NRC Approves Wildlife Regulation Changes at May Meeting

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The Natural Resources Commission recently approved several amendments to the Wildlife Conservation Order.

The NRC approved an amendment regarding mute swan management which provides the Department of Natural Resources the authority to stabilize or reduce mute swan populations, prevent interference with native species, prevent interference with threatened and endangered species, and protect public health, safety or welfare.

"Michigan has a very large mute swan population. This amendment will allow the DNR to help control those areas where high populations are not appropriate," said Faye McNew, Wildlife Division wetland and waterfowl specialist.

The 2006 black bear license quotas were approved. The total number of available licenses will be the same as in 2005. However, 90 licenses in the Bergland unit were moved from the third to first hunt period and 50 licenses were moved from the third to first hunt period in the Carney unit.

License quotas and season dates also were accepted for the 2006 fall wild turkey season. Approximately 56,450 licenses will be available. The season dates will be Oct. 2 through Nov. 14. There are 14 hunt units for a total of 31,935 square miles open to hunting.

The 2006 elk hunt unit boundaries and season dates were set, with alterations to the early and December hunt units. The proposed dates for the early hunt are Aug. 26 to 30 and Sept. 15 to 18. The regular season is Dec. 5 to 12.

A survey of support for mandatory Quality Deer Management regulations in four Upper Peninsula Deer Management Units (DMUs) was conducted this past winter. DMU 122 had sufficient support to continue the present mandatory antler point restrictions. DMUs 152, 155 and 252 had insufficient support and these restrictions will no longer be required in these units.

An amendment was accepted that returns the authority to the NRC for establishing the open or closed status for each DMU in relation to antlerless licenses. In response to this change the NRC moved the 2006 antlerless license application period to July 15 through Aug. 15.

"This is the time of the year when we are presenting recommendations for changes in hunting season regulations," said Bill Moritz, chief of the Wildlife Division. "Public input is an important step within the process and we are always open to feedback. Antlerless license quotas will be presented to the NRC in June for action in July."