'It’s going be a fantastic opener”

Area deer hunters excited with 2022 season prospects

BIG RAPIDS – All reports are the opening day for deer hunting on Nov. 15 could be a very good one.

“It’s looking like nice cool weather, so it should be a good opening day,” Tanner Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley said. “They were talking about snow for the weekend. I don’t know if it will last to Tuesday. I think with cooler weather, bucks will definitely be on the move, along with the does. It’s going be a fantastic opener.”

Area DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing is inclined to agree.

“It’s looking good,” he said. “People are seeing deer. Right now the rut is underway. Bucks are chasing does night and day. Watch your driving. The warm weather (from late last week) is limiting their movement in daylight hours. They have their winter coats on. If it’s too hot, they just lay low until it cools down.”

In this area, deer heads are being collected for CWD checks only in Oceana County, Kailing said.

“We’re not collecting heads in Mecosta or Newaygo counties this year,” he said. “Hunters are advised if they want…on deer checks, we’ll be helping hunters register their deer at the Paris office (off of Northland Drive). It’s a required registration this year.

“It will be different than in the past. We’re not going to be collecting heads and aging deer for people. We’ll be helping you register your deer. Patches will be hard to come by.”

Kailing indicated deer numbers are good.

“We had a good growing season,” he said. “License sales and harvest were on course from last year.”

The Paris office will be open for deer to be brought in from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. all of the firearm deer season Nov. 15-30, except on the Thanksgiving holidays Nov. 24 and 25.

“Our main job will be helping the hunters harvest their deer on line,” Kailing said. “If you can do it by yourself on your smart phone or computer, you don’t have to stop here at all.”

Wilderness Journal TV host Kyle Randall, of Paris, also likes deer hunting prospects.

“The rut is a little late but I’d say the number of deer is way up and there’s been some nice bucks already harvested in the area,” Randall said. “I look forward to a very good opener.”

As for other hunting activity, “turkey season is still going to the 15th and there’s a few birds around but not a lot. If somebody has a tag they’d better hurry up with that,” Randall said. “We were fortunate to harvest a couple of nice birds this fall.

“The small game stuff, especially the grouse, is going well. Goose and waterfowl hunting has been really good from what my friend tells me. There’s a lot of opportunities out there right now.”