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There’s been a big jump in the number of animals in Michigan testing positive for rabies.

This year, 22 bats and two skunks have tested positive for rabies. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a measure that would prevent communities from sterilizing wild animals to control their populations.

Men posing with large fish
DNR

Michigan’s shortest hunting or fishing season begins, and likely ends, Saturday morning.

Starting when the clock strikes 8am, more than 300 ice fishermen will take part in this weekend’s Black Lake sturgeon season. 

The prehistoric fish can grow to up to eight feet in length.  

Lake sturgeon are listed as a state threatened species.  After being over-fished for more than a century, the lake sturgeon population has been rebounding slowly. 

Starting in 1997, the annual Black Lake season has been part of the state’s sturgeon management plan. 

LITTLE TRAVERSE BAY BANDS OF ODAWA INDIANS

Wildlife specialists will soon be in the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, tracking wolves. 

The Department of Natural Resources last conducted a wolf census in 2016, when it estimated more than 600 wolves prowled in the U.P.

The DNR's Kevin Swanson says they don't know what to expect. But he says conditions may be right for an increase in the wolf population. 

"We have a lot more deer on the landscape now," says Swanson. 

But Swanson says there are other factors, like canine distemper, that could negatively affect the wolf population. 

USFWSmidwest / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have enough people out in the field to keep an eye on everything in nature, so it relies on hunters, hikers, anglers, and activists to report things that are out of the ordinary.

But there was a problem with the department’s method of getting that information: red tape. The DNR had 15 different observation forms.

But now, there's an app for that.

Courtesy Seth Herbst

A couple weeks ago, this guy in Kalamazoo County sees something a little odd: what looks like a tiny lobster, trying to cross the road.

He takes a picture of it, and sends it to the man who’s been dreading this moment: Seth Herbst, the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the fisheries division at the Department of Natural Resources.

“And as soon as I saw that photo, it was a clear as day that that was a red swamp crayfish,” Herbst sighs. But his day was only going to get worse. Later that very morning, he heard from another person in that same area – Sunset Lake in Vicksburg – who saw a red swamp crayfish walking around in their yard.

This was bad news.

a moose being released
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The moose population in the western Upper Peninsula appears to be rebounding after taking a dip a few years ago.

Moose were reintroduced into the western U.P. in the 1980s. Their range there covers about 1,400 square miles in parts of Marquette, Baraga, and Iron Counties. 

The moose population in the area grew to 451 in 2013 before dropping down to 285 in 2015.

But Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman John Pepin says the just completed aerial survey counted 378 moose.

(PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. MOHAMED FAISAL)

This Memorial Day weekend, anglers dipping their fishing lines into the St. Clair River and Lake Erie are being asked to help contain a viral outbreak that's killing fish.

This spring saw the biggest Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia.  or VHS, outbreak in Michigan since 2006.   

oak wilt
Greg Blick / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 cropped

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will discuss efforts to combat oak wilt disease in trees on Belle Isle in Detroit.

Public informational meetings are scheduled Thursday at the Nature Zoo and Great Lakes Dossin Museum on the island park in the Detroit River.

The state says oak wilt is a fungus that can spread from tree to tree through underground root connections, or grafts. Spores also can be spread by beetles attracted to the fungus' smell.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan wildlife officials are closing out a year of battling chronic wasting disease in the state’s free-ranging deer.

The first case of Chronic Wasting Disease turned up in Ingham County in April.  By the end of the year, a total of four confirmed cases of the fatal neurological illness were confirmed, among the nearly four thousand deer that were tested.

In order to decrease the chances of CWD spreading, Gov. Snyder this week signed a law extending a ban on feeding wild deer. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Firearm deer season is underway today in Michigan.

The hunt is giving state wildlife officials a chance to expand the search for more cases of chronic wasting disease.

In April, a 6 year old doe tested positive for CWD, a fatal neurological disease. It was the first case of a free ranging deer coming down with the disease. Since then, two more deer have tested positive. All three deer were from Ingham County and were related.    

State urges hunters to help keep deer disease out of UP

Nov 12, 2015
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has launched an education campaign to try to keep chronic wasting disease from spreading to the Upper Peninsula.

The disease affects the central nervous system and is always fatal to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose, according to the DNR. And there is no known treatment.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

CLARE, Mich. (AP) - A man hunting for porcupine was attacked by a black bear in Clare County.

