Hunting activity at slow pace

BIG RAPIDS — It’s not the busiest time of year for hunting, but some activity continues to take place in Northern Michigan.

Katie Keen, Northern Michigan DNR wildlife technician, noted that questions she’s been getting in her office are related to coyote hunting.

“It’s kind of understanding what they can, how they can do it, where they can do it, that type of thing right now,” she said. “Then coming into our office would be for turkey applications and fur bearer registration. Those are the type of things we’re seeing now, plus those that harvested bobcats, otter, that’s what we’re seeing.”

Trapping is another activity sportsmen can be doing at this time.

“Seasons get a little specific, based on where you’re at,” Keen said. “Below the bridge down here, bobcat trapping is over. You can be trapping down in our area. In the U.P. they’re still trapping. But there’s still bobcat and coyote hunting that’s open.”

It’s hard to gauge activity in terms of small game hunting, Keen noted. “We don’t hear from them,” she said. “There’s mailed-out surveys or they can fill out a voluntary one online. Almost 58,000 deer surveys went out a couple of weeks ago. Most people who were selected to get the random deer harvest survey should have received it by now. We will send out reminders to send it in. But everyone can do the online survey.”

The winter, with the exception of recent days in subzero temperature, should be favorable for hunting, especially mobility, Keen said.

“The snow isn’t too deep,” Keen said. “This time last year it was hard to get out and enjoy yourself.  But now, the snow is not too deep.”

An assessment on winter survival for deer is tracked throughout the winter, Keen said. A mild winter and January that wasn’t  as bitterly cold as a year ago gives early indication that deer and other wildlife could have a better survival rate this time. February has been a different story, however.

“It won’t be until spring that we’ll know the end all result,” Keen said. “The snow is not prohibiting them this year. They’re still scratching through.”