Hunting Season is Underway

Dowagiac HuntersHunting is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Our great outdoors offers something to interest every type of hunter — helping Michigan attract more hunters than any other state.

Our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in Michigan’s economy and way of life, and I will continue to protect your hunting rights.

Deer firearm season has begun, and I want to pass along some useful information and urge all hunters to hunt with safety in mind.

The regular firearm season from Nov. 15-30 is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan.1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 6-22; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Hunters can use Mi-HUNT on the website to create and print customized maps on 7 million acres of public lands. Residents can also buy hunting licenses online 24 hours a day at: http://www.mdnr-elicense.com.

With firearm deer season underway, I offer two reminders. First, please hunt safely. Most hunting injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking.

Second, remember the impact of poachers on the sport and on the herd.

I supported recent bills to preserve the hunting experience by toughening penalties for trespassing on private property and for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck.

By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Happy hunting! I hope everyone has a safe and successful season.

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Michigan’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend Set for Feb. 16-17

Ice FishingMichigan offers two weekends each year when Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors can get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing – at no charge.

This year’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 16-17.

The free weekend is an excellent opportunity to introduce the joy of fishing to children or to try winter fishing for the first time.

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

For more information on Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The website also includes useful information about ice fishing. The article, entitled “Fishing Technique: Ice Fishing, The Coolest Sport Around,” is located under Related Resources. It features safety advice and basics on getting started and commonly used equipment.

I encourage Southwest Michigan anglers – and those who have never gone fishing – to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities this weekend.

Michigan has more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes for residents to enjoy.

If you head out on the ice or water this weekend, please remember that having fun starts with being safe.

Michigan’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend Set for June 9-10

The state’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is an excellent time for Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors to get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters.

This year’s weekend is scheduled for June 9-10.

The tradition is also a wonderful chance to introduce the joy of fishing to children and relax with family and friends – at no charge.

Since 1986, Michigan has annually celebrated the Summer Free Fishing Weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and the sheer fun of fishing.  During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

For more information on Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

Berrien Springs Village President Milt Richter says that the St. Joseph River in Berrien Springs is an ideal fishing location. Stake out a spot near the dam and you will find plenty of salmon and walleye.

With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing go hand in hand.

I encourage Southwest Michigan anglers – and those who have never gone fishing – to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities this weekend.