Locked and loaded

Michigan's firearm deer season began today, and the first of the county's two special deer hunts at North Ottawa Dunes is this weekend.
Alex Doty
Nov 15, 2012


The second hunt at the county park is Dec. 8-9.

“We’re very excited to say we have 17 hunters for the first hunt and 17 hunters for the second,” said Melanie Manion, Ottawa County's natural resources management supervisor.

Manion said 270 hunters applied for permits for the two-weekend hunt. Because of the overwhelming response, only 15 slots were given away through the county’s lottery process.

“Most of them are different, but there are some repeaters,” Manion said.

Manion said county officials have performed a litany of safety checks to make sure things go off without a hitch.

“For safety reasons, we have a check-in policy, so everyone has to check in at North Beach Park (in Ferrysburg),” she said.

Each hunter will be assigned a specific zone where they can hunt deer. This allows hunters to have their own area without crossing paths with each other.

“Zones range from 11 to 26 acres, with the average being about 17 acres,” Manion said.

Hunter registration will begin at 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Checkout from the park is at 8 p.m. both days.

“During that time, we’ll always have people at the North Beach Park,” Manion said.

To read the county parks officials' reasons for the hunt and the rules, click the Related Files below this story.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources allows hunting up to 15 minutes after sunset. Manion said the 8 p.m. checkout time allows hunters the opportunity to get back to the staging area with any deer they may have taken.

“We’re hoping for good weather and for hunters to have a good time, and for neighbors to understand and feel comfortable,” Manion said.

Residents who live near the park have mixed feelings about the two-weekend hunt.

Beverly Cooper, who lives next to the park, said she's seen vegetation have difficulties growing and erosion issues within the past few years.

“We have been dealing with a deer over-population for decades,” she said. “To have some of the deer taken out is a good idea.”

Cooper said she's also concerned about the deer population having an effect on the health of the herd.

“I have seen several deer that looked like a greyhound, it was so thin,” she said.

Ferrysburg City Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg said the hunt is not a good idea, mainly for safety concerns.

“Much of North Ottawa Dunes abuts Coast Guard Park and private home property," she explained. "I feel this hunt is risky, and am disappointed that other public officials have not really checked into the safety concerns that many residents have voiced.”

Sjoberg lives in Ferrysburg's Parkwood Village, which is near the hunting area. She is expecting to see the consequences of the hunt firsthand.

“During this hunt, I am going to see herds of fleeing deer in the forest that backs my home,” she said. “I hope people realize that they have no right to pursue those deer outside of the designated hunt area, and I also hope this is not a tragedy waiting to happen.”

Manion said “a lot of time and thought and sleepless nights” went into making the hunt possible. She said county parks and recreation officials have been looking at feedback from neighbors and the community, and promised that it hasn’t fallen on deaf ears.




Let the harvest begin


....Sojberg: “During this hunt, I am going to see herds of fleeing deer in the forest that backs my home,” she said. This is what happens when you get your education on how the natural world works from Disney!! No clue what she is talking about.


Ms. Sjoberg is to be commended for her public service in our communities. Unfortunately, when pressed, she is unable or unwilling to offer specific examples of how these activities endanger non-participants in a way, or at rate which crys for public attention and government action. While anything is possible, you are more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident, even with the truck that delivers the newspaper which contains Ms. Sjobergs quote about hunting safety.



Deer are not a "herd" animal. They will "yard" up in larger groups during a winter with deep snow, but otherwise, seldom travel in groups larger than 3-5 animals and frequently, just a couple of animals. Ms. Sjoberg lives to the east of park wood drive in Ferrysburg. And nearly a 1/2 mile from the eastern boundary of North Ottawa Dunes where hunting would be allowed. It is highly unlikely that "fleeing" deer would pass through Coast Guard park and a condo development to get to the "forest" in her backyard. Hyperbole, plain and simple. Very disappointing for a public official.


Melanie Manion is not someone I would trust. I have heard outrageous statements from this woman regarding both safety issues and deer-related health issues.
And if someone thinks deer aren't going to be running scared during this hunt, they must get their nature education from - well, nowhere.


What is a SINGLE, specific example of an "outrageous" statement from Ms. Manion? Also, evolution has conspired with predation to compel deer to run "scared" for the bulk of their lives. Ever wonder why they have a white tail and it's prominently visible only when they run? It's a warning sign to other deer. They have amazing olfactory and aural senses developed primarily as an early warning system that allows them to escape predation with speed. Looking forward to that example(s) of Ms. Manion playing fast and loose with the truth.


No answer? As Judge Smails might has exclaimed: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ang...


It has now been one week since you we're asked a specific question to substantiate your slur against a public official. As with so many of your ilk, your silence speaks volumes.




Any reports of deer running scared thru neighborhoods yet. Any bullets bouncing off houses?? I'm eagerly waiting as they should have been blazing away for hours by now!


Any reports of deer running scared thru neighborhoods yet. Any bullets bouncing off houses?? I'm eagerly waiting as they should have been blazing away for hours by now!


Tell ya what....it's a beautiful day for a walk in the woods.....why don't you go out there, get some first-hand info for once and then report back to us. I've got a white fanny pack and a baseball cap with antlers you can use if you really want to experience the thrill of the hunt. No whistling allowed!


