Deer and Doves on Commission Slate

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The Michigan Natural Resources Commission this week authorized Department of Natural Resources staff to begin drafting the framework for a limited dove hunting season in Michigan this fall.

The request came during the NRC’s regular monthly meeting in Lansing, in response to the recent enactment of legislation reclassifying doves as a game species in Michigan. The commission will review the proposed hunting framework at its August meeting, and could implement the hunt in six counties along Michigan’s southern border in September.

DNR Director Rebecca Humphries approved statewide antlerless deer hunting license quotas for the fall 2004 hunting season. Statewide, the measure provides 715,000 antlerless licenses. The combined deer hunting seasons this fall are expected to harvest approximately 242,000 antlerless deer.

New for this hunting season is a change to reclassify deer hunting on properties enrolled in the Commercial Forest Act Program, which provides tax incentives on private lands actively managed for timber production and ensures public access for hunting and fishing. In previous years, hunters were allowed to take deer on CFA lands under private land rules. This year, deer hunters are required to apply for a public land antlerless permit if they are hunting CFA properties.

The NRC moved to streamline its monthly meeting schedule for future meetings, from two-day meetings each month to single day meetings whenever possible.

“The public takes the time to attend NRC meetings because natural resource issues are important to them,” said NRC Chairman Keith Charters. “Often, the issues they come to discuss with the Commission during Thursday’s public comment periods are decided during the following day’s business meeting. By addressing Commission business after the public comment portion, we can make it easier for those take the time to attend NRC meetings to see their issues through.” The next regular NRC meeting is Aug. 12 in Lansing.