Michigan -(Ammoland.com)- With firearm deer hunting season approaching, conservation officers at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources remind hunters heading afield using an off-road vehicle (ORV) to follow ORV land-use regulations.
“Each year, some hunters use ORVs where it is illegal to operate them,” said Cpl. John Morey, DNR ORV and snowmobile coordinator. “We remind hunters that ORV restrictions are in place to protect natural resources and minimize user conflict with other hunters and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. To ensure everyone’s safety and to help everyone have an enjoyable hunt, we ask riders to know the rules.”
Hunters should be aware of the following ORV land-use regulations:
It is illegal to operate an ORV on public lands in the lower peninsula unless they are operating on the DNR designated ORV trail system. Michigan’s ORV trail system has three basic types of trails, including:
- Motorcycle-only trails maintained at a 28-inch width
- 50-inch-wide trails open to ORVs that are 50-inches wide or less
- ORV routes maintained at a width of 72 inches
ORV use on designated trails is limited depending on the type of designated ORV trail and the ORV width. Off-trail or off-route ORV operation outside of a designated trail is prohibited, except for licensed hunters removing deer, bear or elk and operating an ORV at speeds of 5 miles per hour or less and traveling to the harvested game using the shortest possible route. Big game ORV retrieval provisions do not apply to the Pigeon River Country State Forest or to state game areas and national forests.
ORVs are generally prohibited on state game areas or state parks and recreation areas.
In all national forests, motor vehicles can be used only on roads, trails or areas that are designated as open on motor vehicle use maps. For more information, contact the local national forest headquarters.
It is illegal to operate an ORV from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on any area open to public hunting during the Nov. 15-30 firearm deer season. For exceptions to these time restrictions, see the 2015 Hunting and Trapping Digest, which is also available at mi.gov/dnrdigests, or the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws. Images of the ORV confidence markers are found on page 51 of the handbook.
Roads, streets and highways maintained for year-round automobile travel (including the shoulder and the right-of-way) are closed to ORV operation unless designated open to ORV use by local ordinance. ORV operators should check with that county’s sheriff, road commission or clerk for local ordinances.
Private land is closed to ORV operation except by the landowner and the landowner’s invited guests.
An ORV may not be operated in a manner that creates an erosive condition. Michigan’s soils and shorelines are fragile, and ORV operation in these areas and along stream banks and other waterways is prohibited.
It is unlawful to operate any ORV in or on the waters of any stream, river, marsh, bog, wetland or quagmire.
For more information about ORV regulations – including rules for transporting firearms and hunting provisions for those with disabilities – see the Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws by visiting www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails and clicking the ORV button. Maps of state-designated ORV trails also can be found there.
To report a natural resource violation, please call the Report all Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/rap.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. To learn more about the work of conservation officers, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficer.