Not even hunting is safe from changes this year.
Ahead of hunting season, some state and local officials are preparing for a year unlike any other. While some areas may be expecting a higher number of hunters than usual, others are preparing for having fewer resources and personnel available.
In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources says that there will be significantly fewer check stations for deer hunters.
In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says there will be significantly fewer check stations for deer hunters, Fox 17 reports. These stations are important for hunters to check in with officials and provide information about where they’re hunting and the deer they’ve harvested.
Chad Stewart, a deer specialist with the DNR, told the news outlet, “We have restrictions on how many individuals we can hire to operate those check stations. Furthermore, with the current pandemic going on we have limitations in terms of what we feel is comfortable or safe for not only our staff but for our hunters as well.”
Stewart explained that during a typical year, there might be anywhere from 100 to 150 of such stations. This year, however, there may only be about 10 to 15 stations open at the start of archery season.
“We collect a lot of biological information,” he said. “We collect tissues for disease surveillance. It’s really beneficial to help monitor the health and the status of the deer herd and how it changed year after year. This year obviously things are very different.”
Aside from a limited number of stations, staff will apparently be limited in the amount they can interact with hunters.
According to Stewart, “The people that bring their deer in are generally pretty happy. The fact that you can talk to them about their experience. We always give them like a little patch. That’s free and it sort of shows that they were a willing contributor to some of the biological information. That always makes people’s day.”