2017-10-05 / Outdoors

Hunters lining up for North Manitou hunt

HADEN SHORTER, 13, shot this 3.5-year-old 8-point in Leland Township during the Youth Hunt on Sept. 17. HADEN SHORTER, 13, shot this 3.5-year-old 8-point in Leland Township during the Youth Hunt on Sept. 17. A big crowd is expected to board the Mishe Mokwa on Oct. 28 for the 2017 North Manitou Island deer hunt.

Chief Ranger Phil Akers of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore said 69 hunters have already registered for the weeklong stay on the island. The National Park Service issued 88 permits for the hunt last year, the most since 112 were requested in 2003.

Hunter participation and harvest totals both increased last year, as well. The 75 sportsmen who made the trip across the Manitou Passage harvested 33 deer last year — including a 14-point buck — the most in 18 years.

Akers said hunters should be aware of a few changes this year.

The first involves fresh water, which will not be available in the village.

“We’ve already winterized both islands,” he said. “Folks will need to boil or treat their water, but a lot of the hunters do that anyway because they’re camping away from the village.”

Akers said hunters will still be able to charge their phones on the island if needed, as electricity will be offered at the ranger station in the village.

Secondly, Akers said, rangers will register hunters in Leland before the trip — instead of on the island as they’d done in the past. Hunters are asked to show up at 7 a.m.; the ferry will leave at 9 a.m.

Lastly, participating hunters may also want to familiarize themselves with a few clarifications made by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission earlier this year:

There is no bag limit during the firearms season, and deer taken do not count toward tagging limits on the mainland. The Park Service will continue to issue kill tags.

No bait can be used during hunts.

State tags should be used for archery season on the island.

Bow season on the island is from Oct. 1-27. Sarah Grosvenor of Manitou Island Transit said the final ferry trip allowing bow hunters will be made this weekend. Twenty-five campers have signed up thus far.

Further information about island hunts is available by visiting nps.gov/ slbe/planyourvisit/nmihunting.htm.

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