Using Ground Blinds on Michigan’s Public Hunting LandsJuly 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?