Michigan DNR Patrols: Firearm Deer Season

It may as well be a holiday in Northern Michigan.

Thousands of hunters are using what’s left of daylight on opening day of the firearm deer season.

Most schools around the area were closed as hunters of all ages got their camo and hunters orange and headed out into the woods.

Opening day started Tuesday morning at daylight and runs through November 15.

The DNR encourages successful hunters to take their deer to a check station so they can gather information on the animal and check for disease.

The economic impact is huge.

Between restaurants, bars and sporting good shops, the season brings about $2.3 billion into the state of Michigan.

9&10 News has been out looking for and talking with successful hunters since the sun came up.

We’ve seen a few hunters and their bucks come rolling through the DNR deer checking station in Cadillac, all bringing in legal game.

Conservation officers are out across the state, making sure it stays legal and fun.

"I’m always checking hunting licenses, always checking for safety and resolving conflicts," says Rebecca Hopkins.

Rebecca has served as a conservation officer for 18 years.

These next two weeks will keep her and fellow DNR officers on the move.

"This whole 15 days, this is a maximum amount of people have come all the way to Northern Michigan, into the state to pursue deer and there’s lots of safety concerns," explains Rebecca.

That also means making sure hunters remember the law.

"A majority of our contacts, there’s absolutely nothing wrong. We just check people for the basics. Hunting licenses, see how their hunt is going. I’m the front line person so they’ll express their concerns to me about how the APR is going," says Rebecca. "We take every instance at a time and every situation is different."

She says if you follow the law, the biggest hunting day of the year can always be a good one.

"What you want is a safe and successful deer season for everybody. It’s not about ticket writing," explains Rebecca. "I don’t walk up to people and screw up their hunt if I don’t have to. I’m in the woods for a purpose and I contact people with a purpose."

Antler point restrictions, or APRs, impact 13 counties, all in Northern Michigan.