BIG RAPIDS -- The Nov. 15-30 firearm season is past, but there are still some opportunities in December for deer hunters.

"Overall, it went pretty well for firearm deer season," local DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing said. "We saw a lot of healthy deer come through at our check station here in Paris and the surrounding area. We submitted over 544 heads for testing, exceeding our goal of only 122 for the year. We went way over that. It was all negative for CWD.

"There are over 1,000 tested in Newaygo County, all negative, so that's good news. Antler development looks average to above average. We had a lot of nice bucks at the check station. There's a lot of standing corn and standing beans. Farmers haven't been able to get it harvested because of the excessive moisture we've had this fall."

Kailing said there was a decent doe harvest, especially in southern Mecosta County.

Muzzleloader season started on Friday and runs though Dec. 15 north of M-20 in zone 2. South of M-20 in zone 3, it extends to Dec. 22.

"Any rifle can be used in the muzzleloader season this year," Kailing said. "This was true last year as well. The whole county is open."

Kailing indicated it probably doesn't increase the number of hunters.

"Today's muzzleloader guns are more sophisticated," he said. "We're trying to get more hunters out and increase our antlerless harvest so we've liberalized the use of type of rifles during muzzleloader season. Hunters can think of it as a second firearm season."