The good news for Michigan outdoorsmen is hunting and fishing are permitted under the state’s stay-at-home order, providing they follow social distancing guidelines.


However, they should stick to their local woods and waterways. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has encouraged hunters and fishers to stay close to home if they’re going outdoors.


For hunters, the wild turkey spring season is underway. The season opened on April 18 and will continue until May 31.


According to the DNR, those who have already purchased and have in their possession a 2020 spring turkey kill tag for an area far from their home can convert their existing tag into Hunt 0234 by going to www.Michigan.gov/HuntLocal.


Hunting licenses can be purchased online at www.mdnr-elicense.com and will be mailed. All hunting regulations remain in effect.


George Moilanen, president of the Emmet County Sportsmen’s Club, said he is not personally participating in the wild turkey spring season, but “some of the members are out there looking for turkeys.”


“It should be a very safe thing to do during the virus,” Moilanen said. “Any kind of outdoor activity, turkey hunting you’re mainly by yourself hunting solo. If there is someone else with you, they’re usually at fair distance. Most hunting activities and shooting activities are pretty neutral as it pertains to the virus. In most cases, turkey hunting is an individual deal. One person goes out and sits in one spot and puts out decoys or calls and if there’s someone else in their party, they’re in a different location.”


The shooting club, located at 6835 W. Robinson Road in Harbor Springs, was closed down during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, but with last week’s changes to the order, Moilanen said they will be re-opening for shooting activity this weekend.


“It’s a great outdoor activity that is reasonably safe if you operate under safe social distancing and it’s a great outdoor activity that our members want to enjoy,” he said. “We’re very happy to be able to re-open the club so people can come out and engage in the shooting sports.”


For anglers, the 2020 season opened on April 1. Licenses can be purchased online and either printed at home or downloaded to a mobile device. The DNR recommends that fishermen check the 2020 Michigan Fishing Guide for current fishing regulations.


The DNR has also noted that many public access sites may be closed or modified, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Before heading out, anglers should check to make sure their desired fishing site is available.


According to information listed in the coronavirus section of Michigan.gov, charter fishing or guided fishing enterprises are not currently allowed as “These operations do not meet any of the variances or exemptions outlined in the governor’s order as activities necessary ‘to sustain or protect life.’ They may also congregate anglers in violation of the order and state health recommendations. These activities should cease immediately and not resume until at least May 15.”


More information about spring hunting and fishing conditions can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnr/.