As Fall officially begins, Michigan hunters prepare to dust off their bows and hit the trail.

October 1, will mark the official opening to archery deer season throughout the state. Prospective hunters are expected to purchase a license before setting out, and to pay attention to laws that might potentially affect them.

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The 2019 Hunting Digest provides a compendium of the DNR’s regulations related to hunting throughout the state, and you should become at least acquainted with its contents before venturing out. The DNR hopes hunters will remember some of the more important changes to hunting regulations for this year.

Baiting and feeding deer and elk is banned in the entire Lower Peninsula and portions of the Upper Peninsula. The National Resource Commission approved a series of regulations meant to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease among deer in the Upper Peninsula. CWD is a fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk, and moose. The core CWD surveillance area includes portions of Monimee, Delta, and Dickinson counties. A private-land antlerless deer license is 40 percent cheaper in any area currently being managed by the DNR to prevent the spread of CWD, the discount expires November 3. Baiting will be allowed in the core CWD surveillance are for 4 days during the Independence hunt, which is meant for disabled hunters.

“Veterans with 100-percent disability or rated as individually unemployable by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may participate in this hunt,” said the DNR. “In addition, hunters who possess a permit to hunt from a standing vehicle or to hunt using a laser-sighting device, and hunters who are legally blind may also participate.”

The Independence hunt will start on October 17 and also removes any antler point restrictions for disabled hunters.

There are new antler point restrictions in some counties, including Ionia, Mecosta, and Montcalm. Hunters are encouraged to check the Hunting Digest in case antler point restrictions have changed in your county.

You can purchase deer, deer combo, and antlerless deer licenses online or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold. If purchasing online, expect a 10 day wait before receiving your license and plan accordingly.