Hunting is a time honored tradition in Michigan, and what better than to make it a family affair. Hunting provides Michigan families and individuals with millions of pleasurable hours of wholesome, challenging outdoor recreation. Most hunters develop an intense appreciation for the wilderness, wildlife and a clean environment through their participation in hunting. The challenge of becoming a sports-person becomes a lifelong quest. Most hunters know that the lasting fun of hunting comes only when it is conducted safely and ethically. Safe hunting begins with Hunter Education.
Hunter education courses teach new hunters responsibility, ethics, firearm safety, wildlife conservation and wildlife identification, game care, survival and first aid. The typical hunter education course consists of two to five sessions with a total class time of 10 to 12 hours. Hunter education classes are typically held in outdoor clubs, schools, police stations, and camps.
Since 2006 the State of Michigan has passed 2 new laws for the hunting seasons: one that lowers the hunting age and the other that creates an apprentice hunter program. The new hunting age law lowers the age for hunting game from 12 to 10 years old, and lowers the age for hunting deer, bear and elk with a firearm on private land only from age 14 to 12. Under the new law, other than on land where their parent or guardian lives, youth hunters must be supervised in the field by a licensed adult hunter who must maintain unaided visual and verbal contact with the younger hunter at all times. These new laws now let parents determine whether or not their children are ready to hunt.
The apprentice program also gives adults who have not hunted before a chance to be mentored by an experienced hunter, so they can try the sport first before making a substantial commitment.The DNR encourages parents, guardians and other adult hunters to take a youngster hunting this year. In passing on an important heritage to a new generation of hunters, you also will be helping them learn valuable lessons about responsibility, outdoor ethics and wildlife conservation. The apprentice hunter program allows individuals to hunt without the required hunter education course if accompanied and closely monitored by a licensed hunter 21 and older who is mentoring them in the sport. An apprentice hunter may participate in the program for two license years before being required to take a hunter safety course.
The Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety
1. Watch that muzzle! Keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times.
2. Treat every firearm with the respect due a loaded gun. It might be, even if you
think it isn’t.
3. Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it. Know the identifying
features of the game you hunt. Make sure you have an adequate backstop --- don’t
shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
4. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot. This is the best
way to prevent an accidental discharge.
5. Check your barrel and ammunition. Make sure the barrel and action are clear of
obstructions and carry only the proper ammunition for your firearm.
6. Unload firearms when not in use. Leave actions open/ carry firearms in cases and
unloaded to and from the shooting area.
7. Point a firearm only at something you intend to shoot. Avoid all horseplay with a
8. Don’t run, jump or climb with a loaded firearm. Unload a firearm before you
climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch. Pull a firearm toward you by the butt, not
9. Store firearms and ammunition separately and safely. Store each in secured
locations beyond the reach of children and careless adults.
10. Avoid alcoholic beverages before or during shooting. Also avoid mind- or
behavior altering medicines or drugs.
So, keep the time honored tradition alive, by getting the whole family involved in Michigan hunting.
Written By: Mike Girolami, President WorkWear1, http://www.workwear1.com, Local Distributor of Carhartt Clothing, Redford, MI