Hunters bringing in the bucks so far


By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 2:07 pm on Monday, November 21, 2011

Kurt Hartman shot this 7-point buck on opening day at 7:45 a.m. in Otisco Township with a 12-gauge Remington.

Peggy Reese-Blaszak shot this buck on opening day at 7:15 a.m. near Stanton. She used a 7mm08 from 40 yards.

Kaylee Borton, 11, from Stanton, shot this 4-point buck at 10 a.m. on opening day this week. Borton was hunting with her father and grandfather and shot her first ever deer with a Savage .243 in Mecosta County.

The start of the firearm deer season has been good for area hunters so far, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The first day of the season saw an average number of deer being brought to the check station in Belding, said DNR wildlife biologist John Niewoonder.
“We have seen a lot of deer here at the check station,” Niewoonder said.
There were 37 deer brought into the check station on opening day, which is just three off the average for the past few years, according to Niewoonder.
“We did have a lot of comments from people about the fog on opening day,” he said.
A couple of new rules were instituted this season for hunting.
“The minimum hunting age was lowered, so if you’re 10 years old you can go deer hunting now,” Niewoonder said. “Baiting was banned for three years up until this year. This year it’s OK to bait. The restriction is two gallons at any one time.”
Baiting was banned because of the belief that bait piles spread bovine tuberculosis in the deer population. Still, Niewoonder noted not everyone is happy with the ability to set out bait piles.
“That has changed things,” he said. “It can change deer movement and behavior patterns.”
The count of deer taken on opening day is down nine from last season’s 46, but up from 32 taken two seasons ago.
“There’s a lot of things that go into what happens,” Niewoonder said. “The biggest thing is how much corn was picked. Two years ago almost no corn was picked and the harvest was down. Last year the corn was picked and we were up. We expect it to be about what what we’ve seen in the last five or 10 years.”
And there have been a lot of good deer taken so far, Niewoonder said.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of various eight- and nine-pointers,” he said. “We typically see that this time of year. The first couple of days we get people bringing in the big ones. Later in the year we get some of the smaller ones. We’ve seen some nice 10-pointers and we expect to see more this year.”
There are deer out there to be had, Niewoonder noted.
“There’s a lot of deer in the area,” he said. “People are coming in from all over. Early in the season we get a lot of deer checked that have been shot from around the area.”

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