Deer rifle season opens on Friday

DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing anticipates a strong firearm deer season. (Herald Review file photo)

DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing anticipates a strong firearm deer season. (Herald Review file photo)

REED CITY - The bow season has been going on since Oct. 1 and now the firearm hunters are getting ready for the opener on Friday.

"The bow season has been good," DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing said. "The weather hasn't been the greatest with the rain and wind. Hunters are taking deer. We see a few nice bucks here at the check station and some nice bucks off state land and if there are acorns or beechnuts nearby, the deer are focused there.

"A lot of the corn in the area hasn't been picked and deer will go there too. But they'll look for the acorns before they bother the field corn. The weather now has taken a turn for the cold, which is not all bad. It's better to be warm and dry than warm and wet."

The opener is on a Friday.

"That's always good news for hunters," Kailing said. "We're in a surveillance zone here. The antler point restrictions apply in Mecosta County. All deer harvested must have four points on one side on public and private land."

The check station at the rest area, west off of U.S. 131, a mile south of Big Rapids, will again be operating on Nov. 16 and 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

"We'll also have staff at the Morley check station (at the municipal parking lot)," Kailing said, "and here at the Paris field office. It's open 9 to 4 Thursday through Monday and closed Tuesday and Wednesday. In November, they will be open every day except for Thanksgiving."

The rest area "is a tradition to stop there and hunters from all over the state drive by there," Kailing said. "Almost 75 percent of our days are harvested the first five days of the deer season."

The DNR website has information on all the deer check stations in the area plus open hours.

"We have check stations in other counties as well," Kailing said. "Osceola County will have a check station at Phil's Countyline service west of Reed City on U.S. 10 It's open Nov. 1 to Jan. 1 Friday through Monday, 9 to 5."

Kailing said mostly DNR staff and hired seasonal staff are at the stations.