  The Department of Natural Resources says the 46-year-old was treated for minor injuries Thursday night. The hunter told authorities that the bear knocked him over from behind.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State wildlife officials are shifting their investigation into Chronic Wasting Disease in deer in mid-Michigan.  

The Department of Natural Resources has examined the brains of roughly 600 deer since the first case of CWD was confirmed in Ingham County in May. In all, three have tested positive for the fatal neurological disease.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Another free-ranging Michigan deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. 

“This news is not surprising,” said Dr. Steve Schmitt, DNR wildlife veterinarian. “The good news is that all three deer came from the same small area.” All three deer are related and were found in a one mile radius in Ingham County.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer, moose and elk.   It is not a threat to humans.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering a warning about bears in the state.

WLUC-TV reports the DNR has responded to dozens nuisance bear complaints so far this year as bears are on the move. The agency says that adult bears have been moving in mating season while younger bears are looking to find their own territory.

This story was updated to include a link to the 2015  Event Price Structure.

After two weeks and several requests via email, telephone, and in person, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has finally revealed information which should have been easily available to anyone.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

You might’ve heard about cougars being spotted in Michigan. There are also cougars out west and there’s the Florida panther. But what we’re talking about here is something called the eastern cougar.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A serious health threat to the state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. 

a helicopter flies over a wildfire
The U.S. Army on Flickr / Flickr

As April approaches, the chance for wildfires increases. Most Michigan wildfires occur in April, May or June with few a few minor fires happening throughout the rest of summer and into fall.

Wildfire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Dan Laux says this spring is already shaping up to be warmer and drier than those in the past. The snow melting so early may mean wildfire season could come sooner, but with the ground remaining damp for a while, Laux isn't too concerned.

claus+ flcker.com

A controversial Upper Peninsula land deal appears closer to approval.

A Canadian mining company wants to buy land and mineral rights on ten thousand acres of state land in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to mine limestone in the area northwest of St. Ignace. The company plans surface and underground mines.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Everyone knows this has been a brutally cold winter in Michigan.

And not just for people.

Polar cold temps have resulted in Michigan lakes and rivers icing over to record degrees. That’s left little open water for ducks to feed.

A Canadian mining company has revised its proposal to acquire nearly 10,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to acquire land and mineral rights in three different U.P. counties to mine for limestone.  The mining operation would include surface and underground mining.  The company says it is acquiring so much property because it plans to set up a “generational” operation that would mine the land for 100 years. 

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan history. 

Graymont is seeking to buy thousands of acres of state-owned land and mineral rights for a proposed limestone mining operation near Rexton.
User clau+ / flickr.com

Next month, a decision could be made on whether to sell thousands of acres in the Upper Peninsula to a Canadian mining company, Graymont Inc.

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan’s history.

USFWS

State wildlife officials are looking for wolf poachers in the Upper Peninsula.

Two wolves were killed last month in Mackinac and Schoolcraft counties.

In one case, a tracking collar on one of the wolves was removed. 

Brian Roth / Michigan State University

State officials recently updated the list of invasive species banned in Michigan. They added seven species to the list. That means you can’t have them in your possession or move them around.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This is shaping up to be a disappointing season for firearm deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

An early-season storm and lake effect combined to dump more than three feet of snow in parts of the U.P. last week. 

Russ Mason is the chief of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. He says the deep snow is preventing hunters from reaching deer in the U.P.

“You would need a four-wheeler with tracks or a snow machine, and guys just aren’t prepared for that,” says Mason. “I expect the U.P. numbers are going to be way down this year.”

River
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Stefan Tucker made a head-turning discovery when doing research for his senior undergrad thesis in the St. Mary’s River. Instead of finding the sturgeon he was looking for he found wild Atlantic salmon. Previously, the species was believed not to be reproducing in the upper Great Lakes. Tucker explained to us just what this discovery means and what questions it has now raised about the salmon’s presence in the Great Lakes.

Joel Trick / USFWS

The Kirtland’s warbler is starting its migration from Michigan to the Caribbean.

By the time the song birds return to their Michigan breeding grounds next year, the Kirtland’s warbler may no longer be listed as an endangered species.  

USFWS Midwest

There are fewer wolves living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

State wildlife biologists report a slight dip in the wolf population following last fall’s controversial hunt.

The Department of Natural Resources has just completed a census of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR admits the count is more of an estimate than an accurate head count.

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