BIG RAPIDS - It's going to be "a really busy firearm deer season."

This the prediction of area DNR conservation officer Angela Greenway.

"We know that license sales are up," Greenway said. "Our younger hunter license sales are up. We are expecting a lot of people in the woods for these next couple of weeks, especially for this opener.

"There's a couple of changes for this year. You can take an antlerless deer with your combo tags, your regular deer tags. That's a new change this year. One thing to note is antler point restrictions do not apply to kids, 16 and under. That's a change also this year.

"Youth hunters 16 and younger are exempt for antler point restrictions in all seasons in all deer management units and under all licenses."

The firearm season started on Nov. 15.

Bait in the woods remains an issue, Greenway said.

"We're still chasing a lot of baiters," she added. "Other than that, we're gearing up for a really busy deer season. There's lots of people in the woods.

"If you're going to be transporting your deer in different counties. There's changes on where and how you can transport carcasses. It's all in the hunting guide. People need to watch that for sure."

Greenway noted the muzzleloader seasons in the north and south zones are now the same.

"They extended the late antlerless season," she said. "It's all in the guide. It's all online or pick one up when you buy your license."

CHECK STATIONS

There will not be a check station south of Big Rapids in the rest area off of U.S. 131.

DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing said the Paris field office will be open for checking deer from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. on Nov. 15 through 18, only.

"Hunters should look on line or look at the digest to see the few opportunities there are elsewhere," Kailing said.

"Mecosta County is an antler point restriction zone this season, as a reminder. Hunters should look at page 43 in the hunting digest pretty carefully. It shows all the (regulations) for the season."

DEER PHOTOS

The Pioneer will not be taking deer pictures this year due to the COVID pandemic. Our offices remain closed.

Pictures of successful buck hunters can submitted to john.raffel@gmail.com at any time. Please included a phone number.