

“There will be less testing CWD due to both the finances and more targeted surveillance. Certainly the core area we’ll be testing. Dickinson County will be testing up here. And the rest of them, for the most part, we’re going to ask hunters if they want to test, they’re gonna have to send there’s to a private lab. We have information for that. That is a big change because we did test quite a few deer not from the core area prior years as part of our surveillance and now we’re just kind of honing in on the area that we found positive cases before.”

For more information on CWD testing, you can visit the Michigan DNR website.

Joseph goes into detail about how bear season went this year, and a look into the ongoing grouse/woodcock seasons:

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