You know, I'd be willing to bet I could do exactly that during hunting hours and be safer then a walk in an low rent urban area on a Saturday night!


Careful now, your racism is showing again......


"Low rent" is color blind! You apparently are not.


Now aren't you the one who, just a few days ago, was trying to convince me that there was such a thing as white on white racism? As for being color blind? Nope, I'm not. I can see the whole spectrum from white to black and everything in between. I'm pretty good at spotting B.S. when I see / read / hear it too!


Only BS here is what your throwing jack. This hunt is safe and you/others are trying to imply it isn't. Funny when stuff like this is pointed out, you get indignate and defensive.


This hunt is safe and you/others are trying to imply it isn't...You need to work on your reading comprehension. You have an amazing talent of reading inbetween the lines and adding your own agenda. Where have I ever said I was for or against it?

Funny when stuff like this is pointed out, you get indignate and
defensive....What stuff like this are you talking about? I don't get indignant and defensive usually, but then I don't suffer fools gladly either. Maybe you're the one getting defensive? Just sayin'......

So, do we know yet how many deer were taken?


Well lookee there....I can break my posts into paragraphs now with the new forum setup without having to use HTML tags. On the other hand.....the bold tag is no longer available, making it harder to have a quote stand out from the reply. Ah well, the Tribune giveth and the Tribune taketh away. Nevertheless, the new forum is an improvement, making it much more easy to follow the differing lines of thought. Thanks and kudos to whoever is in charge.

and now, back to the great debate.


No, I'm not losing my mind talking to myself, I hope......just realized that now there is no EDIT button below the posts. That's not good Trib....I like the freedom to be able to edit, add to, or subtract from my original posts, at least for awhile, in case I spot and error or want to make a point clearer. I'd respectfully ask that you bring back the ole EDIT button, please.


I argee whith the edit button, also the new forum is descending vs ascending....eh I'll get used to it.


LOL! You did that on purpose. I didn't realize that if I put a pic on my personal page it's now gonna show up above every freakin' post I make! That's a bit of overkill. Guess ole Clint's gonna have to come down. If everybody adds a pic to their page it'll be hard to find the posts inbetween 'em. Maybe an avatar 25% that size, but I'd vote NO to pics the current size. It's not Flickr fercryinoutloud....it's a discussion forum.

Don't you think that descending is more intuitive? Now you can start at the top of the page, with the first comment entered and scroll down to read them in the order they were added into the dialog. Easier, for me at least, to see how the discussion develops. Hopefully whoever's in charge of the update will post, asking for feedback after a bit. Right now I'm at +2 and -3.


Did what on purpose? My avatar?...lol Had one up way before you, just changed it a couple times.. Yeah 220 X 220 is kinda big, maybe 150 X 150 and most forums are descending, just used to seeing the new comments at the top


To the Grand Haven Tribune, Thanks for your editorial (Hunt Opposition off Target, September 21) and this article clarifying the primary challenges facing the ecosystem of North Ottawa Dunes (NOD). Many of your readers recall, when this 500 acres was purchased by Ottawa County in 2005, it was one of last large parcels of undisturbed dune land along Lake Michigan.

These fresh water dunes and unique vegetation are unlike any in the world, and who could seriously argue they are not worthy of extraordinary efforts to protect?

Unfortunately, noisy “activists” in our community are willing to sacrifice a balanced ecosystem to the ultimate detriment of a single animal.

It’s clear those opposed to deer management efforts at NOD are well-intentioned. What is less clear is if they are well-meaning, as our communities are painfully acquainted with the modus operandi of those critical of this necessary stewardship of public property.

First, when thoughtful professionals weigh options for protecting public lands and make recommendations to public bodies which discuss and vote on specific actions, those opposed immediately cry foul, creating a contemptible false narrative of corrupt public officials running amok.

They then bombard this newspaper and internet forums with often irrelevant science, unsupported angst regarding public safety, and personal invective against park administrators, public officials, and those in the conservation communities whose work casts a brilliant light on the bankrupt notion that if we do nothing, all will be well.

Fortunately, we have competent and professional public administrators like John Sholtz of the Ottawa County Parks Department willing to suffer withering criticism from this loud minority in pursuit of doing what’s indisputably right for North Ottawa Dunes.

One need only look across this county to see the value Mr. Sholtz and his department bring to our quality of life, and to the plants and animals which inhabit the 6,349 acres his department administers. The system of parks, greenways and open spaces, is one of the most expansive and accessible in the state, and a testament to taxpayers and to the vision of the Parks Commission, Mr. Sholtz and the entire Parks Department staff.

Additionally, your readers should visit the parking lot at NOD to see the names of those whose contributions made the purchase of the park a reality for ALL to enjoy. From those very first gatherings of people interested in protecting this land, it was clear there would be challenges to insuring native plants and animals could thrive there.

The idea that some hunting would be required to keep deer in a desirable balance is not new, and is referenced in documents submitted in 2005 to the State of Michigan which awarded a nearly $4 million grant to compliment private fundraising efforts.

An appropriate management plan comes down to whether the professionals who oversee our impressive park system should be trusted to insure the biological diversity of North Ottawa Dunes, or if that’s best left to a loud, persistent, and ill-informed few with no accountability and no experience managing anything in the public interest.


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