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Deer Hunting Season: Nov 15

Jenn Smith

Posted on November 13 2019

While Opening Day isn’t an official state holiday, some say it should be. The first day of firearm deer hunting season is Friday, Nov. 15.

There are still a few days to prepare and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources knows just how to do it. First step, head outdoors.

“Above all, enjoy the hunt and time spent outdoors this fall!” the DNR says.

Lots of hunters have already been out in the woods for bow season, which began on Oct. 1. Bow hunters will take a brief pause during firearm season, Nov. 15-30. Bow hunting resumes Dec.1-Jan. 1.

Get out early

Scouting ahead of Opening Day will have the biggest impact on hunting success, according to the DNR.

“Keen observation and understanding of how and why deer move on the landscape is important,” a DNR news release said.

Deer trails, bedding and feeding areas, and rubs and scrapes on trees are all signs of deer in the area. Feeding areas can include acorns, beech nuts and food plots.

Get a bird’s-eye view

The DNR also suggests reviewing digital aerial maps of your hunting area; tools like Google Maps will give a bird’s-eye, satellite view.

Use Mi-HUNT to see the boundaries between public and private land. The digital tool from the DNR has “a ton of information” including satellite imagery, cover types, trails and topography.

Baiting and feeding ban

Hunters should review regulations before heading out as they may have changed in the DNR’s effort to combat chronic wasting disease.

There is currently a ban on deer baiting and feeding on public and private land in the entire Lower Peninsula. In the Upper Peninsula, it is banned only in the Core CWD Surveillance Area, a 660-square mile range containing parts of Dickinson, Delta and Menominee counties. Find regulations by area here.

The Michigan House recently passed a bill that would allow deer baiting during the hunting season. The bill would still need to pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to become law. Whether it becomes law or not, it is not expected to affect this year’s deer hunting season.

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a contagious and fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The first free-ranging, white-tailed, CWD-positive deer was found in Michigan in May 2015. Since then, the disease has been found in nine counties.

Disease testing

Once your buck is bagged, the DNR suggests taking the head to a check station or drop box to be tested for CWD, especially deer taken in Jackson, Isabella or Gratiot counties.

Deer taken in Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Otsego, Oscoda, Presque Isle or Roscommon counties need to be tested for bovine tuberculosis. Take the head to a check station or drop box.

Keep track of whether samples are still needed on the 2019 Testing Goals and Results page.

Find more tips for deer hunting success here. Find hunting safety information here; the page provides tips for firearm, tree stand, hunter orange and trespassing safety.

Story re-posted from By Justine Lofton |