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Using Ground Blinds on Michigan’s Public Hunting Lands

July 10th, 2013

Under current regulations, ground blinds for deer hunting purposes cannot be placed on public land prior to November 5 of each year. However, raised platforms or scaffolds, often called tree stands, can be placed on public lands as early as September 1.

In order to ensure more consistent dates and opportunities in the placement of ground blinds for deer hunting purposes on public lands,  MUCC has advocated for a change to these rules, particularly those for portable ground blinds, via a resolution passed at the 2012 Annual Convention. The Natural Resources Commission will be taking this issue up for discussion at both their July 11 and August 8 meetings.

The DNR has agreed to allow for placement of ground blinds earlier, beginning on September 1 just like tree stands, for all hunters through Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 16, poised for approval at the NRC meeting in August. However, only hunters with disabilities (as defined in proposed Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 10 set for approval in July) would be allowed to leave temporary ground blinds overnight on lands in Zone 3 where hunting is allowed (such as State Game Areas or Recreation Areas). Ground blinds in zones 1 and 2 would be allowed to be left overnight as they are now during the defined time period and with proper identification marked.

The reason given for not allowing Southern Michigan hunters to leave their blind out on public land particularly during the early firearm and archery deer seasons on State Game Areas is that it is perceived that it may result in conflicts with other kinds of hunting, such as small game. Unlike tree stands, its hard to know whether ground blinds are occupied at a distance and because of the possible hunter density during deer seasons on public lands in Southern Michigan, a small game hunter or fall turkey hunter may get scared off.

So what do you think? Should hunters be allowed to leave their blind up over night (realizing this is at their own risk) in Southern Michigan or have to remove it daily? Should this only apply to hunters with disabilities? What about hunters with a senior license (65 and older)? Did you even realize that the rules were different for tree stands and among the hunting zones?

  • Dan Macut

    Does this apply to ground blinds constructed of natural “found” materials? I did not know there was a difference between tree stands and blinds. I think tent blinds should be removed in zone 3, but I’m willing to go with the majority on that one.

    • Amy Trotter

      Blinds from dead and downed materials will continue to be allowed anywhere, but you would still have to remove any non-natural materials at the end of each day (netting, tarps etc).

  • Tom

    sI have put tent blinds out on private property in early Sept for fall turkey and to use during Oct for bow hunting.

    They were stolen before Oct 1st. This happened twice.

    Now who in they’re right mind would put one on public land?

    I tell ya. There are some real low lifes out there.

    Tom E.

  • Lifestye Archer 44 Years

    As a lifestyle bowhunter I hunt private and state land in Manistee County. The last 5 days before rifle/shotgun seasons is prime time for hunting larger Bucks because of the pre-rut that has started. I find it frustrating that Rifle/shotgun hunters that place ground blinds out at the last moment do nothing but the disturb a bowhunters efforts by just being in the woods. Most pop up ground blinds can be erected the day of the hunt within minutes so preplacement is not necessary. My records indicated that I change elevated blinds 62 separate times last year to harvest my 2 deer, I do not use bait of any sort, I hunt my deer. What has really complicated archery season are firearm hunters that are not archers (compound and Recurve plus long bow) buying crossbows and invading the archery seasons with bait piles and poor whitetail hunting skills. The factors I mentioned above are frustrating and disturbing to true hunting archers. I place elevated blinds on private land in late august and early Sept. Has anyone noticed that for the years when baiting was not allowed or reduced that large older Bucks were showing up the 2 year after. I have.

  • oldtimer

    Bow hunting starts October first so the Nov rule for tree stands would be kind of late.

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