DNR wildlife biologist reminds hunters of deer check station

BIG RAPIDS — The second and third days after the Nov. 15 deer opener is a special occasion for local DNR officials, including wildlife biologist Pete Kailing.  

For those two days, Kailing and other DNR staff members have the deer check station at the rest area, located a mile south of Big Rapids off of US. 131. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

The DNR encourages all successful hunters to bring their bucks to the check station. They will receive a special successful hunter’s patch.

“Tell us your story and come on down,” Kailing said.

The DNR’s Paris office will be open 10 a.m, to 2 p.m. weekdays during the firearm season.

“The check station will check deer from all over the northern Lower Peninsula,” Kailing said. “Even hunters from parts of the U.P. come to the station. We’ll normally check from 500 to 600 deer in the two days there.”

Kailing indicated the bow hunting season, which started on Oct. 1, has been successful so far.

“They’re seeing a lot of deer and have been successful,” Kailing said. “But the warm weather is keeping it from being a great bow season. For deer movement, a lot of it has been at night. The deer all have their winter fur on. (With warm weather), they are not moving, (and not) chasing does.

“The last two winters have been pretty mild and the deer herd is doing well. Deer health is very good. I think we should have a great opener.”

Kailing anticipates a cooling trend in late November but no snow, at least for opening day. A Tuesday opener isn’t expected to have any major impact on success.

“Our research shows an opener on the weekend might have more participation, but not much more,” Trump said. “People are pretty faithful. Deer hunters will go out on the 15th. People find a way. A majority of hunting traffic takes place the first two days of the season.”