Deer hunters now in muzzleloading season

DNR wildlife biologist indicates firearm season was successful

Mason Armstrong, grandson of Chase area resident Howie Lodholtz, bagged first his first deer locally during the rifle season.

Mason Armstrong, grandson of Chase area resident Howie Lodholtz, bagged first his first deer locally during the rifle season.

John Raffel

BIG RAPIDS – From firearm season to the muzzleloading campaign.

This is where hunters are at right now.

The deer firearm season ended on Nov. 30. Muzzleloading takes place from now through Dec. 11. The later antlerless firearm season is Dec. 12 through Jan 1. Archery seasons goes to Jan. 1. 

DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing said the snow firearm hunters were able to use “was awesome. Hunters seemed to have a lot of success. Now we have the muzzleloading season where any weapons may be used and not just a muzzleloader.”

The numbers are usually down for December hunting, compared to November. “But we see more of it in the farmland areas in Newaygo, and Oceana counties where farmers are trying to thin the doe herd out from some croplands,” Kailing said. “There could be a surprising number taken, which is good. Much of southern lower Michigan has deer numbers exceed a sustainable capacity.”

Kailing said the DNR Paris office was open to help hunters register their deer. This pertains to deer hunting even outside the Nov. 15-30 firearm campaign.

“All harvested deer need to be registered,” he said.

Other hunting opportunities continue.

“There’s a few bird hunters that will show up and a few rabbit hunters as soon as we get some snow on the ground,” Kailing said. “Hopefully it will be ice fishing after that. Then fur trapping comes. Bobcat season opens in December as well.”

Kailing indicated there is a decent area bobcat population.