2013-11-21 / Sports

USFS: Blinds are regulated

GLADSTONE – The U.S. Forest Service welcomes hunters to Hiawatha National Forest, which provides nearly a million acres of public land for the use and enjoyment of the American people.

According to Forest Service personnel, while most hunters are responsible and follow the rules, there is growing concern about the incidence of illegal abandoned (or so-called ‘permanent’) blinds on National Forest System lands. Illegal blinds pose several risks including safety hazards, environmental damage and hunter conflicts.

Hiawatha National Forest Supervisor, Jo Reyer, offers several reminders to hunters who utilize hunting blinds and stands on National Forest lands. State of Michigan hunting regulations require that:

• Hunting blinds and stands on public lands must be portable and temporary.

• Blinds and stands can be placed no earlier than Sept. 1, must be removed by the following Jan. 1.

• The name, phone number and address of the owner must be posted on the blind/stand.

• Failure to remove any type of blind, structure, equipment or trash can result in fines, costs, and removal, destruction, impoundment and/or seizure of those items.

Hunters utilizing blinds on National Forest System lands should also be aware that there are some differences between hunting on state land versus National Forest land. For instance, hunters should remember that:

• All wheeled motor vehicles, including off-highway vehicles are allowed only on National Forest roads and trails shown open on the Forest’s current year Motor Vehicle Use Map. Consult the current MVUM to determine which roads, trails and areas are currently available for motorized use. The map is updated annually and is available free of charge at all Hiawatha National Forest offices or on the web at: www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/hiawatha/maps/MVUM.

• All cross country motorized travel (off of the designated routes) is prohibited on National Forest System lands, even for baiting or retrieval of game.

Forest Service law enforcement and investigation personnel and other staff will remove abandoned hunting blinds in accordance with the State regulation. For accurate information about hunting regulations in Michigan, hunters should review the current year’s MDNR “Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide,” paying particular attention to rules about, Blinds on Public Lands, Raised Platforms and Tree Stands, Baiting, and Hunting on National Forest System lands. For more information on how you can help, or to report illegal blinds or dumpsites, please contact your local National Forest office: Escanaba – (906) 786-4062, Manistique – (906) 341-5666, Munising – (906) 387- 2512, Rapid River – (906) 474-6442, Sault Ste. Marie – (906) 635-531 and St. Ignace – (906) 643-7900.

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