Environment
5:06 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Deer season kicks off with no reported safety incidents

This year's firearm deer hunting season is off to a safe start. That's according to state officials who said no incidents related to injury or safety have been reported so far.

MLive.com reports:

“I haven’t received any information form the field yet on any incidents,” said Mary Dettloff, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Natural Resources. “If there were any major incidents I would have heard.”

Approximately 140 conservation officers are out in the field today, said Dettloff, checking licenses, complaints received on the state’s Report All Poaching hotline, and trespassing issues.

Dettloff said the department also deals with homeowners complaining of hunting too close to their residencies and illegal baiting complaints.

A press release issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urges both hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to take safety precautions for the duration of the two-week season including wearing hunter orange clothing.

From the press release:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources does not close trails or pathways during hunting season, and it is legal to hunt throughout these areas if you adhere to the laws regarding safety zones.

It is required by law that hunters wear "hunter orange." There is no similar law for recreationalists, but because so much of state land borders private lands and the DNR allows hunting on portions of state-owned land, it is imperative that individuals take precaution and dress themselves and their pets in brightly colored clothing.

"Due to the very popular activity of deer hunting, now is not an advisable time to take a quiet, unassuming walk in the woods," says Bill O'Neill, field coordinator for the Forest Management Division of the DNR. "Be smart about where you choose to go, wear brightly colored clothing and let hunters know that you are in the area. We must all work together to have a safe and successful hunting season in Michigan."

- John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom