Fishing, hunting regulation changes announced at Natural Resources Commission meeting in Marquette

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The ballroom at Northern Michigan University was full on Thursday for a Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.

One of the items on the agenda concerned changes with the upcoming deer season. Due to a deer being found last year in Dickinson County that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a baiting ban and elimination of antler point restrictions will be in effect in that area.

"Baiting and feeding remains elsewhere in the U.P., although not in the Lower Peninsula. So the changes are actually fairly small,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Chief of Wildlife, Russ Mason.

Also on Thursday’s agenda, were proposed changes to various fishing regulations such as extending the bass fishing season to December 31, and increasing the minimum size limit for muskellunge on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters.

"Increasing that minimum length from 42” to 50” really increases the growth potential for that species in those waters and really allows for the fish of a lifetime,” said Michigan DNR Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit Manager of the Fisheries Division, Seth Herbst.

Another main focus of the meeting was on “white nose syndrome” in bats and what is being done across the state to stop the spread of the disease. These measures include treatment trials in the bats as well as habitat climate manipulation. Studies done across the state have shown that mortality rates from the disease are lower in colder climates.

"The bats that are hibernating in these sites that are colder have a better chance of surviving through the winter. So we're taking that information and we have a number of warm sites and we want to see if we can artificially bring the temperature down," said Michigan DNR Wildlife Biologist, John DePue.

The NRC also approved fishing regulation changes. These changes included the approval of spawning closures in Fisheries Order 204.20, changes in designated trout streams as described in Fisheries Order 210.20, and sturgeon regulations as described in Fisheries Order 240.19.

The establishment of hunting and trapping at Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve was also approved by the commission.

For 2019 hunting regulations, click here.

For 2019 fishing regulations, click here.

For more on the Michigan NRC, click here.

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