With the archery deer hunting season opening Oct. 1 statewide, Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials today reminded hunters to visit deer check stations and information centers operating throughout the state.

Hunters who bring their deer to the check stations should have their deer in an accessible location on the vehicle so DNR staff can easily examine teeth and measure antler diameters. DNR staff measure antlers, examine teeth, and record where the deer was taken, its age, sex, total antler points, and antler beam diameter. These data are important to help evaluate the health and condition of the deer herd for future management.

Hunters who bring their deer or deer heads to any DNR check station will learn about their animal and will receive a 2004 Successful Deer Hunter Patch in appreciation for assisting the DNR in gathering deer management data.

The check stations are located at several DNR field offices, state game areas, parks, and recreation areas. A complete schedule of field offices and check stations can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10363_10856_10905-29582–,00.html. Before traveling to a specific check station, telephone first to confirm hours and location. Three check stations are strategically located along major travel arteries during firearm season.

  • Big Rapids, Nov. 16-18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., US-131 rest area south of Big Rapids

  • Birch Run, Nov. 16-21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weigh station 2.5 miles north of Birch Run

  • St. Ignace, Nov. 16-20, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., southbound lane, just north of Bridge

    As part of the DNR’s program to monitor bovine tuberculosis in deer, hunters taking deer in the following 33 counties are encouraged to bring their deer or deer heads to any DNR office for free tuberculosis testing: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Wexford.

    As part of the state’s ongoing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Plan, 60 deer heads from each county will be collected from volunteers for submission to Michigan State University for CWD testing.

    In preparation for firearm season, hunters may also want to visit the deer information centers. DNR conservation officers, wildlife biologists, and operation services staff will be available at the following information centers to provide hunters with deer hunting literature and answer questions on hunting prospects and regulations:

    • Clare Welcome Center, US-27, Nov. 13-14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    • St. Ignace Welcome Center, I-75 at Mackinac Bridge, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    A complete list of DNR information stations and deer check stations, as well as DMU maps, hunting regulations, disease surveillance and other hunting information is available at: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10363_10856_10905—,00.html.