PROOS: Information for a safe, successful deer hunting season

Hunting has always been a favorite tradition and pastime of many southwest Michigan families. As deer firearm season begins, I want to pass along some useful information and urge all outdoor enthusiasts to hunt safely.

While the regular firearm season from Nov. 15 to 30 is the most popular deer hunting season, it is not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan. 1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 7 to 23; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 17 to Jan. 1.

This information and more is included in my 2018 Hunting Guide, which is available on my website at SenatorJohnProos.com/publications.

Additional hunting guides, including all current Michigan rules and regulations, can be found at michigan.gov/hunting. Residents can buy hunting licenses from a local licensing agent or online 24 hours a day at mdnr-elicense.com.

Chronic wasting disease is a deadly neurological disease found in deer and elk that poses a serious threat to our deer population and a hunting industry that supports our outdoor recreation operations and contributes roughly $2.3 billion annually to our economy.

CWD was first discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in 2015. To date, more than 35,000 deer in Michigan have been tested, and CWD has been confirmed in 64 deer. There is no cure, and an infected deer can live with CWD for years and spread it to other animals through contact.

I want to remind area hunters that Michigan has adopted new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of CWD, including a state law prohibiting hunters from bringing certain parts of an animal carcass into Michigan from out of state. The law exempts certain parts that do not pose a risk, such as hides, deboned meat, finished taxidermy products and antlers.

For more information on CWD, visit michigan.gov/cwd.

I urge all hunters to keep safety in mind. Most hunting-associated injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking alcohol. By hunting safely, we all can help ensure an enjoyable time for the entire family and help protect our hunting heritage for generations to come.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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