Michigan Elk/Bear license applications available

The Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters to apply for their Michigan elk and bear hunting licenses now through June 1. Hunters may apply online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings or at any retail license agent.

There are 200 elk licenses available for the 2012 hunting season, divided evenly between hunts in August/September and December. The August/September hunt is designed to target elk outside the primary elk range before these elk move for the breeding season. The December hunt will occur in the core elk range and also allows additional harvest outside the core area.

Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply for an elk license. This includes qualified military personnel and full-time students attending a Michigan college or university who reside in the state during the school year.

A total of 7,991 bear licenses are available, about 32 percent fewer than in 2011. License quotas have been reduced in response to new survey data which indicate the state’s bear populations have declined. Lower license quotas should stabilize populations in upcoming years.

If bear licenses remain after the drawing, one leftover license (per person) may be obtained on a first-come, first-served basis in July until the quota is met in each hunt period. There is no guarantee that leftover licenses will be available for any hunt unit or hunt period.

All commercial hunting guides utilizing state-managed lands in 2012 must receive written authorization. Guides are required to meet the conditions of the written authorization. If you are a guide who utilizes state-managed lands, please visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/statelandpermission for more information.

Hunters are also encouraged to apply for the 2012 Pure Michigan Hunt to increase their odds of getting a bear and elk license. Three lucky winners will receive a hunt package that includes a bear and elk license. Applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt will not affect the hunter’s preference points or weighted chances. Hunters can apply as many times as they like at www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt.