Plan now for fall bird-hunting season

LANSING — With bird hunting season just around the corner, it’s a great time to plan a fall hunting trip.

Michigan has millions of acres of huntable public land, with excellent young forests that have made northern Michigan a destination for many.

GEMS and Mi-HUNT are two DNR-developed programs to help build a public-land hunting itinerary.

Nineteen GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management Sites) in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be available to explore this fall. GEMS are large blocks of land managed for young forests, with winding hunter walking trails that provide added comfort to those unfamiliar with an area or those with mobility challenges.

Visit michigan.gov/gems for an interactive map, information about individual GEMS, custom maps and information about local businesses showing support by offering discounts.

Mi-HUNT is another option for hunters who already know the general area they’d like to hunt but want specific stand and road information. Visit michigan.gov/mihunt to watch the tutorials that can help you use the mapping system to its full potential.

Michigan’s grouse season runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. Woodcock, a migratory bird, have an abbreviated season, Sept. 22 to Nov. 5. To hunt grouse and woodcock in Michigan, hunters only need a base license. To target woodcock, a free woodcock stamp is required. Licenses and stamps may be purchased online at E-License or at one of the many license agents across the state.