BIG RAPIDS — Hunting opportunities are still available, but outdoorsmen have basically shied away from being out too much this time of year with the prevailing cold weather conditions.

Steve Griffith, DNR wildifie biologist for Northern Michigan, said the biggest hunting activity now would probably be for coyotes, especially in Kalkaska County.

Rabbit hunting continues through March and Griffith indicated he hasn’t received much information from hunters on any success stories.

“Hares is usually pretty slow,” he said. “Hare population is down. Rabbits will be predominately on private farm lands.

The last day of squirrel season is Saturday.

“The cold weather dries it up real fast,” said Brandon Jurries, of Trigger Time Outfitters in Big Rapids.

He added rabbit hunting could pick up as the weather gets warmer.

Vic Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, noted that most seasons close by March 1.

“Pretty much the only thing that will be open is rabbit hunting, and beaver and otter trapping,” Havens said. “There’s been a few guys out rabbit hunting. This weekend should be a good one for rabbit hunting with temperatures coming up a little bit.”

Other hunters are looking forward to April and May for the spring turkey season.

ORV INSTRUCTORS

The DNR has announced it is recruiting instructors for its off-road vehicle safety education program.

All ORV instructor volunteers are required to attend a three-day instructor academy to learn instructor policy and procedure, classroom management and teaching concepts, the DNR said, adding that instructors will have the chance to experience various aspects of ORV operation.

The DNR said there will be two ORV instructor academies in 2015: May 29-31 and June 5-7. Each class is limited to 24 students. The academies both will be held at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon County.

For more information about the ORV safety education program, persons can contact Cpl. John Morey at (989) 619-3784.